When news broke Friday that Trump had said something so wildly disgusting about women that people were actually noticing what a creepy son of a bitch he’s always been, my first thoughts were actually of my dear John. And he did not let us down.
Here, Oliver sums up the election this way: “The first female presidential candidate versus the human embodiment of every backwoods, condescending, Mad-Men-esque boy’s club attitude that has ever existed rolled into one salivating, dick-size referencing, pussy-grabbing warthog in a red-power tie.”
I’d love to spend all day just rolling around in that clip, but as it turns out, Last Week Tonight actually went to the trouble of putting together a story that wasn’t about the Demogorgon.
Oh, that’s right. We, for some reason, have a military base on an until-recently-hostile-island-nation where we (illegally) hold
prisoners of war enemy combatants indefinitely. There isn’t a single word in that sentence that isn’t crazy except for maybe “island.”
And usually this is where I’d lay out the case about how closing Guantanamo is in our own self-interest, and therefore we should do it outside of the moral reasons. The cost, the poor standing it creates for us on the international stage, the fuel that it adds to terrorist recruitment methods, the lack of evidence that the remaining thirty-one detainees have any information to give us and that we can’t create a valid case against them. Usually I’d point those out.
But in this case, the moral reasons are literally the only argument we need. Because this is, in ethical terms, completely fucked. We, the great United States of America, have kidnapped innocent foreign nationals and kept them in prison for fifteen years. We currently have no plan for releasing them. Imagine for a second that those roles were reversed. That Belgium took thirty-one Americans, without any proof of wrong-doing, and refused to let them out of prison. We’d lose our shit, right? Because that’s a horror story? Yeah, we’re the bad guys in a horror story.
Of course, people will rightly point out that not every person held at Guantanamo had been innocent. Valid point. Luckily we have a 200-year-old system for dealing with that. We charge the people at Guantanamo and prove their guilt, or we let them go. Or you might be saying, “Hey, didn’t Obama already sign some bill that’s actually going to close Guantanamo for good?” Yeah, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
“But wait,” someone who has never read one of my posts might say, as they are unfamiliar with the fact that I only use these interjections as a rhetorical device, “Some of the released detainees go back to fighting the U.S. Are you still going to argue that we should let them go?” Hell yes. Because that’s what the military does. It finds the people who are actively trying to kill us on the proverbial battlefield, and it tries to stop them. I’m not saying that to be flippant or to minimize the sacrifice that service-members make. I’m saying that because, maybe more than anything else, it’s fucking horseshit that we’ve assigned soldiers to roles that actively refute the ideals they signed-up to fight for.
And if for some reason the practical and moral reasons have made no impact on your decision to close Guantanamo, consider this: In 2001, would you have considered it more unreasonable to believe that the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay represents a real threat to our individual rights and freedoms, or that a thrice-married, tax-evading, reality-show-hosting, failed-businessman/sexual-assaulter would be the presidential nominee for a major political party?
Nothing is certain anymore, folks. Nothing.