Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blame the Right People

WikiLeaks seems to be getting some traction with a recent release that purports to show that we have held "innocent" men at Guantanamo Bay:

The United States held innocent men for years at its maximum-security detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a new trove of more than 700 documents released by the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks.

One, we are at war and not in a law enforcement campaign. The idea that we need evidence to hold people we capture on the battlefield is ridiculous.

Second, the fact that we probably have made mistakes in who we hold demonstrates why the enemy failure to fight in identifiable uniforms threatens civilians. If the enemy fought in uniforms, we wouldn't be faced with the problem of looking at a village full of "civilians" and deciding who is and who is not an enemy fighter. How could we not make mistakes in that light? This doesn't relieve us of the responsibility of getting the decisions right, but the basic problem is caused by the enemy.

Finally, the leaked documents also show that there is a reason that we need to hold a lot of the prisoners (and probably shouldn't have released many more under pressure from the sainted international community):

But the documents also provide a look at why many U.S. lawmakers feel the detention center cannot be closed, despite its history of extracting information from prisoners through torturous methods.

Most of the 172 prisoners who remain at the facility are considered a "high risk" to the United States and its allies if released without proper rehabilitation and supervision.

Yet the leaked documents show that more than 200 prisoners who have already been released to other countries were also designated "high risk."

Also, I strongly disagree with the idea that we used "torturous methods." We generally treated them with kid gloves and our guards were treated worse by the prisoners than the other way around. When we questioned them, we did use some harsh methods sometimes. But they were not "torture."

But perhaps that is why the writer said "torturous methods" rather than "torture." The writer knew the latter is false but wished to damn America by implying we crossed the line. In my mind, that's a tortuous writing device that fails to blame the right people for why we hold prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.

UPDATE: Thanks to The Unreligious Right for the link.