This pants-wetting hyperventilation about where Gitmo detainees are going is starting to make me wonder whether our nation (perhaps the planet) really is in much worse shape than I thought. Okay, I get that for folks like Cheney, the argument that these people are “too dangerous” to be put in our domestic prison system is merely a ploy to maintain Gitmo’s extra-legal status. They need Gitmo intact in order to justify their actions, in order to continue down the path of a unitary executive, in order to avoid, at all costs, the possibility that all the extra-legal policies and practices (particularly torture) will not come back to haunt them. I get that.
But there are two things about this whole affair that truly worry me: (1) That prominent members of Congress in both parties,as well as several prominent media figures, appear to be taking this argument seriously and really are frightened; (2) that the general public will be frightened by this as well and ultimately the argument that our prison system cannot contain jihadi supermen will carry the day.
Lots of people have made righteous fun of this in spectacular ways to point out just how grade school-level asinine this is, and I particularly like Obsidian Wings‘ take:
I’d suggest killing them, cutting them into pieces, and shipping their parts to parts unknown immediately (trials? who can afford trials under these circumstances?), if I weren’t afraid that some hitherto unknown al Qaeda trick might allow their reanimated body parts to slither around in search of one another and, eventually, reconstitute themselves as the Islamofascist Undead. Earlier, I thought we should send prisoners into space, but that was before I realized that that would allow them to join forces with the Klingons….We’re doomed.
TPM discovers that even the Dutch, “people who dance through tulips in little wooden shoes” (h/t The Poor Man), are making fun of our leaders’ pants-wetting:
Where does the World Court reside? It resides in the Hague in the Netherlands. the Netherlands has a population of 16 million (that are not allowed to bear arms or such).
The world courts deals with the worst of the worst, anything in Gitmo pails [sic] to what these folks have done.
Let’s take those war criminals (of which dozens have been tried and sentenced) from the Balkan conflict as an example. Here is a group that still has lots of support (Serbs primarily) all across Europe. They are in cells in the Hague which is driving distance from their homeland. Not like some poor Afghan farmer totally divorced from his people, these people have strong support living with a few hours drive!!
Ah, but in this completely embarrassing angle on the detainees discourse we are given an opening. The only way to turn this around, I think, is to have someone just mercilessly make fun of the girly men in our Congress who, while exuding the might of a thousand red white and blue super-boners, are in fact frilly little pantywaists who soil themselves every time they see a beard. But what the GOP and their Democratic enablers fear even more, however, is having their cowardice (and/or cynicism) exposed. So here is my proposal: send Ryan Seacrest on to Hardball or Meet the Press and just have him mercilessly ridicule these folks. Have him sling around as many colorful synonyms for “coward” as can be said on air without being bleeped (and maybe a few that would be).
Why Ryan Seacrest, you ask? Well, for a number of reasons. To start with, he’s very well known and while I suspect that lots of people like him, I’m not sure that they’d necessarily say the respect him—as in, he’s not someone they would depend on to do so much as change a tire. Following from this, he looks like a really nice guy, but at the same time he doesn’t look like he would necessarily take Paris Hilton in a fight, much less some oggedy boogedy terr’ist. Ryan Seacrest would be on the teevee demonstrating that not only is he not scared of housing terrorists on U.S. soil, but also the opposite view risible to the point of contempt. In short, Seacrest is the perfect mix of “all American” yet hapless wuss, from whom withering scorn would be fairly emasculating for these sorts of people. Emasculation + silliness + common man = making them look stupid. And this is the most important thing: making that argument look absurd, weak and embarrassing on its face, so we can put the whole fucking thing down like an ill-tempered, broken legged mule (similes aren’t my strong suit, just go with me here).
If we can’t get Seacrest, there are others who will do, I’m sure. But it has to be a man, and this man has to be kind of unmanly but at the same time not easily dismissed due to the metrics of gender performance. Female attacks can too easily be dismissed via sexist counter-attacks. I’m not sure Topher Grace is still famous enough. Richard Simmons is a good candidate, but maybe just a little too fey. Someone clever, but not thought of as a “thinker.” Will Ferrell or Seth Rogan might be good, but they carry the weight of being comedians (one of whom is a feature of stoner comedies), and therefore might just be seen as taking “funny digs” rather than offering real critique. Seacrest, being a host who always plays things right down the middle, still seems like the best candidate.
So Ryan, please, we need you. Use your Idol clout and get on Larry King or something and just rip these guys. Please, the nation needs you.
Submit your own entries for suitable alternates in the comments.