Friday, January 23, 2009

Unmentioned Facts

So my friends on The Right ping me a couple of times today. Rapid fire a barage of "I Told You So." Point me toward articles saying: Barrack should reconsider closing Gitmo.

The short version is: A prisoner named Said Ali al-Shihr was freed from Guantánamo, sent back to Saudi Arabia, and is NOW accused of being the second-ranking Al Qaeda leader in Yemen. And taking this to some logical Right Wing conclusion, we should reverse Obama's recent executive order and detain these rest of the prisoners indefinitely.

The thinking appears to go something along the lines of:
  1. "We" released al-Shihr from Gitmo
  2.   Al-Shihr is now associating with Al Qaeda
  3. "Obama" wants to release everyone from Gitmo
  4. Everyone we release in the future will associate with Al Qaeda
  5. Therefore we shouldn't release them, so they won't associate with Al Qaeda
While I agree that we should not release anyone we are certain will turn around and immediately attack us, I think it is important to consider a few unmentioned facts:
  1. Al-Shihr was released a year ago.
  2. Al-Shihr did not have any sort of trial.
  3. Al-Shihr was investigated / detained / interogated for four years. At the end of that time, his "handlers" in Gitmo decided that he was safe to release. Not four minutes of researching this action. Not four weeks, not four months, but four years worth of contemplating what to do with him. Everyone involved contributed to his release.I doubt it was a choice made flippantly. 
Now when I consider everything, I'm left with two possible conclusions:
  • Either Al-Shihr spent more than twelve hundred days under constant observation and still managed to cleverly fooling dozens (if not hundreds (if not thousands)) of intelligent people and convinced them that he wasn't a threat to our nation.
  • Or four years of research and "enhanced interrogation techniques" proved he wasn't a threat before we capured him (Al-Shihr claimed he was a carpet merchant and traveled to Iran for supplies) but... he became a threat after being subjected to prolonged exposure to American hospitality at Gitmo.
Either Gitmo is a failure at identifying bad guys, or it is producing bad guys.

Neither option has to do with Obama's recent executive decision. But both options make me agree with that decision.
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