One Man's Satire Is Another's Open-Ended Detainment Without Charges
We're a bit late on this item because, frankly, the implications are terrifying. Afghani brothers Badr Zaman Badr and Abdurrahim Muslim Dost were released at the end of October from three years' detention in Guantanamo. The activity that drew the attention of military interrogators was a satirical piece that Dost wrote in reply to Bill Clinton's 1998 $5 million bounty for the capture of Osama bin Laden in the wake of the US embassy bombing in Tanzania and Kenya. Dost counterproposal: Offer up 5 million Afghanis--valued at roughly $113--in return for the capture of Bill Clinton, described in Dost's piece as "clean-shaven, having light-colored eyes and he had been seen involved in a scandal with Monica Lewinsky." The brothers saw a long march of interrogators, several flown down from Washington, over their three year ordeal, and they proved a tough crowd indeed: "Again and again, they were asking questions about this article," Dost told Newsday reporter James Rupert. "We had to explain this was a satire. It was really pathetic."
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Flex Plexico--who on the basis of his name alone appears to be a satirical charcter himself--insists the brothers' detention "was directly related to their combat activities [or support] as determined by an appropriate Department of Defense official." Even though the brothers were dubbed "enemy combatants" they are still anything but averse to US-style democracy: Americans "have freedom to criticize their government, and this is very good," Badr told Rupert. "We know that America's laws say that a person is innocent until proven guilty" except of course that "for us it was the opposite."
You know, maybe the DoD really does understand satire, after all. -- HOLLY MARTINS