Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Who would you rather have living next door?

The British government has delayed a decision on whether to grant asylum to 91 Iraqi interpreters and their families who face imprisonment, torture and death when British forces pull out of southern Iraq, leaving the region at the mercy of Iranian-controlled police, militias and politicians. However, Gordon Brown is a lot keener to welcome into the country five men currently being held at Guantanamo Bay who aren't British citizens, but were at some point resident in the country before embarking on various adventures overseas.

Britain has a tenuous responsibility to the five at best. The US hasn't charged them with any specific offence, presumably because, as is often the case with terror suspects, while they're believed to pose a threat the evidence against them wouldn't stand up in court. If they return to the UK they'll either be given their freedom or, if the British authorities take the same view of their status as the Americans, be placed under 'control orders' – which, as we've seen recently, amounts to pretty much the same thing.

Britain has at least as much responsibility towards those who have risked their lives to help our soldiers as it does to those who take advantage of our lax immigration policies to temporarily set up home here. Sadly the fate of those brave Iraqis appears to concern Brown less than posturing over the fate of the Guantanamo five in a bid to score points with members of the anti-war, anti-American lobby who think he's not doing a good enough job of distancing himself from George Bush.

The Telegraph thinks Brown is playing a dangerous game, while the Times believes the US is calling Britain's bluff.

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