Sunday, June 11, 2006

Suicide as PR?

As if the moral justifications for its continuing detention of untried prosoners at Gitmo weren't already thin enough, the new BushCorp™ line is that the suicides of three of its inmates were mere public relations.

A MILITARY investigation into the suicides of three inmates at Guantanamo Bay was under way yesterday as American officials sought to counter international condemnation over the deaths, dismissing them as a “PR stunt” aimed at discrediting the US.

The suicides by hanging of the three men, two Saudis and one Yemeni, on Saturday sparked renewed calls from foreign governments and human rights groups for the military facility to be closed or moved.

About 465 foreign nationals are being held there without charge, some for almost four years. Yesterday, however, Colleen Graffy, a senior State Department official, dismissed the suicides as a “good PR move to draw attention” and “a tactic to further the jihadi cause”.

Ah yes, just good PR. Damn terrorists. Not only are they beating our Army to death in the dusty, IED strewn streets of Iraq, they're challenging the US in the only other area (besides our military) where we felt we had clear global dominance: marketing.

I hope this doesn't give Ron Popeil any ideas.

Or maybe I do.


Anonymous said...


Dear Ms. Graffy:

I am writing to you to remark upon the incredibly ignorant statement you made regarding the three recent suicides at Gitmo. The lack of knowledge about the causes of suicide which you demonstrated in your profoundly stupid remarks leaves me breathless for the sheer lack of understanding of an issue which is the 11th leading cause of death among Americans. (Anderson RN, Smith BL. Deaths: leading causes for 2001. National Vital Statistics Report 2003;52(9):1-86.), not to mention what incarceration without hope of release for charges unknown must do to a person. How would you like to be locked up without any knowledge of charges against you, in a land not your own, without any sense whether or not you would ever leave alive? Perhaps you should try it.

Annual rates of suicide in this country are over 30,000 per year, more than 650,000 Americans are hospitalized each year following suicide attempts, and over 116,000 are treated in hospital emergency departments for same. Among US males, suicide is the 8th leading cause of death for all US men and males are four more times likely to die from suicide than females. And this is not even beginning to quote numbers related to female and teen deaths. But don't take it from me, Ms. Graffy, check out the website of one of your fellow-governmental agencies, the CDC--that's the Centers for Disease Control in case you had failed to note its existence-- . There you will see a tidy introduction to a subject in which you are woefully ignorant and which all your degrees have obviously not prepared you to understand or speak about.

I come from a family which, in the last one hundred years, has experienced over a dozen suicides in its ranks. So, yeh, I tend to be rather sensitive to the issue. We are what you would call patriotic Americans, as a whole, and have done more than our share to contribute to the life of the nation in ways very big and small. To see you liken suicide as an act of warfare against the US would be funny if it were not so cruel and unfeeling. But then, cruel and unfeeling is probably how you have risen to the position you presently enjoy at State.

Do us all a favor, Ms. Graffy, and shut your mouth about subjects for which you are woefully under-qualified and under-experienced to comment. Step outside of your fishbowl of an office and limited circle of acquaintances, take a drive sometime and see the world beyond the Beltway. Touch base with reality. You are in many ways as imprisoned as the people you are verbally abusing at Gitmo.

Very Truly Yours,
Robert Pell-deChame

Steve Kang said...

Great letter.

Even after 6 years of this, BushCorp™ can still stun me with their stupidity.

What's even more amazing is that someone higher up had obviously approved that talking point, as it showed up in several different reactions from admin officials.