Fortunately, those deaths raised enough of an uproar that the military couldn't just leave it with that chilling assessment. An investigation into the suicides and how they could have happened was ordered, and the Washington Post has obtained a copy of that report via a Freedom of Information Act request.
While the report and the article raise some important policy questions, what scalded my innards was a suicide note left by one of what this administration likes to call "suiciders."
"I am informing you that I gave away the precious thing that I have in which it became very cheap, which is my own self, to lift up the oppression that is upon us through the American Government," wrote Ali Abdullah Ahmed Naser al-Sullami, of Yemen, a 26-year-old detainee who had been on one of the longest hunger strikes at Guantanamo, ultimately earning him forced feedings through a tube. In a note neatly folded into his shirt pocket, Sullami wrote: "I did not like the tube in my mouth, now go ahead and accept the rope in my neck."
26 years old.
And here's the really tragic part of Mr. Sullami's story: he was not going to be prosecuted but he was never going to be released by the US.
The military's Criminal Investigation Task Force had decided years earlier that Sullami, who was arrested near his college in Pakistan in March 2002 and was turned over to U.S. authorities on May 2, 2002, in Afghanistan, was not someone they could prosecute.
"Although many of the individuals apprehended during the raid have strong connections to al Qaeda, there is no credible information to suggest Ahmed received terrorist related training or is a member of the al Qaeda network," investigators wrote in a previously "secret" document.
After four years, during at least two of which Mr. Sullami protested his captivity with a hunger strike, Mr. Sullami finally gave in. It's not hard to understand why, at least not hard for anyone with even a scintilla of compassion.
Rest in peace, young man.
Labels: Guantanamo Bay