By RALPH PETERS Email Archives Print Reprint June 16, 2005 -- THE demands to shut down our Guantanamo lock-up for terrorists have nothing to do with human rights. They're about punishing America for our power and success. From our ailing domestic left to overseas America haters, no one really cares about the fate of Mustapha the Murderer or Ahmed the Assassin. The lies told about Gitmo are meant to undercut U.S. foreign policy and embarrass America. The Gitmo controversy is about many things, from jealousy of the United States and outrage that we refuse to fail, to residual anger that we won the Cold War and exploded the left's great fantasy of a dictatorship of the intellectuals. But the one thing the protests aren't about is human rights. Except, of course, as a means to slam the United States. Torture? Who and when? Koran abuse? I'd rather be a Koran in Gitmo than a Bible in Saudi Arabia. Illegal detentions? Suggest a better way to handle hardcore terrorists. Maltreatment? Spare me. The food the prisoners receive is better than what I had to eat in the Army. Another thing: Would it be more humane to incarcerate the declared enemies of civilization in northern Alaska, rather than on a Caribbean beach? Has the Bush administration made mistakes regarding Guantanamo? You bet. The biggest one was attempting to placate the critics. By launching a new investigation every time a terrorist had a toothache, our government played into the hands of its enemies. The truth is that the terrorists and their defenders have something in common. It's not courage, which is one quality violent fanatics don't lack. It's that neither can be appeased. Any concession only increases their appetites. The Clinton administration's reluctance to respond to terrorist strikes encouraged al Qaeda. If the Bush administration closed the Guantanamo facility, any alternative holding center would be attacked just as rabidly and dishonestly. If we put our captives up at the Four Seasons, we'd be condemned because somebody smelled bacon at breakfast. You can't negotiate with terrorists. And you cannot reason with ideologues whether they're Islamist fanatics or pathetic old lefties fishing for a cause to give meaning to squandered lives. Terrorists, French and German neo-Stalinists, and our own democracy-hating intelligentsia aren't interested in facts. It's all about the comfort of belief. Let's get this straight: Nothing we could do would appease those who feel a need for our country to fail. We must stop trying to satisfy them. There's a military maxim that applies to all the nonsense about Gitmo: Don't let the entire battalion get bogged down by a sniper. By attempting to respond to the wild charges leveled by those who offer no solutions themselves who have no interest in solutions we've allowed anti-American basket cases from Harvard Yard to the German parliament to create an issue from nothing. Oh, and thanks to the "mainstream" media for assuming that our country's always wrong. There is a culture of torture in the world. Blessedly, America isn't part of it. When a few of our troops make mistakes, they're punished. Given the magnitude of our task and the unprecedented conditions we face, it's remarkable our errors have been so few. What should enrage every decent citizen is that the real torturers from Zimbabwe to China, from Syria to North Korea get a pass from the political left. If terrorists behead defenseless captives on videotape, it's simply an expression of their culture. But if a handful of U.S. troops play an ugly round of Candid Camera, that's a new gulag. As someone who takes human rights seriously, I'm appalled by the lack of sympathy the left feels toward the victims of any regime other than the Bush administration. Let's shout it to prisoners everywhere: If you're not harmed by an American, your suffering doesn't count. The left's hypocrisy is immeasurable. The grandchildren of those who defended Stalin are mortified that Saddam Hussein will stand trial. By taking such irresponsible voices seriously, we grant our critics a strength they otherwise lack and simply help them keep their lies alive. No matter what our country does, we will never please a global intelligentsia outraged that all their theories came to nothing. We can't satisfy al Qaeda, and we can't please those discontented souls who need to blame the United States for their personal inadequacies. It's time we stopped trying. What should our nation's leaders say about Guantanamo and our treatment of captured terrorists? A lot less. When comments are unavoidable, try this: "We're human. We make mistakes. We fix those mistakes. And we move on. Nothing will divert us from our mission of defeating terror and keeping our country safe."