At my day job, I listen to a streaming feed of English-language news from non-US news services, via WRN. Not radical or “alternative” news, but what everyday people in countries friendly to us listen to every day. It reminds me that our friends pay daily attention to the fate of those at the US base at Guantanamo Bay — a.k.a. “not in the United States” if the current administration is to be heeded — even if most Americans don’t. I can’t help but think the US “War on Terror” is going to be as counter-productive and harmful as the “War on Drugs”. Why? Because something of our national character, and the respect the United States has enjoyed and cultivated, will be evaporated in a wrong-headed attempt to protect our national interests. It seems that the Bush administration has played into the goals of radicalizing forces at every turn. Overseas, we come across as a greed, all-consuming, all-demanding bully. At home, we’re fed contorted mindless ideas like “shop or the terrorists win” and “torture isn’t torture if we call it something else.”
I’m even more disturbed about how little fuss American Christians have made about this state of affairs, and, in particular, the treatment (both in legal and humanitarian terms) of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. General core values of respecting the truth and particular Christian concerns about those in prison (I’m thinking of Paul and Daniel) seem to have flow out the window. Why? Distraction? Fear of seeming to condone terrorism? Fear of attracting attention of the government?
How about fear of displeasing God who is the God to whom those men pray also? Guilty or not — and at the rate we’re going, we may never learn the difference — we should remember those kept in prison. Keeping them in prayer might also spark an interest of why persons would be willing to lose their lives so that the American way of life (good and bad) might not become the norm in their own homes and nations. And at last, prayer might give us the courage and conviction to ask our leadership why American values seem to be so negotiable in this instance. But most of all, it will show God that we are not so easily confused about who our neighbor is, and whose children they are.