Thursday, January 01, 2009

Stop the World, They Want to Get off: European Critics of America Seek a Way Out

NRC Handelsblad International Relations Correspondent Juurd Eijsvoogel reports on a “A Dutch Offer to Obama.”

From feeble minds come strange rationalizations which become the basis necessary to support things that they’ve previously said and done. European critics of anything American became fixated by Gitmo, and as such found in the detainees themselves a form of fairytale hero.
America will soon have a president who has promised to close Guantanamo -- but there are all kinds of practical risks associated with it. For example, there are dozens of prisoners who, as far as Washington is concerned, can go free, but they may be tortured, or worse, in their own country. Where can they go?

To the Netherlands, for example, suggested Lower House member Hans van Baalen (VVD--Dutch People's Party for Freedom and Democracy) last year, and to other NATO member countries. There was no support for the idea. Not from other members of Parliament, not from the Government, and not from the allies.
Correction: the US will have ANOTHER President that has promised to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
Until last week. On the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Portugal offered to accept a number of innocent prisoners who have been locked up without trial. And, at the same time, Lisbon called upon other E.U. countries to do the same. A deep silence then descended upon the European capitals.
The offer to take the detainees has been made for years. The problem now, as then, is that the governments in these “highly enlightened” states don’t want them, often not even wanting their own nationals.
This concerns not only the 50 to 60 innocent prisoners who can not be repatriated. There is also a group of around one hundred Yemenis who probably will soon be returned to their own country, to a rehabilitation program for Jihadists.
It all sounds magnanimous until you realize what it is that they are and aren’t willing to do: they’ll take the ones that they can parade as innocent, but still demand the release of the guilty ones, and insist that they are the United States’ responsibility, that their actions are the United States’ responsibility, and not the responsibility of the guilty themselves.
It will not be easy to return people to a society -- people who have been held prisoners for years, while innocent, under such appalling conditions. But if they are given the opportunity to request refugee status here, they will finally have the prospect for a new future, in a country that - more than, for example, Albania - has experience in the reception, counseling and treatment of refugees who have suffered serious psychological trauma.
Isn’t it brave of the Europeans to have spared these detainees the possibility of trauma by not taking detainees? Taken in the light “Watching America” is placing it in, isn’t that just another cruel follow-up to the years of lecturing being turned into a festival of self-congratulation?
Once the Obama administration is in place, it is likely that Washington will quickly come to the European allies with a request for help with receiving Guantanamo prisoners. Then refusing this will be difficult. By letting it be known in advance that the innocent prisoners, as well as Washington, can count on us, we not only help the detainees and Obama, but also ourselves.
Which is to say that in order to avoid making good on their demands, complaints, and on their word, they’ll take them, as long as they (first) can all be declared harmless, and (further) only take the few among them that really are harmless. That way, the US can continue to bear criticism for protecting the populations of crowded European cities from harm, and giving the populations of crowded European vindication from their parasitism at least cost, demonstrated to themselves a fake degree of involvement in the security of populations (the genuinely innocent) by inverting the concept to guilt and innocence, and getting that “activist feeling” by pushing for the release of killers and abetters of jihadi violence, as though they themselves aren’t “little Eichmanns” for giving aid and comfort to those that DO pull the trigger. It gives them maximum domestic PR at least cost.

The bold emphasis was mine. The word “innocent” appears in the article 5 times. “Danger” appears once (and in the context of the Chinese suppression of the Uigers at that, not in reference to the danger to civilians anywhere in the world).

The word “guilt” does not appear at all. It has the same evasiveness that the early stage of fixation of Iran had with Israel, and it starts with the revision of terms, and the construction of a far-away figure to blame in a desperate effort to distract a population into some organized purpose benefiting a social elite of some sort.

What if these critics were offered clearer choices in this matter (that they have no stake in anyway): 1) shooting irregular combatants on sight in the field as the Geneva Convention virtually proscribes, 2) not detaining combatants at all, 3) hiring non-state entities, not in uniform as the terrorists are, to do our fighting for us as a proxy, disposing the coalition of all responsibility for anyone’s fate, or 4) (their inferred solution) bringing those who want to kill your population INTO your country and freeing them.

Jihadists do not wear uniforms, but are a force organized under an ideology. The critics (“Watchers”) of America in any form that provides a vehicle for their hatefulness, insist on forcing the defenders against terrorism to operate on a different standard based on rules and not the implication of those rules.

The Jihadists are, in fact, being used by the critics’ as proxy army to embolden the image they have of themselves in an imaginary opera where they cast themselves as the moderators between the civilization and its’ enemies, while carefully casting America as an moral equivalent to the enemy. It’s only about casting themselves, somehow as relevant figures which they aren’t. They are empowering evil, and still can’t tell the difference between proponents of peaceful pluralism possible with enlightenment philosophy and a violent movement exploiting religious doctrine to impose an autocratic theocracy on the rest of humanity.

Juurd Eijsvoogel writing in the NRC Handesblad isn’t really “watching America”. He is watching the tendencies and temperament his own society through a haze of confusion which requires the demonization of the fake image of antithesis of themselves that Europeans have constructed. This entire bit of theater is about them, not us, and the effort put to manipulating America. By clearly airing statements (that they’re loath to back up anyway) as open support for Obama, and not America or even their own security, they make this quite plain.

Let’s review this again for those can’t get the years of wailing and complaint out of their melons: critics declaring some kind victory in this are not liberating anyone, nor are they facing the matter of dealing with the guilty or even their own wild demands - they are reciting the same dilemma facing the United States that has been present since 2002 as if they’ve solved it, one which the US alone has to tend to for the sake of these writers, not doers or entitled to protection from terrorism.

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