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Ex-Detainee Becomes Suicide Bomber:

Reuters reports that relatives of a former Guantanamo detainee claim he became a suicide bomber in Iraq. What does this prove? Nothing really, but I'm sure partisans in the debate over Guantanamo and the treatment and detention of alleged enemy combatants will see this as evidence that confirms their respective points of view. On the one hand, Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi may have been a dangerous enemy combatant all along, and should never have been released. On the other hand, he may have been wrongfully detained in the first place, only to become radicalized by his (mis)treatment by the U.S. military. In other words, we either had a terrorist and let him go, or we created one.

merevaudevillian:
al-Ajmi was among five Kuwaitis acquited in a Kuiwait criminal court. They received bail in March 2006, and they were acquited in May. As the May 22, 2006 news bulletin reports:

Khaled al-Odah, who heads a private group that campaigns for the release of Kuwaiti prisoners in Guantanamo, told The Associated Press he was "proud of Kuwaiti justice." He lamented that "our sons have lost four years of their lives for no good reason."
5.2.2008 10:36am
Kazinski:
When the police arrest someone of burglary, and then eventually let them go for lack of evidence, and then later they are caught red handed committing a burglary, how often do we say "the police created a burglar"?
5.2.2008 10:47am
ERH:
Kazinski, if you don't think our prisons are creating criminals I would advise you to send some time there.
5.2.2008 10:51am
A.W. (mail):
On a similar note with Kazinski...

I never get the "we created the problem" theory. the basic syllogism goes like this:

1. Suicide bombers are created by injustice.
2. We create injustice.
3. Therefore we get suicide bombed.

Ditto with isreal, of course.

But as any fair minded person will point out, whatever you think of Isreal and America, they are not the worst actors in the region. Look at Saddam, back when he was alive. Look at Iran. Look at Saudi. The list goes on and on. They are all much much worst than the worst fever dreams of the modern left. So, if premise that suicide bombers are created by injustice is true, then why didn't Saddam have literally millions of suicide bombers coming after him? What about Iran? At most, you see AQ doesn't like the Saudis very much.

And for that matter, if injustice leads to suicide bombings, then why wasn't it 19 cherokees on 9-11? And why aren't the tibetans suicide bombing the chinese? Or for that matter, why aren't christians all over the muslim world suicide bombing their governments? there is no question that the west treats its muslims much better than the muslim middle east treats its christians. you cannot even have a bible in Saudi.

All this really is, is "why do they hate us" version 2.0. When people blamed america first after 9-11, most americans rejected it. now they are blaming america first for post-9-11 terrorism and more people are buying it.

But its a moral inversion. When the KKK murdered 4 little girls when attending sunday school at the 16th St. Baptist church, in 1963, we took it as evidence of the evil and depravity of their underlying cause. Ditto on Tim McVeigh. But suddenly with 9-11 and post-9-11 terrorism, we take their depravity as a sign of their morality. Why we should take our moral cues from those who make no attempt to obey even the most basic dictates of concience is beyond me.
5.2.2008 11:00am
ERH:
Kazinski, I think the better analogy would be the police arrest someone for loitering, they are sent to prison, and afterwards commit a burglary.
5.2.2008 11:01am
RSF677:
ERH,

So going to prison for loitering is to being at Guantanamo as burglarizing someone is to suicide bombing? I don't think that quite works.
5.2.2008 11:06am
ERH:
My point is that just as someone can become a more hardened criminal in jail, Guantanamo can radicalize someone who feels they are unjustly imprisoned.
5.2.2008 11:08am
hawkins:

But as any fair minded person will point out, whatever you think of Isreal and America, they are not the worst actors in the region. Look at Saddam, back when he was alive. Look at Iran. Look at Saudi. The list goes on and on


Certainly there are more brutal and corrupt governments in the Middle East. But in the eyes of extremists, the "worst" thing is for infidels to invade the holy land. A category that only the US and Israel will qualify for.
5.2.2008 11:19am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ERH. You can think you're unjustly imprisoned, if you wish. Doesn't mean you were unjustly imprisoned.

