Monday, May 05, 2003

a tale of two cities redux:

The white house says:
"DHS Grants Asylum to Iraqi Who Aided Jessica Lynch Rescue

The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services has granted asylum to Mohammed Odeh Al Rehaief, the Iraqi citizen who provided information to the U.S. Marines that led to the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch from a hospital in Nassiriyah, Iraq. Al Rehaief's wife and five-year-old daughter were also granted asylum in a meeting last Friday at the Arlington, Virginia asylum office.

When visiting his wife who worked as a nurse at the Saddam Hospital in Nassiriyah, Mr. Al Rehaief discovered that Pvt. Jessica Lynch was being detained at the hospital. Because of his concern for Ms. Lynch, Mr. Al Rehaief provided information about her location to the United States Marines, who were subsequently able to successfully rescue Pvt. Lynch.

The family was brought to the U.S. by the Department of Defense earlier this month after the Department of Homeland Security granted them humanitarian parole into the United States."

Well, this is very nice. But meanwhile, just last week GW Bush's favorite court ruled,

"splitting 5-4, upheld...the sweeping power exercised by Congress to order the lockup of all immigrants who face deportation because they have committed crimes, even if they have finished serving their prison sentences and are considered to pose no danger."

If that isn't enough, and apparently for the current administration it isn't, dubya's torquemada, attorney general John Ashcroft, has recently proposed " creating military detention camps for all U.S. citizens deemed by the administration to be enemy combatants."

It's all too depressing. Most people don't care that much, and the white house will score the unwarranted sentimental accolades they seek for helping out Al Rehaief and his family. I'm not saying they shouldn't help them, but the counterpoint of the sound-bite warmth of this isolated gesture of magnanimity contrasted against thousands of detainees, many of whom came here with legitimate fears of being persecuted for their political affiliations, or even their gender or their sexual identity, only to end up in open-ended de facto jail sentences awaiting deportation is simply disgusting. The conjunction of these events, along with Patriot Act I and possibly pending Patriot Act II, makes me think of that post not so long ago by Jeanne at Body and Soul about America's "Sally Field Imperialism." If you haven't read it, go read it.