“Who are you? Just another American
who saw too many movies as a child?
Another orphan of a bankrupt culture
who thinks he’s John Wayne?
--Die Hard (1988)
People react to fear, not love.
They don't teach that in
Sunday school, but it's true
If it doesn't fit
you must acquit
In his not quite so soaring rhetoric, Mr. Obama pledged to take down the wall that has separated the two nations for 50 years, proclaiming that is what a democracy does -- it engages in free and open debate. For a little extra oomph, he threw in some Kennedy spit polish, suggesting the universality of man in an "Ich ein Berliner" rip (he chose José Martí's, “Cultivo una rosa blanca”).
What he failed to do was to address the rights of the men that the United States continues to detain in Guantanamo Bay 14 years into a misbegotten war, a prison joint that the President had vowed to close several years ago.
The New York Times ran a laughably disingenuous editorial on the visit, to wit:
" . . .they saw a cantankerous autocrat who failed to [answer] a journalist [who] asked why his government continues to detain people for their political beliefs."
Were they talking about Mr. Obama or Mr.Castro? Hard to tell. Obama is preaching democracy while practicing totalitarianism. Like all good preachers, you tell the flock what makes them feel good.
The problem of Gitmo seems intractable. The hard core faction wants to bring the prisoners to the U.S. and throw them into Supermax. They face a problem, though: before we throw prisoners into jail and throw away the key, we must conduct a nicety called a "trial". The individuals must then be convicted.
Instead, the Gitmo detainees have been rendered a stateless people in a pre-Magna Carta state, beyond the reach of legality. Some have been released with no trial, others remain in a prison limboland.
Since they are denied Prisoner of War status -- which would afford them certain protections -- they must be convicted or released.
If it doesn't fit . . .