Comment on Freed “Terrorists”

Here is my comment of this NY Times article:

Later Terror Link Cited for 1 in 7 Freed Detainees, by Elisabeth Bumiller

Of course, the obvious response is that this is a surprisingly low number. 

If these were actually all dangerous committed terrorists, then I’d expect the majority of them would return to being a terrorist.  It’s surprising that round 84% stop being terrorists.  It makes me wonder that maybe they never were terrorists in the first place. 

A better statistic to know would be how many people who weren’t terrorists before being imprisoned became terrorists after release.  Another useful statistic would be how many Iraqis who supported the US before the occupation became terrorists afterwards.

Other people’s comments:

Why is this surprising? Of course, people committed to a war would rejoin. Look at what our escaped or returned POW’s did during U.S. wars.

— Theron, Racine, WI

Less then the recidivism rate for US convicts being released from prison.

— David, Tn

Well, why would you not…if you had been tortured and treated like a dog? How could that not make you want to fight back? We bred this resistance and created terrorists even where there were none – Remember the rage and fight we all had in us after 9/11? Now multiply that feeling by 1,000 – and perhaps that is getting close to the rage and anger they must feel leaving Guantanamo after their lives, their dignity, their human and legal rights, and sometimes their families were stripped of them?

It is a terrible dilemma now what to do with these men – as I believe this statistic – but at the same time, we can only blame ourselves – and hope and pray that in the future we will maintain more dignity ourselves and hold ourselves to a higher moral standard – to prove them wrong – rather than proving them right – about our being worthy of the fight.

— Jennifer K, Providence, RI

How can you “return” to terrorism if you were never a terrorist in the first place? The people who were released from Guantanamo were never charged, tried or convicted of anything. Why? No evidence they did anything.

— Puzzled, Palm Coast, FL

This is a very misleading headline. And just what constitutes “returning” to terrorism. It is reported elsewhere that some in this count simply appeared in videos or condemned the US during interviews. If the majority counted cannot be verified then the statistic is suspect. You should have reported more honestly. Sounds like you have an axe to grind.

— tarry davis, norfolk, virginia

Really “returned?” That is agreeing with the last admin that they all ARE terrorists. Why not check our if some (or many…) only became militant AFTER what the stay in gtmo did to them…?

— rsb, Switzerland

Unreleased, unsubstantiated and anonymous report from an unnamed agency. Now this is the kind of information that anyone can use to make a rational decision about unproven and not made charges. After these people have been imprisoned and tortured without any due process why would these men become terrorists? Whoa that’s a tough one.

— HR Holmes, Ft Lauderdale

What is the big surprise ? Was someone expecting them to all go home and play scrabble ? This is silly to be talking about. Of course your going to have some of them returning to active military activities. Just deal with it and close Guantanamo Bay anyway. It is a disgrace to the values and principals of America.

— John Hartman, Bristol, Connecticut

Is the Pentagon admitting they released people they knew to be terrorists or dangerous to US troops? Or is the Pentagon saying they released people they didn’t
really know anything about, people who hadn’t been properly vetted before being transferred to Guantanamo and whom they determined, through illegal and flawed interrogations and with very little hard evidence, one way or the other, to be of no significant danger to the United States or our allies?

During and after the attack on Afghanistan by United States forces, a net was cast that caught all sorts of fish – Taliban soldiers and supporters of the Taliban government, ordinary Afghanistan civilians, travelers, humantiarian workers, government officials, members of Al Qaeda, people employed by Al Quada, mercenaries, soldiers and supporters of the Northern Allience, etc. Instead of properly vetting these people and releasing those who weren’t combatants, declaring the remainder to be prisoners of war, they were denied the protections of the Geneva Conventions and transferred to Guantanamo to undergo interrogations. In some cases, these interrogations involved techniques which were cruel, inhumane, abusive and humiliating. Techniques which are notoriously unreliable.

The claim that 1 in 7 released detainees “returned to terrorism” has no merit. Instead of trying to justify, support and continue inept and illegal methods of fighting the so-called “war on terrorism”, the Pentagon should admit that it has made huge mistakes – illegal arbitrary detention, illegal classifications, illegal interrogation practices – and learn from them. Making restitution to those it has wronged and making sure all their policies and actions adhere to the laws of the Geneva Conventions would be a good place to start.

For those still detained, either charge them with crimes and give them fair and impartial trials – “fair and impartial” being defined by international laws and standards – or let them go. If they cannot be released to their prior countries of citizenship or residence due to the danger of being unfairly jailed, tortured or killed, and no other country will take them, they must be released into the United States. That is not to say there cannot be stipulations to those releases, but released they must be. To continue to hold these people indefinitely is a continuation of the United States government’s lawlessness through violations against the Constitution of the United States, US Federal laws and
international laws.

— Mary Ellen Crowley, Waldoboro, ME

Recent statistics on recividism rates in the US: “67.5% of prisoners released in 1994 were rearrested within 3 years, an increase over the 62.5% found for those released in 1983”

Why don’t we just keep everybody in jail forever? That would prevent crime, only, we’d soon run out of enough people on the outside to watch over (and feed/clothe) those on the inside. It’s time to get this debacle behind us. Hurry up and try them, convict them if they’re guilty, and release the innocent who were picked up in mass sweeps. If some of them go back to the fight, so be it. That’s the price we pay for Bush’s folly.

— Tokyo2nite, Japan

My understanding is that this number has been changed by the Pentagon over fifty times. One in seven? How about a little investigation as to why this number is continually changing (for the worse)? I for one would really appreciate that.

— Alvin, Columbia, SC

Isn’t it really time that respectable media outlets define the word “terror” before they parrot the term in ways that are clearly meant to manipulate the masses?

— TJ, Arkansas

If 1 out of 7 is seen as a high enough ratio to warrant the prolonged imprisonment of people without charging them, I have an idea!

Let’s throw every Bush administration official in prison for 4 or 5 years, whether or not we can find anything on them — I’ve got $20 that says at least 1 in 7 violated some law during the past 8 years.

— TJ, Arkansas