Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

About Those Kids in Camp X-Ray



Word that the Bush Administration’s goons down in Guantanamo Bay have been detaining children under the age of 16 among the “enemy combatants” that they spirited out of Afghanistan following the rout of the Taliban suggests a new strategy for dealing with America’s daycare crisis.

We know that as Bush and the conservative Congress continue to hack away at the nation’s already tattered welfare “safety net,” increasing numbers of single parents are being forced to abandon their small children at home while they go off to remote minimum-wage jobs or workfare assignments in an effort to make enough money to feed them.

Day care is not an option for these people. The federal government has been slashing daycare funding, while financially strapped states are rushing to exit the child-care subsidy business.

What’s a welfare mother to do?

Bush, the Pentagon and John Ashcroft’s increasingly inappropriately named Justice Department have provided us with the answer: detention in the name of national security.

All these working mothers and fathers need to do is get their little offspring to toddle around carrying small arms (the guns don’t have to be loaded, for goodness sake!) while spouting easily taught phrases like “Allah Akhbar!” or “Death to America!” and they’ll quickly be picked up and placed in confinement where they’ll be watched day and night and fed regularly.

Alternately, if the parents in question are undocumented aliens, they might just claim to the Immigration Department that their kids were born overseas and don’t have proper visas. That would lead to their being taken away and put in detention, too.

According to Pentagon officials, the youthful enemy combatants being held at Guantanamo are not being kept in cages like their elders, so presumably they are being treated in a manner more appropriate to their tender years–probably kept in some locked base rec room with a big-screen TV set tuned perpetually to the Cartoon Channel or WB.

Since this is pretty much what unlicensed child care services are doing in low-income neighborhoods anyway, parents can feel confident that their children are getting at least as good care in government custody as they would have been getting in a local child care facility, and at taxpayer expense instead of their own.

The only drawback I can see to this scheme is that under Pentagon and Justice Department rules since 9/11, relatives don’t have visitation rights where illegal aliens or enemy combatants are concerned.

We could work on this, perhaps getting Congress to amend the rules where minor detainees are involved. Surely the “family friendly” Republican majority would see the logic in such a rule change.

If not, at least poor struggling parents would know that their kids were getting three square meals a day in government custody.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. A collection of Lindorff’s stories can be found here:


Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Tom Clifford
Duterte’s Gambit: the Philippines’s Pivot to China
Uri Avnery
The Peres Funeral Ruckus
Reyes Mata III
Scaling Camelot’s Walls: an Essay Regarding Donald Trump
Raouf Halaby
Away from the Fray: From Election Frenzy to an Interlude in Paradise
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
David Yearsley
Trump and Hitchcock in the Age of Conspiracies
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”