A Tweet From Gitmo: Some Of The People We Lock Up Would Probably Be My Friend

April 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Spencer Ackerman, reporter and blogger extraordinaire o’ the defense industry, is back in Guantanamo, writing his observations about some of the military trials he’s observing.

He tweeted this a little while ago:

Some of #Khadr‘s favorite things, as he told interrogators who testified today: Pizza, horses, Need for Speed 5.

“Khadr” is a detained alleged terrorist. I won’t geek out on the interconnectivity of certain communities and the reality that the fact that you hosted someone at your house doesn’t necessarily make you a compatriot, a conspirator, or a collaborator. I won’t spend time explaining how murky some of the legal research and reasoning is in the prosecution of some Gitmo detainees. Those facts, while true, will distract from the sympathetic point that this man loves Need for Speed 5. A man held in an American prison, one claimed to have acted against American interests in a material and violent fashion, sounds exactly like a young teen who, if he probably had to list 5 favorite things, would finish out the list with “iCarly” and “Halo.”

Yes, there are terrible assholes who enjoy the same banal distractions we do, and it’s always fun to banter those about. “Did you hear that Jeffrey Dahmer loved Arby’s?” or “Do you know that Kim Jon Il is a superfan of American Idol?” are always titillating moments where we can marvel over the mundane points of connection we share with villains. But there are also perfectly innocent and uninvolved people who also enjoy Arby’s and the latest PlayStation releases.  In fact, I’ll be so bold as to say that the majority of Arby’s-enjoyers and PlayStationers are not sympatico with al-Qaeda, JI, or the Muslim Brotherhood.

So rather than villify, rather than imagine all the people our Boys In Uniform have rounded up are, if not guilty of the crimes they’re accused of, really mean jerks who should be locked up, try to make an effort to remember pizza, horses, and Need For Speed 5. Maybe then we can one day have a government worth admitting to.


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