But I think we created the suicide bomber. Since, after all, we all know there are no terrorists at Gitmo. Only innocent shepherds and engineering students.
5.2.2008 11:29am
Anderson (mail):
Several people who've *worked* at Gitmo have attested to their feeling that "if they weren't terrorists before, they are now."

I think I'll credit their impressions over those of blog commenters, for the time being.
5.2.2008 11:34am
BGates:
But in the eyes of extremists, the "worst" thing is for infidels to invade the holy land. A category that only the US and Israel will qualify for.
What about the canard about how much Sunnis and Shia hate each other? They consider us infidels, but they consider each other apostates. Surely by now Iranian influence in Iraq should have prompted some bright young Saudi fellow to undertake the murder of as many Persians as humanly possible.
5.2.2008 11:40am
Duncan Frissell (mail):
I hate to mention this but an incitement to riot is not a justification for the crime of riot.
5.2.2008 11:56am
FredR (mail):

In other words, we either had a terrorist and let him go, or we created one.


Either way, it wouldn't have been a problem if we hadn't let him go, would it?
5.2.2008 11:59am
Kazinski:
According to Wikipedia here is the summary of evidence used in his status hearing at Gitmo. To be sure he denies it all, but:

The following primary factors favor continued detention:

A. Al Ajmi is a Taliban fighter:
Al Ajmi went AWOL from the Kuwaiti military in order to travel to Afghanistan participate in the Jihad.
Al Ajmi was issued an AK-47, ammunition and hand grenades by the Taliban.
B. Al Ajmi participated in military operations against the coalition.
Al Ajmi admitted he was in Afghanistan fighting with the Taliban in the Bagram area.
Al Ajmi was placed in a defensive position by the Taliban in order to block the Northern Alliance.
Al Ajmi admitted spending eight months on the front line at the Aiubi Center, Afghanistan.
Al Ajmi admitted engaging in two or three fire fights with the Northern Alliance.
Al Ajmi retreated to the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan and was later captured as he attempted to escape to Pakistan.
C. Al Ajmi is committed to jihad.
Al Ajmi went AWOL because he wanted to participate in the jihad in Afghanistan but could not get leave from the military.
In Aug 2004, Al Ajmi wanted to make sure that when the case goes before the Tribunal, they know that he now is a Jihadist, an enemy combatant, and that he will kill as many Americans as he possibly can.
D. Upon arrival at GTMO, Al Ajmi has been constantly in trouble. Al Ajmi's overall behavior has been aggressive and non-compliant, and he has resided in GTMO's disciplinary blocks throughout his detention.
E. Based upon a review of recommendations from U.S. agencies and classified and unclassified documents, Al Ajmi is regarded as a continued threat to the United States and its Allies.



The following primary factors favor release or transfer:

No information available.





I guess the loitering analogy is the closest fit.
5.2.2008 12:40pm
WHOI Jacket:
If we "radicalized" him at Gitmo, wouldn't he have tried to attack the US Military. From the accounts I've read, he only killed and apparently targeted innocent civilians.
5.2.2008 12:46pm
Crackmonkeyjr (www):
Several posters above seem to confuse justification with cause. The US's actions in the middle east probably do not justify terrorism under most ethical systems. The US is probably not even be the worst actor in the region. Nonetheless, treating people in the region the way we do seems to cause them to become terrorists. If you want to prevent terrorism, you don't look at whether terrorism is justified by your actions, you look at whether it is caused by your actions. It's the same as how you sometimes apologize to your significant other, not because they are justified in being mad at you, but because if you don't, you are going to have to deal with them being mad at you anyways.
5.2.2008 1:02pm
Linus (mail):

Several people who've *worked* at Gitmo have attested to their feeling that "if they weren't terrorists before, they are now."

I think I'll credit their impressions over those of blog commenters, for the time being.


