Field of Science

Ex-detainees becoming terrorists is no reason not to close Gitmo

The Pentagon has just released a report which posits that some of the Guantanamo detainees that were released have become terrorists.
The report, released days before President Obama took office, says 18 former detainees are confirmed to have participated in attacks, and 43 are suspected to have been involved in attacks.
That would indeed be worrying if true. However, if this alleged fact is ever used as an argument against closing Gitmo, as ordered by President Obama, consider that what people do after they are released, because no charges were made against them, really shouldn't have any bearing on whether they should have been released or not. If there isn't enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they were terrorists, then they should be released despite fears that they might become terrorists. You can't detain people because what you suspect they might become later on.


  1. There's also a possible problem here of cause and effect. Consider the two things Gitmo is most famous for: detainments of people who had not actually broken any laws and the use of interrogation methods harsher and less humane than those permitted to the army.

    The most memorable representation of this, I actually saw in an episode of 30 Rock. To synopsize:

    White female lead has a new Middle Eastern neighbor who makes her feel nervous. Because he makes her feel nervous, she rationalizes a bunch of stupid reasons why he must be a terrorist, and calls in an anonymous tip to an anti-terror hotline. In actuality he is a happy-go-lucky guy who loves America. Homeland security goons come and take away Middle Eastern neighbor in the middle of the night and interrogate him cruelly, looking for information he does not, in fact possess. When they let him out again, THEN he is angry at the American government and wants to do something terrible to it.

    The Pentagon's security experts seem to be espousing the idea that the people who hadn't broken any laws are mostly extremely sneaky terrorists who were about to do terrible things. Even if that were true, this is freaking America and that is not sufficient justification for detaining anybody. Even if it means I personally get blown up by evildoers, I am still angry about that.

    And if, as the article mentions, only 4 percent of those released have "returned" to terrorism, that means 96% have not. #$%^!! How many of those 96% were innocent to begin with!

    In conclusion I am really glad to see our new President moving in the right direction, namely getting this shameful place closed down as soon as is practicable.

  2. Aye Aye!

    Conservative coworkers have been grumbling about Gitmo all week and this is exactly the argument I bring to them (that we can't hole them for what we think they might do, only for what we can prove they have done).

  3. "You can't detain people because what you suspect they might become later on. "

    Unless you have a pre-cog, a la Minority Report.

  4. Todd, I did actually have a typed reference to Minority Report, but I deleted it because I thought that was too eccentric.


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS