24 January 2009

Innocent Gitmo detainee joins peace movement in Yemen

Okay, actually, he joined al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Texas Fred comments:

I have, for several years now, been highly critical of what I consider to be a lack of war fighting ability on the part of former president George W. Bush. Ladies and Gentlemen, before this is over, Mr. Bush may appear to have the war fighting acumen of Gen. George Patton.

I don't care who you are, that's funny.

I had mixed feelings about Gitmo. On one hand, I think any nation should be careful about treating all foreign nationals within its borders as if they all were citizens. On the other hand, once a government has certain powers against non-citizens, it could also one day be empowered to use those powers against citizens, in the name of national security, especially if those citizens are "dis-loyal" -- making them even worse than aliens. On yet another hand, I've never liked the idea of fighting the war on terror as a simple law enforcement problem like, for example, the war on drugs (of which I'm not a fan), treating terrorists like soldiers, or even mercenaries. (And I really like mercenaries!)

My biggest problem with keeping the detainees at Gitmo was the whole idea of keeping them there because it would have been illegal, here, to hold them in the way we were holding them there. It's a what-happens-at-Vegas-stays-at-Vegas sort of thing. If you can't do it within your own borders, it sends the wrong sort of message.

It's not that I have a problem with things like water-boarding. I don't. But if you have that sort of confidence, you should do it here. And if you don't do it here because, among other things, you know that the courts would probably put a stop to it. Then it just looks like you're trying to operate outside the law, which, of course, you are.

As a practical matter, one could argue that we needed a place like Gitmo in order to fight this war on terror. As a philosophical and military-science matter, one might consider that the need for a place like Gitmo may have served better as an argument on the impossibility of actually, and successfully, fighting a war on terror.

It's still amusing though, to see a Gitmo detainee (innocent as the wind-driven snow) leave his prison -- free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last -- and go join his compatriots in al-Qaeda.

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James Frank SolĂ­s
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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