June 30, 2008

So Why Do We Need Gitmo? Let Me Count the Ways...

Hatched by Sachi

When we capture prisoners of war (POWs), we don't imprison them for punishment; we take them out of commission "for the duration" of the war. That is why they shouldn't get a trial: They're not in the same category as regular "criminals," who can be released without too much damage if the government cannot amass enough evidence for a judge or jury to find them guilty.

POWs -- or in al-Qaeda's case, unlawful enemy combatants -- cannot be released as long as they're likely to attack us again; just like ordinary POWs, terrorists are not held in punishment... they're held to keep them from returning to the fight against us, or at least to be available for a prisoner swap, if the Commander in Chief decides that's in our best interest.

Now let's meet Abu Juheiman al-Kuwaiti, also known as Abdullah Salih al-Ajmi. (Ever notice how many Guantanamo Bay detainees have multiple aliases?) Al-Kuwaiti is a former guest of the Guantanamo Bay resort and gentlemen's club; he's also a former human being -- and newly annointed martyr. Al-Kuwaiti is one of the featured stars in this al-Qaeda promotional video. According to Bill Roggio, he pulled off a spectacular suicide bombing in Mosul last March:

Ajmi was released from Guantanamo Bay and was searching for "a way to reconnect with the jihad." He claimed he was tortured while at Guantanamo Bay.

Ajmi "is seemingly responsible for an earlier truck bombing at the Iraqi Army HQ in the Harmat neighborhood of Mosul on March 23, 2008," said Kazimi. The attack occurred at Combat Outpost Inman, an Iraqi Army base that served as the headquarters for the 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Iraqi Army Division.

Thirteen Iraqi soldiers were killed and 42 were wounded after Ajmi drove an armored truck packed [with] an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 pounds of explosives through the gate of the outpost and detonated [himself] in a spot between the three main buildings of the compound. The blast destroyed the facades of the three buildings, including the building housing the battalion headquarters.

Get it? We had him, but we had to turn him loose because of earlier Court decisions. We let this man go because we couldn't prove, to the standard of a civilian court, that he was a "criminal."

He's not a criminal; he wanted to kill, not steal. But we set him free, and he rushed straight out and blew himself up... along with thirteen other people, and injuring an additional 42. As a direct result of an earlier Supreme-Court judgment (with Justice Anthony Kennedy casting the swing vote), Ajmi was released back into the wild so he could kill again. (It could have been worse -- an amusement park or a mega-mall on Saturday afternoon.)

Although Ajmi is surely morally responsible for the thirteen Iraqi solders's death, I do not assign him total blame; he is a combatant, and this is what combatants do. But a significant part of the blame falls on the people who do not understand that this is a war, and a vicious war at that... the people who convince themselves that we're merely keeping carjackers and pickpockets in Gitmo, and by jingo, they should get their rights!

These are the people who demand that unlawful enemy combatants be granted the right to file a habeas corpus petition demanding the government show "probable cause" to think they've committed a "crime," just as if they were civilian criminal suspects: "Better a thousand guilty men go free than a single innocent man be wrongfully convicted!"

But those thousand "guilty men" who go free will not just steal a thousand big-screen TV sets: They will murder ten thousand innocent civilians. And there will be nothing left of the "suspects" but their cremains, assuming we could even sort out the mangled body and ashes left from the terrorist from that of his victims, nothing to try, nothing to find either guilty or not guilty. How clever and ideologically pure does that little saying sound now?

Why do people refuse to believe what our enemy says? Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah tell us constantly that they will kill us and our allies whenever they get a chance, as many as they can, as often as they can manage. If the entire world had a single throat, these are the people who would slit it for the sheer joy of killing everyone. If this is religion, it's more like the Aztecs than mainstream Islam.

So why does our military give a "chance" to terrorists who hunger for the Guiness world record for biggest single-incident slaughter of all time? They do because the courts have taken power, and the courts insist that everyone not provably guilty must be released immediately.

It's precisely because such dangerous human-sacrificers exist that Guantanamo Bay must stay in business. John S. McCain wants to close Gitmo; maybe he's right. The way the Court is running, it's no longer safe for us to hold any prisoner in a prison we control. But we need something like Guantanamo Bay, even if it's in Poland, run by the Polish army.

Five members of the Supreme Court plus all the Democrats in the world think that we can just fold Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh -- not to mention Osama bin Laden, when we finally pull him out of his spider hole -- into the general prison population and treat them like "any other criminal;" Barack H. Obama says he'll restore the old Clinton policy of responding to a terrorist strike by shooting off a volley of subpoenas and writs, as we treated John Gotti.

That's like saying we can treat a nuclear bomb, discovered in a terrorist cache found in Minneapolis or Dallas or Manhattan, as if it were a cherry bomb found in a teenager's desk drawer in Burbank.

We desperately need a prison of last resort, where we can store those people who should never, ever, ever be let out -- and to hell with their "rights."

But to hang onto them once we grab them, we also desperately need conservative replacements for Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the next two Supreme-Court justices who will retire. So vote for McCain! This is our one and only chance for many decades to create a Supreme Court that actually cares more about law-abiding Americans than about those who would murder by the millions, if they only could.

Hatched by Sachi on this day, June 30, 2008, at the time of 4:01 AM

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Tracked on July 1, 2008 7:57 PM


The following hissed in response by: snochasr

I think most of us understand the need to vote for McCain for exactly that reason, if no other, but isn't it time to start trying to elect a Republican majority to the Senate so McCain's appointments can acually be confirmed? Thanks to McCain, the filibuster of judicial confirmations is still intact, but at minimum it requires 51 Republicans to change the rules and allow the vote, and 51 to confirm a new justice.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 30, 2008 5:56 AM

The following hissed in response by: Roy Lofquist

Dear Sachi,

I agree with you 99 and 44/100 percent. The only thing I would take issue with is the statement that we imprison people as punishment. Others would say the we imprison in order to reform. While these are popular opinions the real reason that we imprison people is the same as POW's - to keep them off the street. "The crime rate is down so why are so many people in prison?" Duh.


The above hissed in response by: Roy Lofquist [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 30, 2008 9:42 AM

The following hissed in response by: David M

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 06/30/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

The above hissed in response by: David M [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 30, 2008 11:12 AM

The following hissed in response by: Geoman

Simple solution - release all the prisoners at Gitmo. From 30,000 feet over the South Atlantic.

Funny how killing these guys on the battlefield would be okay, but capturing, questioning them, and detaining them is beyond the boundaries of constitutional law.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The above hissed in response by: Geoman [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 1, 2008 11:52 AM

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