The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

A Rush to Judgment?

(and thus ends the love affair with President Obama)

Seems that, at some point today, President Obama is going to issue three executive orders today that ban torture, limit interrogation techniques, and put in motion the closing of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

I’m going to try to write this without waving the bloody shirt (as a former Gitmo employee), but that’s a bad idea. Here’s how I got there:

I know there are some innocent people in Gitmo who had nothing to do with acts of terror, al Qaeda, the Taliban, etc. They should be released as soon as possible, and I have no problem with that at all. But let’s take a look at some of the people who are at Gitmo, courtesy of the somewhat left-leaning Brookings Institution:

If the government’s allegations against detainees are uniformly credited, the following picture of the current population emerges:


• 81 detainees traveled to Afghanistan for jihad.



• 130 stayed in Al Qaeda, Taliban, or other guest- or safehouses.



• 169 detainees took military or terrorist training in Afghanistan.



• 84 actually fought for the Taliban, many of them on the front lines against the Northern Alliance.



• 88 were at Tora Bora.



• 71 detainees’ names or aliases were found on computers, hard drives, physical lists of Al Qaeda operatives, or other material seized in raids on Al Qaeda safehouses and facilities.



• 64 detainees were captured under circumstances—military surrenders, live combat actions, traveling in a large pack of Mujahideen, or in the company of senior Al Qaeda figures, for example—that strongly suggest belligerency.

28 detainees served on Osama Bin Laden’s security detail.





So, let’s be honest: there are some people in Gitmo-outside of the high value detainees like Khalid Sheik Muhammad-that may or may not be (in all fairness) be completely innocent.

But, here’s my biggest problem with this whole situation: what are we going to do with the detainees?

Policy at Gitmo states that we cannot release a detainee back to a country that would not be able to provide them a reasonable degree of safety, and not torture/kill them upon arrival. That’s the reason that there’s still 17 Chinese Uighurs still there; can’t send them back to China, where we know they’ll be persecuted for their beliefs. Couple this with the fact that there’s more than a few detainees who we just can’t release, because they either are known/admitted terrorists or will go back to terrorism upon their release (and, yeah, it’s happened before).

Can we stick them in federal/military prisons? Yeah, sure…but who’s going to guard them? Civilian police aren’t trained to guard military detainees, and with the row over the military’s treatment of them, public opinion would dictate against the military taking up the job again (which shouldn’t matter, except the Obama Administration seems to be fueled on public opinion). Not to mention, which community are you willing to piss off when you park the remaining detainees in their backyard? Someone made an important point on Facebook yesterday about this subject:

Everyone wants the cake, but no one wants the bakery within a 1000 miles of their home.


So, here’s my suggestion:

President Obama has suspended the commissions process at Gitmo for 120 days, so his administration can get a handle on who’s there. That’s fair; with the exception of the DOD carryovers from Bush 43, his people haven’t been privy to a lot of that information.

So why not take a trip down there? Talk to the guards, the intelligence professionals, the people who know the ins and outs of Gitmo. Hell, walk the blocks if you feel so inclined. What better what to get a handle on what’s there than to see it for yourself?

Would a trip to Gitmo change the president’s mind? Probably not, but he’d be making a much more informed decision than a rush to judgment.




Written by Coby Dillard

January 22, 2009 at 9:49 am

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