In 2008, the Pentagon estimated that 11 percent of all released Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detainees had rejoined militant groups. Last April, the figure had risen to 14 percent. A just released Pentagon report cites a really sobering statistic: 20 percent of all released Gitmo terrorists have returned to their former militant existence.
If you are at all interested in a Marxian analysis of why that is, Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!’s Comrade-Number 1, has the answer: it’s our own fault.
These recidivist jihadists only return to suckle at the al-Qaeda teat because they are tortured at Gitmo. Take the case of poor Aballah al-Ajmi, for example. Captured in Afghanistan fighting with the Taliban, al-Ajmi spent over three years at Gitmo before being released. He somehow made his way to Iraq, where he drove an explosive-laden truck into security forces, killing 13 and wounding dozens.
Why did he do it? Goodman explains:
The most deadly act by a former Guantanamo prisoner was carried out by Kuwaiti national Abdallah al-Ajmi, who killed thirteen people in Iraq in 2008. Al-Ajmi’s attorney has said he was radicalized and left mentally unstable after four years of torture at Guantanamo.
If only we had made their time at Gitmo a more enjoyable experience, al-Ajmi and the others would certainly have gone on to become pillars of their respective communities. There is only one problem with Goodman’s hypothesis: it’s rubbish.
The alleged “torture” of Gitmo detainees under former President George W. Bush has long ended with the ascendency of Barack Obama. Terrorists held at Gitmo are now even afforded constitutional rights, which they never enjoyed under Bush.
And yet, the disturbing increase of recidivism is getting worse under the Obama administration. Bush made a profound error in releasing so many detainees. Obama is compounding that error; and with his goal of shutting the facility down completely, is courting disaster.
Despite Goodman’s absurd “soft approach” rhetoric, what Obama needs to do is actually the polar opposite—he needs to get tougher. If the remaining Gitmo detainees were not the worst of the worst, they would have been released by now. They should not be released just for the sake of closing Gitmo, so Obama can fulfill a silly campaign promise. It is the perfect place to house jihadist terrorists, and America will become less safe if it closed.
Not only should Gitmo remain open, any future jihadists caught attacking or planning to attack American interests should be sent there without delay; and with all of the releases to date, there should be plenty of room for them at the inn.
- Meet Your New Neighbors, the Jihadists
- Home for the Holidays: Obama Frees 12 More Gitmo Terrorists
- Amnesty International to Obama: Move Faster on Jihadists