Critics contrast our treatment of the Guantanamo prisoners with the treatment of American Taliban John Walker Lindh, who is in jail in Virginia awaiting trial in a civilian federal court. The Guantanamo prisoners may be tried and even executed in secret by a military court. But critics who cite Lindh's treatment are ignoring two important distinctions. First, Walker is a US citizen and is thus entitled to Constitutional protection. Second, Walker has been on the cover of a lot of important magazines and newspapers -- and if there's one law that Americans always follow, it's the one that guarantees good treatment of celebrities.
But even in government circles, there's debate over whether the prisoners should be granted Geneva Convention POW status. Some in the State Department (Colin Powell is among them) want to grant the al-Qaeda fighters POW protection so that captured American special forces might be granted the same. So far, that argument hasn't swayed our policy. Meanwhile, captured al-Qaeda fighters held in Afghanistan's overcrowded, disease-ridden Shibergan prison keep asking to be shipped to the vastly more comfortable Guantanamo jail. I'm starting to think that maybe some of these guys didn't really think this jihad stuff all the way through.
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