Perhaps the Most Important Op-Ed You’ll Ever Read


Christopher Carr

Christopher Carr does stuff and writes about stuff.

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18 Responses

  1. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    As if my Monday didn’t sucked enough already. Now this reminder.

    Who exactly are we protecting by doing this, again? I don’t feel any safer myself.Report

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      I know. This piece is so depressing, part and parcel of the ridiculous national security theater that allows us to think we are safer. If nothing else, this poor guy deserves a trial. More likely, he should be sent home but the imperatives of the endless war on terrorism demand he remain at Gitmo.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        More likely, he should be sent home but the imperatives of the endless war on terrorism demand he remain at Gitmo.

        If they send him home after what he’s been through, his mere presence would encourage Anti-American Sentiments in Strategically Important Locations which are by definition a National Security Issue. Can’t let him go home now!Report

    • Avatar George Turner says:

      Over the years we’ve released hundreds and hundreds of people from Gitmo, but not this guy. He had been recruited in Yemen by Al Qaeda member Marwan Jawan, underwent al Qaeda training in Afghanistan, served as one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards, knew about the 9/11 hijacks months beforehand, was a member of the 55th Arab Brigade (Al Qaeda’s core group in Afghanistan), fought the US at Tora Bora, and his name is all over Al Qaeda documents. He was captured with a large group of Al Qaeda members, including the 20th hijacker, who were trying to flee to Pakistan after losing several major battles. He also lies like a dog.

      And all that is according to the New York Times.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

        Well if his guilt is so apparent then perhaps he should be tried.Report

        • Avatar Michelle says:

          Exactly. If they have so much evidence against him, why not put him on trial or bring him up before a military tribunal.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          Well, that’s sorta the problem, see?

          The way we treated this guy, well, even the Kangeroo courts set up by Bush wouldn’t promise a conviction. (It was hilarious, in a horrible dark way, to see Bush appointees explaining that the problems with the regular courts, and indeed even regular military courts was that sometimes the answer wasn’t ‘guilty’ and obviously these guys were guilty, or they wouldn’t be in Gitmo).

          So, you can’t convict him because, let’s face it, we spent about 7 years waterboarding everyone we could fit on the board and that was just for starters. We’ve probably stopped that, not because Obama is Jesus but because Obama seems fairly pragmatic and, well, it’s pretty well documented that you get better results out of interrogation techniques that don’t involve torture. So really, any evidence we have deserves super scare quotes, because of the torture.

          We can’t close Gitmo because Congress won’t allow it. (We did have a Double Gitmo guy running awhile back, but he lost, so I guess that’s something).

          And let’s be honest: Anyone who wasn’t willing to move heaven and earth to attack us in the beginning probably is now. Can’t blame them — they were tortured, held without trial or bail, and generally have had it proven that America is pretty darn evil.

          So what do we do? Nothing, I guess.

          I mean, morally, we should try these guys and most of them will walk — many because they were innocent and many because, well, any evidence we had was obtained through the aforementioned waterboarding. And frankly, they probably should sue the crap out of us in our own courts. The case should be pretty slam dunk.

          But that won’t fly politically, because we don’t even admit waterboarding is torture (unless it’s done ON non-terrorists who are Americans, then it’s torture. It’s a complex thing). We certainly can’t be ‘soft’ on terrorists by, you know, extending laws to them or acting like civilized beings, because, you know, TERROR.

          So I’m pretty sure that political necessity says they’re just gonna rot there, and that the ‘solution’ is pretty much ‘don’t add anyone new’ and wait until they all die of old age.

          I’d like to expect more out of Obama, but frankly the Democrats pretty much shot their wad with admitted waterboarding was probably torture and that Kangeroo courts are bad. However, the existence of Dirty Hippies means that’s as far as they can go, because as we all know if they went further, they’d be hippies and hippies are wrong, per Established Rules.

          So, yeah. Gitmo’s just gonna stay. Maybe it’ll be shut down, but anyone still there is probably gonna rot in some military brig until they’re 70 and quietly let go if they promise not to sue us.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

            Exactly. The Catch-22 is that these people are “known” to be “guilty”, but there’s no usable evidence, so you either try them and let them go, or you hold onto them forever.

            “known”: via evidence obtained by torture, which means we don’t actually know jack shit.

            “guilty”: of being an enemy soldier. But the war never ends, so the POWs never go home.Report

            • Avatar Dave says:

              “guilty”: of being an enemy soldier. But the war never ends, so the POWs never go home.


