Prosecute the torture.

March 19, 2009

More On Bush's Torture

From Lawrence Wilkerson at The Washington Note. Wilkerson lists some things that we, the American public, might not be aware of, regarding the "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo Bay.

He first points out that the troops collecting said combatants were not as well trained as they should have been. But then he gets to a big nugget:

The second dimension that is largely unreported is that several in the U.S. leadership became aware of this lack of proper vetting very early on and, thus, of the reality that many of the detainees were innocent of any substantial wrongdoing, had little intelligence value, and should be immediately released.

But to have admitted this reality would have been a black mark on their leadership from virtually day one of the so-called Global War on Terror and these leaders already had black marks enough: the dead in a field in Pennsylvania, in the ashes of the Pentagon, and in the ruins of the World Trade Towers. They were not about to admit to their further errors at Guantanamo Bay. Better to claim that everyone there was a hardcore terrorist, was of enduring intelligence value, and would return to jihad if released. I am very sorry to say that I believe there were uniformed military who aided and abetted these falsehoods, even at the highest levels of our armed forces. [emphasis added]

I was curious about the reason why so many innocents were held for so long. Wilkerson explains:
The fourth unknown is the ad hoc intelligence philosophy that was developed to justify keeping many of these people, called the mosaic philosophy. Simply stated, this philosophy held that it did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance (this general philosophy, in an even cruder form, prevailed in Iraq as well, helping to produce the nightmare at Abu Ghraib). All that was necessary was to extract everything possible from him and others like him, assemble it all in a computer program, and then look for cross-connections and serendipitous incidentals--in short, to have sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified.

Thus, as many people as possible had to be kept in detention for as long as possible to allow this philosophy of intelligence gathering to work. The detainees' innocence was inconsequential. After all, they were ignorant peasants for the most part and mostly Muslim to boot. [emphasis added]

After pointing out that at least 770 people were held at Guantanamo Bay and that Wilkerson said that at most two dozen of those "might well be hardened criminals", David Schuster summed it all up like this last night:
Twenty-four men. American principles sacrificed. America's image stained to hold twenty-four men. Meaning the United States kidnapped, detained and denied due process to at least seven hundred fifty six innocent people.
Prosecute the war crimes. It's the law.