The Guantanamo Myth

Lots of folks are up in arms because a Guantanamo Bay detainee who was released to Saudi Arabia is back on the streets leading the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda. This development is being used for opposition to President Obama’s executive order to close the prison within one year.

I’d like to remind my readers of a simple word. Recidivism. I don’t know the statistics but I would bet a healthy sum that most felons after they are released from prison go on to commit more crimes. Sadly, our penal system usually punishes but does not rehabilitate. So, the idea that a Gitmo detainee might return to his old ways if released is not rocket science.

I think the problem lies in this so called “war on terror”. I’m sorry gang but we are not at war with anyone. No country has declared war on us. No religious group has declared war on us. (No, Al Qaeda does not equal Islam.) Terrorists are nothing more than common criminals who hide behind ideology to wreak havoc on innocents. I have always maintained that they should be treated like criminals. Don’t go after them with our armies. Go after them with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

Once you’ve got them, prosecute them like the criminals they are. Once convicted, they should be incarcerated like any other common criminal. When the Fed goes after the Mob, we don’t throw mobsters in jail forever for fear that when they get released they’ll return to a life of crime. As a nation with rules, we have put in place guidelines for how long a person should be imprisoned for certain crimes. When that term is up, they get released. If they commit crimes again, they get arrested again and the whole process begins anew.

So why are we applying different standards to so called terrorists? Why are certain Governors saying “I don’t want them in my prisons”? I’ll tell you, if a Governor told me he didn’t want a particular criminal in his prison, I’d be worried about the felons he currently has in his prisons. He can’t handle them?

The bottom line is that the worst of the worst at Gitmo are not comic book villains with secret super powers. The worst of the worst are common thugs who need to be tried in a real courtroom and tossed in the nearest legitimate prison.

The time to close Guantanamo Bay has come. Let’s stop making excuses and get it done.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

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22 thoughts on “The Guantanamo Myth

  1. only three days in his Presidency Obama has problems with the press who got him elected, as I write in my last article

    I admire and enjoy your blog.

    Might we exchange blogroll links?

    [Link redacted to protect the innocent.]

  2. Couple of question/comments what ever ya want to call them.
    #1. I agree with you on recidivism. I ( pretty much well to your right) believe people are stupid if you think time in Gitmo rehabbed anyone.
    #2. The dirty secret of Gitmo too few speak of is that many nations refuse their nationals from there when Uncle Sam looks to release them.
    #3. Could you and those of your political inclination accept Gitmo as a location for a “real” courtroom and as a site for “real” incarceration

  3. Alfie,
    Option 3 would be great if Gitmo didn’t have such a stain on it. It’s kinda like Germans saying we’ve turned Auschwitz into a prison and by the way, it’s called … Auschwitz. Just doesn’t work.

    Furthermore, why do we need to imprison these folks at a remote military base? What’s wrong with Rikers and Sing-Sing?

    I think Obama understands your second point and part of his strategy is to get other nations to step up to the plate and do their part. Only time will tell if he’ll be successful.

  4. WOW. I hope you never hold a public office. What kind of world are you living in?? Wake up and realize the dangers that face our country.

    About rehabilitation, you can’t rehabilitate someone out of their core beliefs. As we call them terrorists, they are simply following a different belief system. When it poses threat to our country and our citizens, then we label them as terrorists.

    And the part you mention about releasing someone and starting the process of finding them yadda yadda, you forget that in the midst of that process, thousands of civilian lives are at stake each time. Your call how many times you think it will take till you realize they shouldn’t be released anymore.

  5. First Erin, welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere.

    I think you should expect your elected officials to uphold the laws of the United States. The world that I am living in is full of rapists, murderers, psychos and terrorists. And I maintain they are all criminals. Now, if you want to introduce legislation that makes terrorism a crime punishable by life in prison, I am all for that. However, this means the dude has to stand trial and be convicted before he gets locked away for life … the same way current murderers do.

    I’m not calling for the rehabilitation of terrorists. I’m calling for them to be charged, tried and incarcerated in a timely fashion as is the current legal standard of our country.

    Gitmo has not served that purpose.

  6. only three days in his Presidency Obama has problems with the press who got him elected, as I write in my last article
    I admire and enjoy your blog.
    Might we exchange blogroll links?

    Carol, while I would never want to turn away readers, based on the content of your blog, I find it very hard to understand why you would “admire” mine. If I’m not mistaken you compared Obama to Hitler. Even a cursory review of a few of my posts would reveal that I find such a comparison pretty preposterous.

    Special note to my readers, I don’t usually alter comments before I approve them but I did redact the link to Carol’s site because I really don’t want to be a party to advertising the kind of commentary I found there. A simple google of her “name” will get you there if you’re that curious. But I’m making you work for it.

  7. Rabbit, not quite the same thing. I was making a statement that Gitmo was a “tainted” name so transforming it into a legit prison probably wouldn’t work. I wasn’t calling Gitmo a concentration camp. A gulag maybe but not a concentration camp. 😉

  8. …not a gulag Rutherford. More people died in those things then concentration camps. Are you ignorant to the conditions of Soviet gulags or ignorant of the cozy reality that is Gitmo.

    Ignorant nonetheless you well meaning and pathetically sheltered man.

    Funny thing is I just had a conversation with an old lady
    (my brother’s wife’s grandmother) who ended up in a Ukrainian one back in the 40’s.

