Suicide Prevention

At first I wasn’t exactly sure what was behind the Guantanamo Bay suicides last weekend. But after reading the news reports carefully, I finally got it: we Americans are under attack from a bunch of guys rotting in their jail cells.

You see, the terrorists are trying to make us look like the bad guys by killing themselves while they’re supposed to be under 24/7 supervision. As Adm. Harry B. Harris explained to reporters, the men who committed suicide at Gitmo “have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own.” Harris believes the suicides were “not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.”

That’s right, these guys who choked themselves to death with their own bedding are a perfect example of how the United States is suffering more than anyone in this latest front in the war on terror.

First, media reports reveal that the three detainees had the audacity to avoid discovery by prison guards while they quietly offed themselves. Not happy to play by the rules, they apparently dispensed with the usual suicidal cry of, “Come quickly, I’m killing myself!”

To those of you who whine they were imprisoned for nearly four years without being charged with a crime, I say: Get used to the new reality, constitution geeks.

Next, they fashioned a noose out of their bed sheets. Allowing prisoners such “comfort items” as bed sheets and toiletries will now have to be reassessed, according to Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, head of the U.S. Southern Command. We’ve treated these people so well and this is how they repay us? Instead, the army says it will replace the standard issue Bed, Bath & Beyond “Egyptian” cotton sheets with recycled copies of Martha Stewart Living. Hey, it’s good enough for the homeless—plus you can learn how to etch your own suicide notes into ocean-worthy seashells.

Finally, the terrorists capped their carefully-staged prison revolt by unhurriedly hanging themselves until they asphyxiated. The army later said they would reconsider providing other luxury items at the prison such as three-speed brushed nickel ceiling fans, to which prisoners could potentially fasten a noose when they’re not cooling off after a long day of tropical confinement. I know the blinkered ACLU-loving beatniks will complain as usual—but everyone knows the wire cages at the lavish Cuban prison camp already boast A/C to temper the oppressive 110-degree heat.

You know we’re in trouble when it seems like the terrorists are winning the P.R. war against us.

The White House assured Americans that the deceased men were “committed terrorists,” according to the New York Times. Who amongst us actually needs to see evidence produced in court in order to believe the men who work for the president?

Just because the U.N. Committee Against Torture says detaining prisoners at Gitmo violates international law doesn’t mean that we can’t operate it according to basic business ground rules. So, tired of thwarting prisoners intent on hunger strikes by strapping them to restraining chairs and force feeding them through plastic tubes, President Bush announced additional measures the United States will undertake to prevent further suicides:

All Guantanamo detainees will undergo “sensitivity training” to show them how much it hurts our feelings—and kinda makes us look bad—when they kill themselves in despair at being locked away indefinitely with no legal recourse;

All newly-admitted detainees must complete a “prison application,” which requires prisoners to disclose all previous instances in which they have been imprisoned indefinitely without charge, and whether they tried to commit suicide there or not;

To improve prisoners’ treatment by guards, “360-degree review” will be instituted, in which prisoners are encouraged to openly and honestly assess the job performances of the prison guards who terrorize them with dogs and occasionally urinate on their Korans;

Some prisoners previously transferred from Abu Ghraib will be allowed to leave, on condition that they sign “confidentiality agreements,” in which on-the-job skills such as balancing, hooded, on a wooden box while attached to electrodes and remaining calm in their restraints while being sodomized by a broomstick* couldn’t be disclosed to future jailors, in order to avert leaking any “trade secrets.”

It’s understandable if we occasionally feel just a little bit bad for these evildoers, especially if some of them are merely shepherds from rural Afghanistan who were attracted by our shiny yellow food ration packs—or was that a cluster bomb?

And so what if 25 other Gitmo prisoners previously attempted to commit suicide there? It’s still the Caribbean.

 But we can’t forget who the real victim is in this latest terrorist plot—the United States of America. Remember, our enemies only engage in shallow propaganda stunts such as committing suicide while indefinitely imprisoned without trial because they hate our freedoms, our generosity and our love for the rule of law.

 *Actually happened, according to a U.S. Army report.


Kevin Donegan is a writer in Berkeley, Calif. E-mail


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