Hyping the GITMO Boys Threat


gitmo american flag.jpgAfter spending some time in China recently listening to the stories of Chinese officials and others on what roles they played or in what circumstances they or their families suffered during the Cultural Revolution, I can easily imagine twenty or thirty years from now similar historic reflections in the form of special lectures, movies, even Broadway theater productions on the topic of “The Gitmo Boys.”
The Gitmo boys are the terrorists and suspected (but not proven) terrorists that America and its allies are holding and have held in extra-legal limbo at the US-controlled Guantanamo detention facilities in Cuba.
Today, there are big concerns about what happens if America’s legal system proves unable to process some of those detained — and judges eventually order them either transferred to their countries of home origin or just released.
My New America Foundation colleagues Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann have just published an important New York Times piece suggesting that the Pentagon may be engaged in hyping the recidivism rate of released GITMO detainees.
What has always bothered me about GITMO is the sloppiness and imprecision involved in US authorities making a clear case against the most violent and most extreme cases there versus detaining young boys, octogenarians, other “suspected” but unproven criminals, or even innocents. In my view, the sloppy management of GITMO detainees has undermined security and American national interests by actually creating the conditions by which the worst cases can’t easily be processed in our judicial system or even in the courts of our allies.
This was a huge mistake. Read the Bergen/Tiedemann article though which I find quite sober and balanced — and implicitly critical of the threat-hyping that DoD is engaged in.
— Steve Clemons


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