Thursday, November 20, 2008

You can't just release the Guantanamo inmates

To some extent this is probably because I haven't looked for the answer at his campaign web site or, but I'm not sure what the President Elect means when he says he is going to close Guantanamo Bay. However, we can look at these five gentlemen ordered released today for some clues as to what to do.

It's easy to feel that the vast majority of inmates fall into this camp, but they're not even combatants, much less enemy ones.
President George W. Bush said in 2002 the six men had been planning a bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Sarajevo. But Justice Department attorneys said last month they no longer would rely on those accusations to justify the continued detention of the six men.

However they argued the Algerians should be held because they planned to go to Afghanistan in late 2001 to fight U.S. forces.

In ordering the release of the five men, Leon said the allegation was based on only one unnamed source and he did not have enough information to judge the source's reliability or credibility.

He ruled the government did provide enough evidence that one of the detainees, Belkacem Bensayah, supported al Qaeda and planned to fight against the United States in Afghanistan.
One guy planned to go fight, and he's still in the clink. You know what the military term is for people who plan to go fight? Civilians.

Like any good liberal, I believe that nearly all the inmates in Guantanamo are this innocent. But, you can't just let them go.
When we last saw Saber in November, he was in his sixth month of solitary confinement. Since August, he has seen us, his legal team, twice and a psychiatrist on three brief occasions. For a few minutes each day, he sees the camp guards who bring his meals. He has had no other human contact. The glaring lights in his cell are on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When we left the cell, we could hear Saber shouting -- brief, truncated cries. We could not understand what he was saying.
They have gone crazy. The Rumsfeld Process was to unload every mind-breaking interrogation technique the CIA had studied on these guys. But, they didn't have anything to say. It's not like they're all criminal masterminds who knew what was on Al Qaeda's schedule for 2009. I think they were mostly just resisting the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq -- they're POWs from wars we declared won. These guys weren't even that. And, now we've driven them crazy.

If you know anyone who's been in therapy, they probably don't plan on coming out soon. Once you've gone crazy, I think you just manage it. I think I'm suffering a little PTSD from sky-diving, and I don't know how I'd uncrazy that. So, we've driven these guys crazy, and we have to give them the tools to manage their craziness before we wash our hands of them. They're going back to their wives and families. We have enough experience with our own combat vets coming back and doing damage, and these guys have been through a lot more.

I'm not sure what the answer is -- Illegally Detained American Prisoner Recuperation Centers throughout the Middle East? -- but I'd like to hear the question addressed. It's too bad the people who caused the problem aren't tasked with solving it, but they were incompetent anyway.

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