Not in My Backyard: Fear of the Guantánamo Legion of Doom

06/26/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Well, it seems our Superfriends in Congress might be a mite too paranoid about a latter-day Legion of Doom escaping during transfer from Gitmo and wreaking havoc on voters in their districts while fulfilling diabolical plans of world domination (aided and abetted by mutant powers and arch-villain alien technology). Except Brainiac, Bizarro, Scarecrow, Sinestro, Solomon Grundy and Gorilla Grodd aren't the prisoners in question and the malevolent mastermind Lex Luthor isn't leading them in the pursuit of a dastardly Death Ray to eradicate the masses.


In fact, up until now maximum-security prisons have had a pretty good record of securely holding normal, mortal human beings for life (especially those isolated in solitary confinement for twenty-four hours at a time--sans the sixty minutes of mobility time granted so that their terrible terrorist muscles and brains don't completely atrophy--this is after all the Post-Cheney Torture Era, we aren't savages, you know!). And to date Ramsi Yousef (convicted in the first World Trade Center bombing), Richard Reid (AKA "the Shoe Bomber") and Zacharias Moussaoui (9/11 co-conspirator--who could forget that creepy wide-eyed mug shot!) all being held in the Colorado Supermax Penitentiary haven't managed to band together, burst out of their poured concrete cells and overthrow our freedom in one fell swoop.

This is, after all, reality we are living in, not the prime-time sensation Prison Break or motion-picture blockbusters The Rock or Escape from Alcatraz. Republican fear-mongers, however, would have you believe that one of these non-extradited Afghanistani POWS may have secreted away a stray nipple clamp or doggy-chain link during his enhanced interrogation (not torture!) at Guantánamo Bay and is just waiting for a chance to settle into his new digs to slowly scrape a hole in a wall (sneakily concealed under a Muslim prayer mat a lá Shawshank Redemption) gradually leading to his inevitable geriatric escape in 2078. Whereupon he will hobble away and be able to reap the benefits of an Al-Qaeda senior-citizen discount until the not-too-distant day when he meets Allah and those blessed 41 virgins. Foiled again!

Yup, that's right, the self-same prison system that has held Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer and the Son of Sam is apparently no match for a bunch of unarmed, sensory-deprived foreigners who have spent the last seven years stripped of all contact with the outside world (not even a book deal or a 20/20 interview, sheesh!) and attended to by a most accommodating Dick Cheney as concierge. Not to mention all the extra money that would surely be overspent to over insure that their alien jihadist hatred didn't magically disintegrate all God-fearing American patriot prison guards that were unlucky enough to come in contact with such atrocious archnemeses of mass destruction.

Even John McCain has done a post-failed campaign 360. Suddenly comparing the Gitmo closure to the infamous proposed nuclear waste disposal site in Nevada, he said: "You think Yucca Mountain is a Nimby Problem? Wait till you see this one." Setting aside his cantankerous use of the antiquated acronym "NIMBY" ("Get off my lawn!"), it should be pointed out that the half-life of a human terrorist equals the half-life of a human being (which unlike the aforementioned radioactive refuse gets weaker and less dangerous over time, and while thousands of years later the toxic sludge will still pose a bio-hazardous health risk, the detainee will have been long ago broken down into harmless, minute molecules of evil which at most might lead to a mildly annoying sneeze on a sunny spring day in the good ole' U.S. of A.).

Heaven forbid we should disassemble what has become Al-Qaeda's number-one rallying symbol of recruitment in a politically and economically viable way. For that would hardly serve to fan the sputtering flames of a desperate, ravaged, failed post-Dubya Republican Regime left clinging to one worn, creased crumbling trumped card to play (Buildings go boom! Monsters out to getcha!! Boogie Boogie!!! ). There is nothing to fear...but freedom itself.

Or perhaps it's just time for the general public to grow up and banish our irrational fears into the Phantom Zone (hey, it worked for General Zod, right?).