Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Making Terrorists

(Thank you to TheImpolitic, while I'm on painkillers she did my thinking for me.)

No one could have predicted that incarcerating innocent men for years without charges and torturing them for information they didn't have would turn them into radicals.

One of the detainees whom a newly released Pentagon report says returned to the battlefield after he was released from the Guantanamo Bay prison camp told McClatchy that he was a local security leader in Afghanistan when he was arrested and became a radical Islamist only during his detention.

This in the context of the Pentagon's latest list of Gitmo releasees who "returned to the battlefield." Their criteria is, shall we say, flexible.

The report found that 27 were confirmed terrorism suspects and another 47 were suspected terrorists as of April 7.

The department defines suspected in part as "unverified or single-source but plausible" reported activities. In its 27 confirmed cases, the Pentagon said it has fingerprints, DNA, photos or reliable intelligence tying them to terrorist activity since their release.

Most of the confirmed and suspected terrorists the agency listed have either died in battle or in suicide attacks, or have been arrested by local authorities.

So in other words, it barely matters if they "returned to battle" because most of them aren't a threat any more. Not that anyone but McClatchy seems willing to mention this part. I swear, the vast majority of our media are a greater threat than terrorists.

Libby has hit on something here that we ought to use when developing policy, that we are by our violation of our own principles doing ourselves harm that is worse than the terraists are doing to us. Our national character is harder to get back than those twin towers, and more lives have been lost to those we made into our enemies than were on 911.

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