They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery: that goes for terrorists too.
SHEIKH ZUWEID, EGYPT — Of all the mistakes made in the ill-named ‘war on terror’ that has plagued us since 9/11 there may be no bigger one than the US decision to use its base in Cuba to detain terrorists. Guantanamo Bay has become a sign of an absence of due process, questionable interrogation techniques, and a bad bit of PR for the US. All this for a country that sees itself as a beacon of liberty and justice.
Don’t get me wrong: I know that many of the ‘guests’ at Gitmo are very nasty people indeed. They are, for the most part, terrorists and when you ‘do’ counter terrorism you have to get your hands dirty. There are, however, many aspects of what was done at ‘Camp Xray’ that have been counter-productive in our collective effort at stopping terrorism.
If there is one image associated with all this it has to be the ubiquitous orange jumpsuit in which all the inmates are clothed. I would assume this is done for several reasons – humiliation, the need to be able to see those trying to escape (is there ANY escape from Guantanamo??), etc. – but it has not helped the American image in any way.
The iconic nature of the orange clothing has been copied by many, many terrorist groups, especially jihadist ones. It is as if the terrorists are saying “if you can do it then so can we!” We regularly see photos and videos issued by terrorist entities such as Islamic State (ISIS) of their ‘prisoners’ decked out in similar garb before they are killed.
Often in brutal ways.
On this day in 2016
On this day in 2016 ISIS in the Sinai, the Egyptian wilayat (‘province’) of the terrorist organisation killed five civilians, two by beheading, and dumped their orange-clad bodies by the side of the road near Sheikh Zuweid. Egyptian officials were slow to confirm the deaths.
Having one’s head slowly cut off is an unimaginably cruel way to die. There is no word adequate enough to describe this depravity. At the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that the perpetrators of this heinous act are mocking our way of dealing with terrorism.