Friday, February 01, 2002

I"M BEGINNING TO THINK MORE AND MORE
that the whole controversey over whether we should be treating the Guantanamo detainess as POW's under the Geneva Convention rules is a ploy by the Administration to delegitimize international (especially European) concerns over international law and US unilateralism.

The American Left has been using "international opinion" to criticize the Bush Administration since before he took office. As the Administration sees the future need to expand the war on terrorism beyond Afghanistan, they understand that the Europeans and the American Left won't like it. Most Americans for some reason long for Europe's approval like a child looks for approval for a parent, even though the analogy doesn't really hold.

So how does the Bush administration maintain domestic support in spite of European opposition? -- by making European commentators look foolish!

Consider this sequence of events -- British commentators complain about the tratment of Guantanamo prisoners, then the US Governement asks the British government to take custody of the British citizens being held, leading to stuttering and indecision by the Brits about what to with them. So, the British critics end up looking like fools.

I don't think there's any other way to explain the US's behavior. The pictures released by the US almost seem to be designed to elicit this type of criticism from the Eurpoean chatteres. Almost every report from people who've been to the camp say that conditions there are better than the pictures represent. Why would the US open itself to such unnecessary and unfounded criticism? The only answer I have is to make this criticism look foolish.

I'm not sure what I think about this. On the one hand, I understand the Administration's need to build popular support for the more difficult and less obvious phases of the war. On the other hand, I don't like the idea of crafting policies to make others look bad. Even though the current chorus of criticisms is foolish, it's possible that these same critics may raise more legitimate concerns in the future, only to be discounted because the criticism of Camp X-Ray proved to be silly. I'm not convinced this is a good thing.
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