Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Guantanamo Poems: What Were We Thinking?

The University of Iowa Press is publishing a small book of 22 poems written by Gitmo terrorists -- and the project was approved by the U.S. military. What were they thinking?

The poems were compiled by terrorist attorney Marc Falkoff, who dedicated the book to "my friends inside the wire," and it was approved by the U.S. military. What were they thinking?

According to WSJ, the military hesitated, then decided to let the project go forward since it was clear there weren't coded messages in the translated poems. What were they thinking?

Some of the poetry is quite lovely, like this introduction to a little piece called Humiliated In The Shackles:
When I heard pigeons cooing in the trees,
Hot tears covered my face.
When the lark chirped, my thoughts composed
A message for my son.
But skip down a few verses and we find this:
America, you ride on the backs of orphans,
And terrorize them daily.
Bush, beware. The world recognizes an arrogant liar.
Another poem starts out with lines that would thrill any parent of any fourth grader:
Is it true that the grass grows again after rain?
Is it true that the flowers will rise up again in the Spring?
Is it true that birds will migrate home again?
Is it true that the salmon swim back up their streams?
It is true. This is true. These are all miracles. But is it true that one day we'll leave Guantanamo Bay? Is it true that one day we'll go back to our homes? I sail in my dreams. I am dreaming of home.
But then the comes the part where he says "Is it true?" and we say "Of course not!"'
But do you hear me, oh Judge, do you hear me at all? We are innocent, here, we've committed no crime. Set me free, set us free, if anywhere still Justice and compassion remain in this world!
WSJ just provided two poems with its story; neither mentioned the battlefields upon which these killers were captured. Neither mentioned plotting to kill Western innocents in the name of their bloodthirsty, terrible god. Neither professed any guilt.

Both will be re-translated back into Arabic shortly after "Poems From Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak" is published in August, along with the 20 other poems. They will certainly be quite popular in the famous literary belt that spans the globe from Khartoum to Islamabad, where they will be used by mad mullahs and irate imams to fuel the fire of jihad against us.

What were they thinking, allowing these poems out? Imagine if America had been able to read the poems of servicemen held by Hanoi! Could that have turned back some of the anti-war tide? Possibly. So Hanoi released nothing.

But we, we who may not be losing the global war on terror, but certainly are losing the communication war to convince the world there is a war on terror, we allow the release of these poems.

What are we doing? What were we thinking?