Friday, January 30, 2009

A Modest Proposal for the Disposition of Guantanamo Detainees

By President Obama's executive order, signed on his first morning in office, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is to be closed within a year. This raises the tricky question of what to do about the inmates. All are suspected of terrorist activity. Some are already facing military trial.

They could be relocated to their countries of origin -- if those countries will have them. They could be relocated to willing third-party countries, if any can be found that will take them. They could be put into "rehabilitation" programmes, perhaps in Saudi Arabia's controversial 'Betty Ford' Clinic for Recovering Jihadis.

Or, the American government could think outside the box.

Why not relocate some or all of the Guantanamo inmates to an uninhabited South Pacific island? Give each of them a parcel of land, a fishing net, some gardening implements, a transistor radio, and a map to the coconut trees. And don't worry. It doesn't have to be like this; it could be more like this.

Perhaps the Bikini Islands would suffice, if the thought of bikinis isn't deemed too decadent. (After all, the last three letters of Taliban are b-a-n. You don't suppose the first four letters mean 'bikini', do you?)

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