Monday, June 06, 2005

American tunnel vision

From the Independent:

Senior Democrats are calling for the closure of America's detention centre in Guantanamo, Cuba, saying it has become a "propaganda and recruitment tool" for terrorists in the wake of continued allegations of prisoner abuse.

A leading senator, Joseph Biden of Delaware, suggested the time had come to consider a gradual closure of the facility, arguing its worsening reputation around the world was helping to recruit people bent on hurting the US.

"This has become the greatest propaganda tool that exists for recruiting of terrorists around the world. And it is unnecessary to be in that position."
It's really sad, but by no means surprising, that a leader of the "opposition" party takes this tack on Gitmo. Biden's primary response is to lament, above all, the PR problem created by all of the abuse and torture that the US has handed out over the past few years.

Ironically, this is one of the very reasons why America is so despised in the world. Even when there's copious evidence of wrongdoing - heinous, shameful wrongdoing in this case - American politicians and citizens continue to wonder why foreign audiences take our actions at face value, rather than through the unquestioned lens of benevolence that most people here view them. When confronted with our own transgressions, the first impulse is not to reflect inward, but to unleash accusatory questions about why people outside the US don't embrace our innate goodness.

Maybe if we, as a country, started to own up to our disgraceful actions and stopped thumping our chest every 30 seconds, there might be less animosity directed here. Just a thought...