Ah, yes, citing to anonymous sources so that you can upturn your nose at other anonymous sources. Best comment of the day.
5.2.2008 1:03pm
ejo:
I will credit the fact that he blew someone up with a bomb as the proof I need over any anonymous sources. The "wrong left turn in Istanbul while tracking my lost goats somehow ended up with an AK47 in Afghanistan" explanation the left seems to prefer loses some luster when the poor goatherd blows people up after release.
5.2.2008 1:25pm
ERH:
Kazinski,
I'll simply put it to you. Do you accept or reject the idea that a person may become more radicalized by spending time in Guantanamo?
5.2.2008 1:48pm
EKGlen (mail):
Of the hundreds of prisoners who have passed through Gitmo, its really not surprising that some will actually turn out to be terrorists.

But given that less than 10% (IIRC) of the prisoners at Gitmo were initially detained by US forces (as opposed to Pakistani, etc.) I would be very surprised if those arrests were properly made.
5.2.2008 1:52pm
ithaqua (mail):
"Several people who've *worked* at Gitmo have attested to their feeling that "if they weren't terrorists before, they are now." "

I've said it over and over again, and I'll say it again: the only way any prisoner should leave Gitmo is in a body bag. This is war; if it's legitimate to shoot these people on the battlefield, it's legitimate to put them in front of a firing squad. 'Fair trials' for terrorists cost American lives.
5.2.2008 1:58pm
statfan (mail):
I can tell you right now that if I were put in some hypothetical Belgian equivalent of Guantanamo unjustly, I would do or say anything that would get me out, and then spend the rest of my life trying to kill as many Belgian people as possible. Sure, it would be more rational for me to try to kill the leaders responsible for the policy, and if I thought I could get close to them, I would -- but I would have much better odds at killing random civilians. Still, in liberal democracies, people are responsible for the leadership of their country, and when the leadership pursues policies which would lead me to be locked up, all citizens bear responsibility. Of course, maybe then Belgians' families would then pursue anti-American policies, leading to more Americans being killed or tortured, leading to more suicide bombings. Still, that wouldn't exactly be at the top of my mind. Revenge would be.

But if not this way, then how do you think family feuds get started and continue for so long?
5.2.2008 2:00pm
EKGlen (mail):

This is war; if it's legitimate to shoot these people on the battlefield, it's legitimate to put them in front of a firing squad. 'Fair trials' for terrorists cost American lives.

You do understand, don't you, that the vast majority of the people who have passed through Gitmo were there because they were handed to us in handcuffs by the Pakistanis and others?

Last time I checked, when an ally hands you a prisoner, it isn't fair to shoot them at that point.
5.2.2008 2:09pm
hawkins:

You do understand, don't you, that the vast majority of the people who have passed through Gitmo were there because they were handed to us in handcuffs by the Pakistanis and others?


Furthermore, we paid bounties for many of those handed over. There are accusations that Pakistanis apprehended suspects with little reason other than to earn the bounty.
5.2.2008 2:34pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):
The reason for indefinite detention of prisoners taken in areas of active hostilities is to keep them out of the hostilities. Everyone but Amnesty International and some nutcases remembers this.

What it proves is that this is a sensible policy. It doesn't say anything about how aggressive the guy might have been before being detained, but it does say that returning him to the theater of the hostilities killed people.
5.2.2008 2:46pm
ERH:
I've said it over and over again, and I'll say it again: the only way any prisoner should leave Gitmo is in a body bag. This is war; if it's legitimate to shoot these people on the battlefield, it's legitimate to put them in front of a firing squad. 'Fair trials' for terrorists cost American lives.


And you would have no problem with CIA field agents or covert ops teams meeting a similar fate?
5.2.2008 2:52pm
EKGlen (mail):

The reason for indefinite detention of prisoners taken in areas of active hostilities is to keep them out of the hostilities.

You do understand, don't you, that the vast majority of the people who have passed through Gitmo were there because they were handed to us in handcuffs by the Pakistanis and others?

