The origin of Guantánamo is pure magical thinking, as is the current mainland US resistance to bringing Gitmo defendants onto our soil for trial before federal courts. Perhaps the ancient Hindu practice of untouchability is the clearest analog. A person who can pollute places and people by his very presence in a room, or by casting his shadow upon a Brahmin’s food, is, on one hand, the lowest of the low. On the other hand, he also has a kind of super-power. Remember cooties? Back when we were fifth-graders and the boys had decided that girls had cooties, the girls could chase the boys halfway across the playground threatening to pollute them. Oh, to have that kind of power again!
Well, Al Quaeda, and anybody even remotely suspected of being connected with Al Quaeda, has that power. If any of them are allowed onto US soil, we will instantly dissolve into terror and anarchy. The super-max prisons that now securely hold the worst of our worst home-grown criminals are presumed to be utterly ineffectual against these Muslim super-criminals. Never mind that the latter’s accents and looks make them a lot easier to spot and retrieve than our home-grown murderers and rapists. Never mind that many of them have probably been deprived of most of their physical and mental competence by their treatment at Gitmo. Once their feet touch US soil, they will gain 100 pounds, get a foot taller, and turn green and even meaner than, say, Ted Bundy, Ted Kosinski, and Brian Dugan.
We knew that back in 2001, of course, which is why we created Gitmo in the first place. Those of you familiar with pagan magick know about wards and circles, which create places outside normal space and time to which the most dangerous forces can be restricted. Well, that was Gitmo. The detention facility there was created to be a legal black hole, under no one’s jurisdiction for purposes of legal review, but under the absolute control of the US government for purposes of keeping the Bad Guys from our shores. Of course, as anyone who saw “A Few Good Men” well knows, there is legal US jurisdiction at Gitmo. That’s why the US military servicemembers stationed there can be disciplined and even court-martialed, right there on the base, if they violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice. If they don’t like the result, they can even appeal, first up the military chain of command all the way to the Pentagon, and then to the civilian federal court system on the mainland. But, apparently, the US public can’t handle that truth either. They/we can accept the novel concept of an “unlawful combatant” who is in a different category from prisoners of war, spies and irregulars subject to being shot on sight, and criminal defendants. Such a person therefore cannot be granted any of the legal rights of POWs or criminal defendants. But by reason of some strange compunction, he cannot be shot on sight either (perhaps because many of them were never encountered by US authorities on the battlefield in the first place, but were picked up from local bounty hunters.) Presumably that’s one of the three impossible things a good American is required to believe before breakfast. But we can’t imagine allowing these people to touch our sacred soil, lest they pollute it, and us, with deadly weakness.
Which is closely related to what happens to our sacred soil when the wrong kind of alien touches it. And also what happens to the right kind of alien (ie anti-communists and especially Cubans) touches that same soil—they are immediately free and legal. The soil that renders anti-communist Cubans free and legal is itself rendered vulnerable and polluted by capitalist-wannabe Mexicans. Does Hogwarts know about this?