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January 23, 2009


Dahlia Lithwick has (once again) written a straightforward and illuminating article about Guantanamo, and about the balderdash to which we're still being subjected concerning it.  Just a few bons mots:

Are most of the detainees terrorist masterminds or just luckless wanderers?

For starters, let's put to rest once and for all the cockamamie numbers about former Guantanamo detainees who have ostensibly "returned to the battlefield" after being released from the camp. This is one of those numbers that's thrown around almost drunkenly by those in favor of keeping Guantanamo Bay in operation.

Calling the (constantly wavering) Bush Admin estimate a "coughed-up hairball," she continues:

The Defense Department has also been known to name as recidivists several individuals who have at no time been held at Guantanamo.  Moreover, the Denbeaux study shows that the Defense Department defines speaking to reporters or publishing op-eds critical of Guantanamo as "returning to the fight."

And an important element to remember is that we -- the United States government -- have abused these prisoners far past all decency.  We owe them.  And we owe it to them to do more than just dump them into a willing country, including our own, with no compensation, no psychological help, no medical help, no future prospects.

This brings us to the nearly unthinkable question of what happens to anyone, innocent or guilty, when they have been beaten, humiliated, and held in solitary confinement for almost seven years. One could argue that even Mother Theresa might be inclined to "rejoin the battlefield" upon release from such treatment. Somehow in the repatriation of those who arrived at Gitmo relative innocents, we must now contend with the fact that some will be dangerous as a consequence of our actions, not theirs.

I highly commend her article.


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That's a great piece. I swear to God I read some right wing apologist for Gitmo essentially making the argument that we can't let the innocent go from Guantanamo either because even if they weren't terrorist, after what we've done to them they will probably become so. (God you have to have a twisted soul to be a winger.)

The Defense Department has also been known to name as recidivists several individuals who have at no time been held at Guantanamo.

Nice to know, and no surprise. The Defense Department - very early on after the Iraq invasion - decided that if you were mortally wounded on the field of battle there, but didn't die until you were on the C-140 flying you to a hospital in Germany (along with whatever med. staff & equipment was on the flight - probably a decent contingent since there were bound to be regular flights of wounded), you weren't a casualty of the invasion.


(... after the Iraq invasion began - ....)

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