Friday, January 23, 2009

Freed Gitmo Inmates

I agree with this post on the spate of reports about freed Gitmo inmates who have since joined terrorist groups:
"I get the idea behind reports like these -- Guantanamo has housed some dangerous folks, and if we let them go, they'll do dangerous things. Therefore, we better not let them go, and Obama should rethink all of his recent announcements.

"Except, the evidence doesn't match the conclusion. Obama isn't saying that he wants to just open the Gitmo doors, he saying he wants to review the pending cases and present evidence against the bad guys as part of a legal process. Ali al-Shihri returning to al Qaeda isn't evidence of a flawed Obama process, it's evidence of a flawed Bush process. Why did Bush let a dangerous guy this go? Did Bush's team not consider, I don't know, bringing charges against him before setting him free?

"And third, again, the argument about how this relates to Obama is flawed. As Atrios noted, it wasn't Obama's policy that led to their release. The administration created this nightmare at Guantanamo, which was supposedly necessary for U.S. national security. What do we have to show for the former president's efforts? A series of bad guys who went free, and many more bad guys we'll struggle to prosecute because the Bush administration broke the law and tortured them."

Most of the American left, especially the "partisanized moderates," to borrow Josh Marshall's old phrase, weren't just disagreeing with President Bush ideologically, they were aghast at his sheer incompetence. His signature issue was fighting Islamist terrorism, and yet his administration has seen transnational militant jihadi movements increase their power in Iraq, Pakistan, and several other areas. Gitmo is a broader part of that situation, and frankly it wouldn't surprise me if we ultimately learn that it formed something along the lines of what has happened in some Arab countries, where people turn to terrorism as a specific response to torture, where the existing terrorists in their midst provided an ideological avenue for coping with it.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



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