Thursday, May 21, 2009

Guantánamo Prison Blues

I discussed a few weeks ago the not very good options for what to do with Guantánamo detainees. Absolutely astonishingly given their incompetence, the Republicans are leading the Democrats around by their noses in Congress on the issue. So we have the denial of funds for Obama to close the prison. And a leak today from DoD says 1 in 7 prisoners return to "terrorism or militant activity." That's out of 534 prisoners already moved out of Guantánamo. Doing the math, that's 76.29 former prisoners. (One guy was apparently not too into it... or maybe someone was particularly exuberant).

Be skeptical of the words "terrorism or militant activity." Remember, hundreds or even thousands of prisoners across the global network of US prisons were detained based on the slightest suspicion or hearsay about connections to "terrorism or militant activity." Should we trust Defense to be able to make the important distinctions now?

Further, be skeptical of the word "return." One of the most significant outcomes of US detainee policy is the radicalization of former prisoners (and bringing more fighters to the anti-US cause). In their cases it may not be a return at all. The DoD numbers don't make that crucial distinction.

76.29.... To be honest, I'm surprised the number is so low. We should be celebrating.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi - I work for the BBC World Service programme, World Have Your Say. We are holding a debate about what should be done with Guantanamo detainees and I was wondering if you might be available to come on the show. Please email me