  9. DR2, OK I’ll grant you that I probably shouldn’t be throwing around the word gulag so carelessly. I heard the word used by a melodramatic liberal pundit and I kinda liked the drama of it but I’d have to admit Gitmo is hardly a gulag.

    Now, cozy? I think even you would have to back off that assessment. You are aware that a Republican judge determined that we could not prosecute a particular Gitmo detainee because he had been tortured (combo of sleep deprivation, isolation and hypothermia … dude’s heart rate dropped to 30).

    Clearly we all indulge in hyperbolic rhetoric to make our point, e.g. “gulag” and “cozy”.

  10. “combo of sleep deprivation, isolation and hypothermia … dude’s heart rate dropped to 30”

    sounds like bootcamp

  11. “Clearly we all indulge in hyperbolic rhetoric to make our point”

    well, I guess this so called “Carol” is the only one deemed not worthy to indulge…

  12. sounds like bootcamp

    To hear my father’s war stories, I’d have to agree with you. 🙂

    besides, torture and Gitmo are two different cats

    Ehhhh, not when the torture occurs AT Gitmo.

    well, I guess this so called “Carol” is the only one deemed not worthy to indulge…

    I think Carol engages in more than the occasional indulgence. I saw post after post of fringe stuff, at least in my opinion. As I said, google her, and judge for yourself. (For what it’s worth, Carol’s post wound up in my spam folder. I think WordPress automatically puts most link-swap comments into spam. I actually let it see the light of day so I could address her rather than completely ignore her.)

  13. You missed the whole reason for terrorism, Ruthorford. Terrorism is not about blowing yourself up for the fun of it, while trying to see who can kill more people; terrorism is about an ideology that is not main stream Islam, but may deserve that title. Contrary to popular belief, in a debate, Radical Islam would have a very good chance at proving itself the pure Islam. Because of that, terrorists have very strong encouragement. Imagine the strongest Christian you know. Now imagine if that person believed God had told them to kill you. The only difference is that that person serves the loving God, and the terrorsit serves Satan in disguise. (If this example doesn’t work for you, pretend)

  14. Solar1, yikes, if that isn’t some really skewed anti-Islam rhetoric I don’t know what is. You know how many folks have been killed throughout the years by God-fortified Christians? Radical Islam has no monopoly on doing nutty crap in the name of some supernatural force.

    What is needed, and what I believe Obama will try to do, is to appeal to moderate Islam. Sensible religious people don’t want to die and don’t want to kill anyone. They want to be left to their own beliefs and be allowed to live in harmony, and not be persecuted. Those are the folks we need to appeal to. Those are the folks who, once they get up the courage, will help us defeat the radicals.

  15. First of all, I should admit I haven’t read the Qu’ran. I am going off of hearsay just most everybody else. I do want to read it, though.

    “Radical Islam has no monopoly on doing nutty crap in the name of some supernatural force.”

    I never said they did have a monopoly, but they do “nutty crap” quite often. Right now, they are the problem we are talking about.

    “Sensible religious people…want to be left to their own beliefs and be allowed to live in harmony”

    PASSIVE religious people just want to be left alone to their beliefs and don’t care about others beliefs. They don’t read that religion’s holy book, or love going to places of worship, they pretty much just do a poor imitation of religious leaders.

    Radicals are getting recruits from the moderates, who are faced with whatever information the radiclas choose, and many times make the wrong choice. What do you think the moderates will do that will defeat the radicals?

  16. I’ve actually seen stuff that indicates that a strict (non moderate) Muslim may very well be the best weapon against the radicals. Solar is actually quite right in his analysis when he says

    Radical Islam would have a very good chance at proving itself the pure Islam.

    The thing is they get away with what they do because they can point to passages in the texts and prey on ignorance,hate and other abstracts. On the other hand some super hard line clerics in SA have gone into jails quoted some passages and later that night the jihadists were preparing to kill the ones amongst them that were preaching terror.
    Just saying

  17. On the other hand some super hard line clerics in SA have gone into jails quoted some passages and later that night the jihadists were preparing to kill the ones amongst them that were preaching terror.

    I’m a bit lost on this statement Alfie. For starters, pardon my thickness but what is “SA”? South America? Also, jihadists want to kill those who preach terror? I’m lost on this.

    To both you and Solar1, I’m struggling to understand this notion of a passive Muslim. I wouldn’t call a truly moderate Muslim, passive. It seems to me you’re not seeing a middle ground between radicals who skew the Koran for their own violent devices and very religious Muslims who don’t. You don’t have to be a radical to be a true believer. Now admittedly I know about as much (or less) about Islam as you guys do. I’m basing my argument on how I perceive the average sensible person views ANY religious doctrine.

  18. SA = Saudi Arabia the self proclaimed defenders of the faith. Let me break down my run on too. Jihadists in a cell with one or two serving as the leaders inciting violence based on the Word. Super hardliner in employ of the jail goes in and has a scripture based conversation “showing” the true meanings. Hours later the war mongers were scared for their lives as the former followers now saw them as offenders.
    I would say that Kosovo has recently been highlighted as the seat of the moderates.although I understand your position moderating Islam isn’t the cure all especially within the middle east.

  19. “Furthermore, why do we need to imprison these folks at a remote military base? What’s wrong with Rikers and Sing-Sing?”

    Rutherford,
    I think this is actually a good idea, but I think you overlooked the fact that they would go from bad to worse.

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