Guantanamo Bay is getting a lot of attention lately. Some of it isn't necessarily good. The Bush administration is now in high gear trying to change the public perception of the prison.
Several public relations firms are after the account. Lockstep, Chains, Dungeon & Bones are in a meeting trying to come up with a presentation to give to the Pentagon.
Lockstep says, "I think I've got a slogan. 'Guantanamo. What happens here stays here.' "
"I like it," Chains says. "If it works for Las Vegas, it can work for Gitmo. We have to change the public's perception that it's only a place where they torture people to find out what they know."
"Why doesn't the Pentagon open a PX where the prisoners can buy magazines, candy and snacks, develop film and rent DVD movies?" Bones suggests.
"And also a gift shop where the inmates can buy Gitmo T-shirts, souvenir plates with the vice president's picture on them, coffee mugs and silver salt and pepper shakers."
"We could promise to put out a news release regarding food. Duncan Hunter, the Republican congressman from California, said it's a myth that inmates are mistreated. He said they eat orange-glazed chicken with two kinds of vegetables and two kinds of fruit -- better food than they had when they were home. Why don't we suggest the Pentagon install a chef with a five-star rating to cook for them?" Chains suggests.
And Bones adds, "But they will only be served a gourmet meal if they talk. If they refuse, they will be given a menu of rice, beans and a cheap red wine."
Lockstep says, "Obviously, the question of torture will come up. How do we suggest they deal with that?"
Dungeon says, "We get Donald Rumsfeld to announce they will no longer use torture, except in cases where the United States can't get information by civilized methods, such as allowing the prisoners to sleep for more than three hours a night."
"Should we mention that they should abide by the Geneva Conventions?" Bones asked.
"If we do we won't get the account," Chains says.
Dungeon agrees. "We want to give the impression that Gitmo is so squeaky clean that you could take your family there. It's sunny, the beaches are covered with white sand, and the water is so clear a prisoner can snorkel and see thousands of fish."
Bones says, "I almost want to go there myself."
Lockstep says, "You may have to if we get the account. We should put in our presentation that we'll arrange all-expense-paid media tours to Guantanamo so reporters can see for themselves what a safe place it is."
"Won't that upset the Pentagon?" Dungeon asks.
"We're not going to show them everything. We'll have one part of the island set aside for the media, the International Red Cross and Amnesty International. We'll prove Gitmo is not a gulag."
Lockstep says, "The Defense Department has to buy our plan. We'll tell them that if they don't, Congress will close the place down."
"Rumsfeld would never let that happen."
Bones says, "But he's smart enough to know he has to change Gitmo's image."
"We'll type up our plan, put it in a red folder marked TOP SECRET, and send it over by United Parcel."
(c) 2005, Tribune Media Services