Gordon Brown is receiving lessons in what it is like to be American. Whatever you think of our allies in Washington, they bear a burden for the world that lesser powers like Britain rarely experience fully. For example, they have attracted global opprobrium for locking up without trial in Guantanamo Bay some very dangerous men who might otherwise wreak mayhem in our cities. Also, Americans have for years had to watch mournfully as the star-spangled coffins returned home.
Now our government has agreed to take five former UK residents from Guantanamo. It must wrestle with the no-win problem of how to handle men against whom it may be impossible to bring a charge, but who could nonetheless be dangerous.
Also, the focus has now shifted from the rate of attrition among American servicemen to the slaughter of British soldiers in southern Iraq. It may, after all, be British public opinion rather than American that cannot stand the flow of body bags.
- Sunday Times (London)