Good morning, Madame Chancellor.
Here you are, Germany's Angela Merkel, on your first trip to Washington, D.C., preparing for your meeting with President Bush. As you look out of your Blair House window over Lafayette Square toward the White House, consider the historicity of the era: the beginning of Mr. Bush's fifth year leading his country, and the beginning of your first year leading your country in the so-called War on Terror.
Or is that the War on Guantanamo Bay? I get them confused.
That's because in just about every account of your American trip -- biggish news in Europe -- it is prominently mentioned that Guantanamo Bay is prominently high on your list of, well, prominent concerns. Trouble spots. Global things you lose sleep over.
This is, with due respect, bizarre. Iran is going nuclear, Europe is going Islamic, Russia is going off the reservation, China is a fearsome thing, and your big concern is sending what is called a "clear message" to Mr. Bush about Guantanamo Bay, the tropical jail where the United States keeps jihadis on ice -- and keeps the rest of the world safer as a result. But that's not what you say. "An institution like Guantanamo can and should not exist in the longer term," you told the German news magazine Der Spiegel this week. "Different ways and means must be found for dealing with these prisoners."
I have a suggestion: How about if we ship all these guys -- unflushed Korans and all -- to Germany? Maybe "72 Virgins" Airlines would cut us a deal. Then you -- Germany -- can parole them to Lebanon.