              As far as I can remember, if he is an enemy combatant, engaged in hostilities against US forces in Afghanistan and did not violate the laws of war, he can’t be tried.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 says:

                I’m pretty sure we got a lot of those guys from our local ‘help’ in Afghanistan.

                I believe we know — for certain — that several of the ‘terrorists’ we got handed were people who had ticked off the local warlord we were friends with.

                And apparently we paid those nice warlords to take the people they didn’t like off their hands.Report

        • Avatar George Turner says:

          He’s been before at least three military tribunals.

          The evidence apparently shows that he went to Afghanistan, underwent training, lived in a house provided by the Taliban, fought the Northern Alliance, going back and forth between the front lines and Kabul. That’s on top of the whole OBL bodyguard thing, Tora Bora, and getting captured along with what was called “The Dirty 30”, a core group of OBL insiders, at least ten of whom have already been released.

          At one point he’s said: “These accusations make you laugh. These accusations are like a movie. Me, a bodyguard for bin Laden, then do operations against Americans and Afghanis and make trips in Afghanistan? I don’t believe any human being could do all these things … This is me? I have watched a lot of American movies like Rambo and Superman, but I believe that I am better than them. I went to Pakistan and Afghanistan a month before the Americans got there … How can a person do all these operations in only a month?”

          He went there in August, and we captured him in December.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko says:

            Mr. Carr’s point stands unaddressed.

            If there is evidence against him, then let that evidence be evaluated at a trial with fair judicial process, before a fair and objective finder of fact.

            If he is a liar, let the prosecution impeach his credibility with his lies. That’s part of a trial.

            If the evidence is found wanting, then let him go. Not because it’s fair to him, not because we’d expect others to do the same to us. Because it’s what OUR system of justice demands.Report

          • Avatar George Turner says:

            So exactly what law did he violate when he was running around in Afghanistan, and how is it he was under US jurisdiction and subject to US law? If a Yemeni in Afghanistan is subject to US law, doesn’t that mean that Americans in the UK are subject to Yemeni law? A judge is going to have problems with that, among other jurisdictional and procedural issues, and will likely throw the case out.

            To allay fears of that happening, even Obama has insisted that the defendants won’t be freed. If they don’t have a chance of getting freed, then what’s the point of a trial?

            Under the laws of warfare, if he was a legal combatant then we can’t prosecute him for being a combatant, and if he was an illegal combatant we can go ahead and summarily execute him without even a hearing. So we’re treating them as POW’s of a questionable nature, holding them until the end of hostilities or we decide they no longer present a threat.Report

            • Avatar Pub Editor says:

              Under the laws of warfare, if he was a legal combatant then we can’t prosecute him for being a combatant, and if he was an illegal combatant we can go ahead and summarily execute him without even a hearing.

              According to his op-ed:

              After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

              So, one should first establish that he was a combatant, before trying to fit him into either the “legal combatant” box or “illegal combatant” box. This man was not captured on a battlefield during a firefight.Report

            • Avatar George Turner says:

              According to his op-ed, he’s completely innocent. After 12 years of questioning him and the other 29 Al Qaeda members he was captured with (while trying to cross into Pakistan, contrary to the impression he gives in his op-ed), I think we’ve pretty well determined that he was a combatant. Eleven or so of the people he was capture with have already been released.Report

  2. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

    Well we can’t possibly close down the prison because terrible things will happen if we do…meh.Report

  3. Avatar Chris says:

    A part of me still has hope that things like this will cause people to demand action, and then politicians to act.

    The rest of me remembers where we live, and thinks that will never happen.

    The first part of me then seriously considers leaving.Report

  4. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    And then there’s this…. Was al Hassan Moqbel fighting with the 55th Arab Brigade or not? We know he was captured fleeing from Tora Bora and his name is on Al Qaeda documents.

    This guy is guilty as hell and should have been convicted and given a good long sentence in a Federal prison. The fact that he’s detained at Gitmo has perverted the cause of justice. Bush43 and his jackasses didn’t trust the same justice system which gave the Blind Sheikh a life sentence.

    Want justice? Abolish Gitmo. Guilty or innocent, and if his paperwork isn’t a complete fabrication, this guy should have long since had the prison door slammed shut on his al Qaeda terrorist ass, he should have gotten a trial.Report