The absurdity of the current debate between the White House and members of the Senate is framed nicely today by Richard Miniter of the New York Post.
Think we’re too hard on prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? Think again.
— Detainees are entitled to a full eight hours sleep and can’t be woken up for interrogations.
— They enjoy three meals and five prayers per day, without interruption.
— They are entitled to a minimum of two hours of outdoor recreation per day.
— Interrogations are limited to four hours, usually running two – and (of course) are interrupted for prayers.
— One interrogator actually bakes cookies for detainees, while another serves them Subway or McDonald’s sandwiches. Both are available on base. (Filet o’ Fish is an al Qaeda favorite.)
— Interrogations are not video or audio taped, perhaps to preserve detainee privacy.
Miniter goes on to report that a multi-cell Al-Qaeda network has developed within the camp.
Military intelligence can’t yet identify their leaders, but notes that they have cells for monitoring the movements and identities of guards and doctors, cells dedicated to training, others for making weapons and so on. And they can make weapons from almost anything. Guards have been attacked with springs taken from inside faucets, broken fluorescent light bulbs and fan blades. Some are more elaborate. “These folks are MacGyvers,” Harris said.
Other cells pass messages from leaders in one camp to followers in others. How? Detainees use the envelopes sent to them by their attorneys to pass messages. (Some 1,000 lawyers represent 440 prisoners, all on a pro bono basis, with more than 18,500 letters in and out of Gitmo in the past year.) Guards are not allowed to look inside these envelopes because of “attorney-client privilege” – even if they know the document inside is an Arabic-language note written by a prisoner to another prisoner and not a letter to or from a lawyer.
That’s right: Accidentally or not, American lawyers are helping al Qaeda prisoners continue to plot.
Our hypersensitivity toward interrogation methods on known terrorists is going to ultimately kill all of us, I’m convinced.
Yet, GOP members of the Senate are opposing the President and his need to continue the interrogation process at Gitmo. Why? Because they believe the U.S. is violating terms of the Geneva Convention (Thank you Supreme Court) and if we relax the terms, eventually our own soldiers will be subject to the same relaxed rules. Of course this whole premise falls apart when the U.S. is at war with terrorists who don’t and won’t ever sign on to the rules of the convention.
Senator McCain, Senator Graham, and Senator Warner should spend their time focusing on immigration reform and a compromise with their fellow GOP colleagues in the house instead of grandstanding against the President.