No Threat To Security

One hundred and forty-one, to be freed, after four years:

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL STATION, Cuba — The Pentagon plans to release nearly a third of those held at the jail for terror suspects here because they pose no threat to U.S. security, an official of the war crimes tribunal said Monday.

Charges are pending against two dozen of the remaining 330 prisoners, the chief prosecutor said. But he left unclear why the majority face neither imminent freedom nor a day in court after as much as four years in custody without an indictment.

One hundred and forty-one, we’re releasing because they pose no threat. Four years, and now … nothing. We’re releasing you, go home, go … somewhere, go away. So sorry about, you know, your life and stuff. Leave quietly and quickly now, so that we can begin pretending you were never here at all.

I suppose the warbloggers and the gently paranoid will say that’s what you get, for looking like your name is Ahmed, for praying, for doing … what, exactly, that got them chucked in there? My grandchildren might know, someday, if they follow my insane path and decide to FOIA the records. After the National Day of Apology or whatever useless Gallileo-like pardon some future leader begs from the world for the excesses of this period in history, maybe then the full story will be told. Till then we know nothing, and it’s the most damaging part, isn’t it, the fact that we’re kept in the dark?

Because here’s the thing. A reasonable person might say, there had to be something they did. There had to be some suspicious thing, some law they broke, and even if we don’t know what it is, well, there just had to be a reason, right? Because we wouldn’t just do this. Right? Right? They keep telling us, we’re keeping you in the dark about your security for your security, as if that makes any kind of sense, but it creates just enough doubt, doesn’t it, didn’t it, to make you think maybe, maybe, maybe … and that maybe, that’s our undoing. That’s our defining moment, our national test of the soul, and boy, did we ever resoundingly flunk. Maybe is enough to keep us quiet, maybe is enough to keep us scared, maybe is enough to make us betray everything we ever were or told ourselves we could be.

As we have before, as we will again, unless we force ourselves to look, to listen, to realize what’s been done, to say never again and fucking mean it, mean it enough to overcome political chickenshittedness and fear of being called unpatriotic for protesting harder the next time somebody dreams up something like Camp Suspected Terrorist and tells us if you’re against it, you’re an Islamofascist sympathizer. Unless we remember: One hundred and forty-one. Four years. NO THREAT, now. God. And I do not pray much these days.

(And confidential to the warbloggers: Not for nothing, but if those we locked up for four years on the off chance they might once have had bad thoughts in our general direction didn’t hate America when they went into Guantanamo, how do you suppose they feel, coming out?)