Sunday, October 24, 2004

Apparently you can take the Islamist out of al Qaida but you can't take al Qaida out of the Islamists.

The cries for civilian courtroom proceedings for war criminals captured by the U.S. military and coalition forces that have rung indignantly from the EU to the ACLU claiming all kinds of mistaken identity as obviously bewildered and harmless Pushtun goat herders were shanghaied to Cuba, just failed a critical reality check. The prisoners at Guantanamo considered least threatening or possibly innocent and paroled under Liberal and international pressure seem to have run off and re-joined al Qaida and the Taliban. Go figure. What were the odds ?

"One of the repatriated prisoners is still at large after taking leadership of a militant faction in Pakistan and aligning himself with al Qaeda, Pakistani officials said. In telephone calls to Pakistani reporters, he has bragged that he tricked his U.S. interrogators into believing he was someone else

Another returned captive is an Afghan teenager who had spent two years at a special compound for young detainees at the military prison in Cuba, where he learned English, played sports and watched videos, informed sources said. U.S. officials believed they had persuaded him to abandon his life with the Taliban, but recently the young man, now 18, was recaptured with other Taliban fighters near Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to the sources, who asked for anonymity because they were discussing sensitive military information...

....The latest case emerged two weeks ago when two Chinese engineers working on a dam project in Pakistan's lawless Waziristan region were kidnapped. The commander of a tribal militant group, Abdullah Mehsud, 29, told reporters by satellite phone that his followers were responsible for the abductions.

Mehsud said he spent two years at Guantanamo Bay after being captured in 2002 in Afghanistan fighting alongside the Taliban. At the time he was carrying a false Afghan identity card, and while in custody he maintained the fiction that he was an innocent Afghan tribesman, he said. U.S. officials never realized he was a Pakistani with deep ties to militants in both countries, he added.

"I managed to keep my Pakistani identity hidden all these years," he told Gulf News in a recent interview. Since his return to Pakistan in March, Pakistani newspapers have written lengthy accounts of Mehsud's hair and looks, and the powerful appeal to militants of his fiery denunciations of the United States. "We would fight America and its allies," he said in one interview, "until the very end."....

....One former detainee who has not yet been able to take up arms is Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane, a Dane who also signed a promise to renounce violence. But in recent months he has told Danish media that he considers the written oath "toilet paper," stated his plans to join the war in Chechnya and said Denmark's prime minister is a valid target for terrorists. "

Yes liberals and leftists are at fault here but lets face it - many of them would be trying to block effective action regardless of the policy so long as Bush was president. The real blame here lies with the officials of the Bush administration who have not properly applied military law and procedure to captured combatants likely to have broken Geneva Convention rules regarding fighting out of uniform and targeting civilians.

While a desire for intelligence is natural and International Law and the Constitution allows for reasonable wartime captivity prior to trial, captivity in perpetuity was not an argument that was destined to fly in either venue. If we had gone forward with tribunals, which would have resulted in hard labor sentences cracking rocks at Leavenworth and not a few prisoners going to the firing squad, the Europeans and American Left would still have squealed but their argument that the U.S. was violating International Law would not have passed the laugh test.

Not to mention the stern message that military justice swiftly applied would have sent to the enemy. Somehow, video games and English lessons doesn't have the same impact on a religious fanatic and ecstatic murderer as a prison cell or the gallows. Gee, perhaps if we want to see effective action taken we should hope al Qaida starts selling nickel bags of pot to chemotherapy patients or gets a burqa-clad woman to bare a breast on national television. Those activities seem to concentrate the minds of national policy makers far more than joining a psychotic, transnational, Islamist death-cult at war with the United States.

President Bush and senator Kerry should be asked how the U.S. should deal with the terrorists who violated their parole and what the punishment for that crime is under the laws of war ?

(Hat tip to Richard Jensen of C-Net)
I believe that the Administration has erred in its dealing with the Guantanamo detainees. Most should have been released or executed long ago. I don't buy the idea that they're still getting useful intelligence from them this far out. Most of these guys were cannon fodder and didn't have much to offer when they were apprehended. How useful can what they knew be two years later?

I think the honest truth is that the Administration doesn't like any of their alternatives and sincerely wishes the whole issue would just go away.

I have a rather harsh contrarian view: no uniform or insignia, fired weapon, summary trial and execution. The Administration (understandably in my view but not particularly prudently or courageously) doesn't want to take the heat.
Dave wrote:

"I think the honest truth is that the Administration doesn't like any of their alternatives and sincerely wishes the whole issue would just go away.

I have a rather harsh contrarian view: no uniform or insignia, fired weapon, summary trial and execution. The Administration (understandably in my view but not particularly prudently or courageously) doesn't want to take the heat."

I think you are 100 % correct. A shortsighted political choice that seemed like a minor concession at the time has escalated into a bad precedent for the course of the war - and future wars since our craven response only legitimizes further 4th Generation attacks on our civilians.

It's a very bad sign for a civilization when even the most hawkish of it's elites balk at taking necessary steps to defend it from the barbarians. During WWII the USG would have taken the self-evident course of action in these cases reflexively and without question - and did in fact.

Sure the Euros would have screamed but they would have been molified by our waiving capital punishment for the occasional Euro-citizen jihadi goof like the erstwhile Shoe-bomber.
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