Monday, June 12, 2006

Guantanamo Suicides

The suicides of three hardcore prisoners at Guantanamo has reinvigorated calls for closing the camp, as if that would solve anything. The prisoners still have to be dealt with one way or another, and Guantanamo is just the location where that difficult problem is currently dealt with.

First of all, they are not POWs under the terms of the Geneva Convention. They are not part of any regular military unit, let alone one representing a signatory to the treaties. The tactics of their organizations, deliberately targeting non-combatants and masquerading as civilians, are clearly forbidden by the treaties they seek to invoke. They hack off the heads of their prisoners.

So what could be done? Several things have already been tried with bad results. Some "low risk" prisoners were released, only to return immediately to jihadist activities. Sending them back to their countries of origin, "rendition," is also being denounced by the same crowd as above. Sending them to special prisons in Europe is apparently also verbotten. Perhaps we could get them all some nice apartments on the Rive Gauche.

I'm willing to concede that it's possible that a few of the prisoners might be innocent, at least I'll concede that to anyone willing to admit that most of them are not. Although holding them all until the "end of hostilities" may be legal in a strict sense, that is effectively a life sentence. Given that some may be innocent, they need to be tried. The place for that is a military court. The sooner the better.

If the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui taught us anything at all, it is that the civilian courts are not the place to deal with terrorists. He was able to turn his trial into a circus and keep his babbling in the news for months. Thank goodness he got life in prison or we'd have to suffer through endless reruns with each appeal of the death sentence. Now he can just disappear into obscurity for the rest of his life.

I'm somewhat puzzled that anyone is shocked by these suicides, though. Despite all that we're told about Islam forbidding suicide, there's obviously no shortage of people eager to kill themselves in its "service." These guys already wanted to be "martyrs" for jihad; that's how they got there. If a suicide could hamper the battle against jihadism, they'll line up to get their tickets punched.

Others disagree [emphasis added]:
Barbara Olshansky of the Center for Constitutional Rights said in a telephone interview from New York that those held at Guantanamo "have this incredible level of despair that they will never get justice. And now they're gone. And they died without ever having seen a court."

Olshansky, whose group represents about 300 Guantanamo detainees, wept during the interview. She appealed to the Bush administration "for immediate action to do the right thing. They should be taken to court or released. I don't think this country wants the stain of injustice on it for many years to come."
Cry me a river, Barbie. Better they should hang themselves than strap on an explosives belt and take a bunch of innocents with them. Chances are about 299 of those 300 would happily slit your throat if they had the chance.

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