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Gitmo Blues

June 17, 2005|Andres Martinez

"Arguably no detention facility in the history of warfare has been more transparent and received more scrutiny than Guantanamo." That has to be the most outlandish assertion on any editorial page today, and it appears in USA Today. But wait, that's not the newspaper's position. It's the "opposing view" offered by a chap named Donald Rumsfeld that appears below the paper's editorial on Gitmo. USA Today wisely argues that the narrow debate over whether to close the U.S. prison camp misses the larger point -- U.S. policies that leave detainees "in a legal black hole." The Pentagon boss, for his part, goes on to note that not only have reports of Koran abuse been exaggerated, the camp broadcasts over loudspeakers the five daily calls to prayer required by the Muslim faith. Who needs a lawyer when you get to pray?

The Wall Street Journal editorial page places Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's initiative to limit state spending in the context of "America's next tax revolt," a nationwide move to impose fiscal straitjackets on state legislators and governors. The Journal argues that the national media (not clear whether that includes the paper's own newsroom) is missing this story the same way it missed our state's Prop. 13 revolt.

The New York Times, meanwhile, editorializes that the presidential election in Iran is an affront to true democracy, but then argues that a boycott "would benefit only the most antidemocratic forces on the clerical right." It says there is little to justify hopes that Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president on the ballot, can be a force for moderation.

Andres Martinez

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