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Bush Officials Stoke International Outrage Over Guantanamo Suicides

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"Bush Officials Stoke International Outrage Over Guantanamo Suicides"

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Over the weekend, two Saudis and a Yemeni committed suicide in their cells at Guantanamo. In response, the State Department’s Colleen Graffy – who “coordinates efforts with a special envoy, Karen Hughes, in a campaign to improve the US image abroad, especially in Islamic countries” – described the suicides as “good PR move to draw attention.” In addition, Guantanamo’s camp commander Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris called the suicides “an act of asymmetric warfare waged against us.”

The comments caused a diplomatic uproar around the world and have led to renewed calls for Guantanamo’s closure. A few examples of the international displeasure from both conservative and liberal editorial boards:

- “In an editorial headlined ‘Bad Language’, the right-leaning Times [of London], normally a defender of Britain’s alliance with the United States, said such rhetoric ‘plays once again into the hands of America’s enemies.’” [Link]

- “France’s Le Monde newspaper condemned Graffy’s comments, saying that they ‘illustrate the gulf which separates American authorities from the rest of the world on this sinister question.’” [Link]

- “Britain’s Guardian newspaper called Harris’ remarks ‘cold and odious.’ ‘It is entirely in keeping with the clinical illegality of America’s treatment of terror suspects since 2001,’ the left-leaning newspaper said.” [Link]

- “Britain’s conservative Daily Mail newspaper said the officials had spoken ‘with utter insensitivity to world opinion’ in an editorial headlined: ‘From the high moral ground to the gutter.’” [Link]

- “Spain’s El Mundo newspaper called the comments ‘gruesome.’” [Link]

The administration immediately had to go “into damage control,” with State Department spokesman Sean McCormack saying, “I would just point out in public that we do not see it as a PR stunt.”

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