Vol: 63 Issue: 16 Saturday, December 16, 2006
Since 2002, the United States has released some 360 detainees from the US military POW camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Associated Press assigned a reporter to track what happened to them, and, in the process, make the case that the detainees were released by the US because they were innocent in the first place.
Some of the AP’s published findings included the information that, of the 245 detainees the AP claimed it was able to track after release, 205 of them were immediately released by their home countries as soon as they were repatriated.
The AP report suggested that the fact they were released a second time when they got home is really evidence that the majority of those incarcerated at Gitmo were innocent all along.
But, propaganda aside, the report painted a picture of just how alone the US finds itself in the allegedly ‘global’ war on terror.
For example, Afghanistan immediately released every single one of the 83 Afghan detainees repatriated by the US. But the AP dismissed a Pentagon claim that some twenty percent of those ‘innocent’ newly-released Afghani detainees were later recaptured or killed on the battlefield while in combat with US forces.
A number of those now being held at Gitmo are already on their ‘second tour’ at the facility.
Having been repatriated to their home countries, they went right back to their units, were recaptured on the battlefield, sent back to Gitmo, where they joined the rest of the ‘innocent’ detainees being ‘tortured’ by American service personnel.
Every detainee that has been repatriated to Britain, Spain, Germany, Russia, Australia, Turkey, Denmark, Bahrain and the Maldives was released within hours of repatriation.
They immediately held press conferences to protest their illegal detention. The press accepted without question their stories of the horrors they endured while in US captivity.
Clive Stafford Smith, a British-American attorney representing several detainees, said the AP’s findings indicate that innocent men were jailed and that the term “continued detention” is part of “a politically motivated farce.”
“The Bush Administration wants to be able to say that these are dangerous terrorists who are going to be confined upon their release … although there is no evidence against many of them,” he said.
Why would the US do that? What IS the ‘political motivation’ behind this ‘farce’? What benefit does either the Pentagon or the Bush administration obtain by maintaining a military prison at Gitmo? The AP didn’t say.
And a Washington Post story recently published under the headline, “Blocking Justice” castigated the US Congress for passing “The Military Commissions Act” that they claim puts the Gitmo detainees outside the US legal system.
Where does ‘justice’ come into the equation? The Washington Post didn’t explain.
The focus of the Post’s story was one Salim Ahmed Hamdan, whose case was argued by the Post without ever mentioning why Hamdan was at Gitmo in the first place. Allow me to fill in the blanks on this one.
Hamdan was captured during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2002, during which time, he was Osama bin Laden’s personal bodyguard and chauffeur, a fact he admitted before a military tribunal.
According to both the Washington Post and the Associated Press, the Gitmo detainees, including Osama’s closest aide, were deprived of both Constitutionally mandated legal guarantees and the rights and privileges provided for by the Geneva Conventions.
During the 1990’s organized militant terrorism was treated as a law enforcement problem, rather than a military one. In defense of the Clinton administration, the reason for that was because there are internationally accepted rules of war.
Those rules of war are governed by the Geneva Conventions. To be covered by the Geneva Conventions, combatants must meet certain standards as combatants.
They must wear distinctive uniforms distinguishable at a distance, openly carry weapons, and are obliged to make every effort to avoid civilian casualties and damage to civilian property.
Under the Geneva Conventions, combatants are forbidden to use non-combatant civilians and civilian property as shields or camouflage.
The Islamic terrorist enemy uses mosques and schools as weapons depots. They use civilians as human shields. They wear no uniforms. They prefer hidden weapons, like IEDs or suicide belts.
They use ambulances to transport weapons and fighters. And when they take prisoners, they are either used as hostages or tortured and executed before a video camera.
There are, to the best of anybody’s knowledge, NO living prisoners of war in enemy hands.
Finally, the Geneva Conventions only apply to combatants whose countries are signatories to the Conventions. What country does al-Qaeda fight for?
So, under the terms of the Geneva Conventions, terrorists are NOT combatants, but criminal murderers.
But treating it as a law enforcement problem has jurisdictional limits, which is why the US issued a formal declaration that America is engaged in a war on ‘terror’.
But terror is a tactic, not an enemy. That’s what makes this war so confusing. NONE of the rules of war apply. Neither does criminal law, since many of the crimes committed against the United States take place outside US jurisdiction.
There is no applicable law governing the detention and treatment of unlawful enemy combatants. That isn’t the US administration’s ‘position’ so much as it is a matter of fact.
Since the majority of the enemy are abroad and aren’t bound by US law, they aren’t legally criminals. Since the Geneva Conventions do not apply, they aren’t legally prisoners of war.
They don’t even qualify as ‘political prisoners’ since they aren’t fighting against their own governments. Since there is no right answer, one answer is as good as another.
The ‘right’ answer is therefore whatever answer favors your preferred side.
So whose side is the Washington Post on? Whose side is the Associated Press on? Whose side are the anti-war Congressional Democrats on?
These are fair questions.
They defend the ‘rights’ of the terrorists’ and attack the United States’ conduct in both its military operations and its treatment of the enemy.
During the Civil War, President Lincoln, quoting the Bible, observed in a speech that “a house divided cannot stand.”
America is under attack from without, from within, and from on all sides. The terrorists can do no wrong, and America can do no right.
The enemy tortures and kills its prisoners, hides among civilian populations, and makes no distinction between military and civilian targets.
We wear latex gloves when handing out Korans to Gitmo prisoners so that they aren’t defiled by the infidel’s touch.
We serve them culturally sensitive gourmet meals, provide them with better medical care than most American citizens can afford for themselves, and ensure each cell has a arrow painted on the floor pointing toward Mecca.
Justice denied? Gitmo detainees are really innocent victims of a ‘politically motivated farce’? That is what our OWN media is reporting.
Judging by the conduct of the mainstream media, we owe Axis Sally, Tokyo Rose and Hanoi Hannah an apology. Josef Goebbels would have been proud.
It is worth noting that the loudest voices of opposition are also the most vitriolic opponents of what they call ‘Christian neo-conservatism’ — or, in simpler times, what used to be simply called “fundamental Christianity.”
It isn’t America that is the target of the mainstream Left. It is ‘Christian’ America. Given the choice between defending fundamental Christianity and fundamental Islam, they choose Islam every time.
Why? Because Jesus said they would:
“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. ” (Matthew 10:34-36)
The Apostle Paul addressed the last days of the Church Age in his 2nd Letter to Timothy. He wrote, “This know also, in the last days, perilous times shall come.” (2nd Timothy 3:1)
It is hard to imagine times more perilous than these.