Remember when President Obama promised to close the Guantánamo detention camp? Remember when he didn’t? Years later, we grow old and decrepit and there remain some 166 detainees at Guantánamo in much worse shape. One hundred of these men have not been charged with a crime, and all of them will probably remain at Gitmo without trial.
This is largely because Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which not only prevents transfer of prisoners out of Guantánamo, it also specifies that anyone, including US citizens, can be indefinitely detained anywhere without trial.
In case you thought the year was starting out too pleasantly, Congress just passed the NDAA again for 2013, in pretty much the same version, and President Obama signed it. Given that Guantánamo won’t close for years now, and that many law-abiding people stand a greater than ever chance of being labeled “enemy combatants,” it becomes necessary to forgo lofty “human rights” ideals and make altruism work for us. Here, then, are some tips on proving to the feds that you are not the enemy:
1. BECOME A FAMOUS MOVIE STAR. Hollywood celebrities rarely, if ever, spend years in Guantánamo without charges, surrounded by barbed wire and vicious dogs. Their movies may bomb, but they never do, thanks to the virulent Red Scares that purged the motion picture industry of all terrorists, with the possible exception of Mel Gibson.
When you become a famous movie star, you will receive: a dazzling smile, affordable health insurance, and a rock-hard sense of self-esteem that comes from millions of greedy free-market consumers knowing who you are.
Push comes to shove and you are sent to a detention camp, guards will treat you better. “Hey, isn't that Angelina Jolie on that gurney? I loved her in ‘Girl, Interrupted.’ Maybe I'll let her call her attorney.”
2. EMIT NOXIOUS FUMES. No one will ever accuse you of Islamofascism as you proudly stand in solidarity with our great multinational corporations and spew harmful chemical, radioactive, and industrial waste into our ecosystem. By polluting rivers, the air, and low-income neighborhoods, you'll garner lots of government perks, too, including military contracts and tax breaks you could only dream of as an ordinary, “stop-global-warming” citizen. Best of all, your carcinogenic emissions will increase chances that, among the thousands of Americans who die each year from environmentally-caused cancer, one or two will be terrorists.
3. SCAPEGOAT SECULAR HUMANISTS. Stuck-up, egghead Secular Humanists like Chris Hayes and Katrina vanden Heuvel say that Islamic extremists are not the real problem. They're right! The real problem is stuck-up, egghead Secular Humanists!
Secular Humanists have caused every major disaster for the last 5,000 years — and it's our duty to stop them before they TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
FACT: These intellectual malcontents have turned from God and home-schooling to the golden calf of “Humanities!”
FACT: Since the Crusades, Secular Humanists have stood at the center of a vast, Satanic plot to STOP God-ordained conquest and unite humankind through Logic, Science, and Enlightenment!
FACT: Much of our US Constitution was written by these depraved, happiness-pursuing, library-card-holding “Enlightenati!” Would you want one of these “created equal” degenerates to marry your sister?
Labeling these people terrorists and getting them sent to Guantánamo will guarantee that you will never be sent there. Let's show the world that the only way to prevent another Third Reich is with another Inquisition.
4. DEVELOP AGORAPHOBIC CATATONIA. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” A wise man said that in the 18th century — a wise, stupid man. This man never looked ahead to the 21st century, to see that doing nothing would become the apogee of cutting-edge activism!
Remember the Afghanistan invasion? The Iraq invasion? All those meetings and lectures you went to, where you became “informed” and had “doubts” about WMD and al Qaeda connections? All that peace marching — once, with 10,000,000 people all over the world, so the destruction of millennia-old cultures and the slaughter of innocents wouldn't happen? It happened anyway.
It happened because you left the house.
To prevent further mayhem, it is necessary to effect social change at home, by nonviolently reading your email. Uh-oh: look at all those listserves on torture and drone attacks and indefinite detention. They force you to devise a new activist strategy: You must play “Minesweeper” and “Angry Birds” for the next four hours.
Now, for direct action! Using psychological skills honed at your computer, it is time to emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually “shut down.” This allows you to do radical civil disobedience while lying on your couch. As you remain in staunch protest, just let global crises wash over you.
While they are washing, turn on the TV. Look, there's a “Law and Order” rerun. Regard the state-of-the-art world of us vs. them; good vs. evil. Isn’t it comforting to see that cop punch that wino’s face in? Weird how Puerto Rican independentistas and Occupy activists are portrayed as unstable and dangerous.
No matter. All good. Now, try to picture some Gitmo interrogator water-boarding Sam Waterston. You can't.
At last: you have effected social change.