Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Latest Government Fertilizer

The US is beginning to reap what it has sown over the past eight years. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the nation's leaders have learned anything from the experience. The new president might sincerely wish to close Guantanamo Bay, the prison camp which has brought such shame to the country, but he's facing resistance from the very people who allowed that nightmarish experiment in international criminality to get started and gain traction.

This article in the NY Times displays the latest "reasoning" on why we can't shutter the gulag. Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, who was 18 when imprisoned seven years ago, was ordered released "forthwith" by a federal judge five months ago because the record showed he should never have been detained by the US. The government balked, and the reasons they gave are absolutely stunning.

But Obama administration officials were worried. Even if Mr. Ahmed was not dangerous in 2002, they said, Guantánamo itself might have radicalized him, exposing him to militants and embittering him against the United States. If he returned to his troubled homeland of Yemen, the officials feared, he might fall in with the growing contingent of Al Qaeda there, one more Guantánamo survivor to star in their propaganda videotapes. [Emphasis added]

The phrasing of the excuse is revealing: if he wasn't a terrorist, he might be now because Guantanamo made him one, as if a place in the Caribbean could do so without any human agency; as if being illegally imprisoned thousands of miles from home and being tortured and mistreated by the US had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Oh, please!

But it gets better. Now that we may have radicalized him we can't just send him home. His country's government isn't the strongest. They might not be able to mainstream him. He might fall in with bad company and come back to haunt us. Even worse, he might get a role in an Al Qaeda production. Oh, no!

Nowhere is there any acknowledgement of our horrendous behavior, nor any recognition that there will be consequences from that behavior. Instead, implicit in all the governmental hand wringing is the sense that everything will magically be all right if we just keep these men in Guantanamo Bay. Where they belong.

And that is crap of the foulest kind.

I am ashamed.

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