Is there an echo in here?
5.2.2008 2:53pm
ejo:
ah, now it begins-they are only there because we paid bounties or they were pulled in by rival tribesmen. yet, we only have a few hundred detainees there, not the tens or hundreds of thousands we should have under the bounty nonsense. would going there radicalize him-I'll go out on a limb and say no, he was a black hearted evil human being before, during and definitely after his stay. If you can find that example of the innocent waif, pure as a flower, sent to Gitmo who came out a raving jihadist lunatic, it might be worth crediting. You don't have any such examples.
5.2.2008 2:58pm
ejo:
ERH-they would and do meet such a fate. what universe are living in where they don't? I guess if you think the detainees at Gitmo are innocent goatherds, rationality is out the window. would we have a problem with it-I hope so, just as I hope we would be upset if such operatives were placed in front of a firing squad in WWII.
5.2.2008 3:01pm
EKGlen (mail):
ejo - do you agree with ithaqua that we should have just shot these people when they were first turned over to us?
5.2.2008 3:04pm
c.gray (mail):

And you would have no problem with CIA field agents or covert ops teams meeting a similar fate?


This is probably not a fruitful line of argument.

The last set of enemies to accord US POWs with anything remotely approaching their Geneva Convention rights were the Nazis. Our current enemies almost invariably saw off the heads of prisoners and post video tapes of these torture- executions on the internet.
5.2.2008 3:10pm
ejo:
nope, I think detaining them works, although I don't think summary trials and a firing squad work any great injustice. releasing them certainly didn't in this case-you can direct your apologies to the families of those this "innocent goatherd unjustly detained" murdered.
5.2.2008 3:18pm
EKGlen (mail):
ejo - our government has released hundreds of people from Gitmo. Would you consider these releases and act of treason?
5.2.2008 3:25pm
ejo:
hopefully, they did a little better job in vetting the releasees than they did in this case. I would suspect incompetence and a desire to please the press more than treason. of course, none of my family members have been killed by the innocents released-they might feel differently.
5.2.2008 3:27pm
AntonK (mail):
The suicide bombing killed at least seven Iraqis. Nor is this the only reported case of detainees rejoining the terrorist fray after being released

For me, the real scandal associated with Gitmo is not our treatment of the detainees (we meet the special dietary rules of Islam, go to great lengths in handling the Koran, etc.) or the fact that we don't provide detainees the right to a federal trial. Rather, it's that we have put terrorists like Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi back in a position to wage war against us and to kill innocent people like the seven in Mosul.
5.2.2008 3:28pm
ERH:
Call me crazy, I thought we were somehow morally superior to our foes.
5.2.2008 3:28pm
PC:
Call me crazy, I thought we were somehow morally superior to our foes.


That's pre-911 thinking.
5.2.2008 3:31pm
rarango (mail):
Professor Adler is prescient:
What does this prove? Nothing really, but I'm sure partisans in the debate over Guantanamo and the treatment and detention of alleged enemy combatants will see this as evidence that confirms their respective points of view.


Surprisingly enough, this thread confirms Professor Adler's hypothesis.
5.2.2008 3:38pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Even assuming he were innocent, radicalization is not the same thing as turning him into a suicide bomber. You don't see revolutionary fighters from anywhere except Moslem populations becoming suicide bombers.

Nick
5.2.2008 3:42pm
wfjag:

And you would have no problem with CIA field agents or covert ops teams meeting a similar fate?


ERH, are you really that naive?

Check the wikipedia entries on William Buckley, the CIA Station Chief in Beiruit, Lebanon, who was kidnapped in 1984 by Hezbollah, and Aziz al-Abub, the chief interrogator who was positively identified as being involved. After over 400 days, Buckley died. The Widipedia entry on al-Abub includes:


Aziz al-Abub used drugs and physical torture on hostage William Buckley over a period of 444 days during his captivity in Beirut.


The torture also included severe, repeated beatings. See Martin, David C. and Walcott, John, "Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America's War Against Terrorism," at 00. 154-55 &233 (Harper &Row 1988). There are also unconfirmed reports that during the time he was held that Buckley was first taken to Damascus, Syria, for interrogation by Syrian security forces, and then to Teheran, Iran, for interrogation by Iranian government or Revolutionary Guards personnel. Since Buckley's remains were not recovered until years later, and by then was only a skeleton, his actual cause of death and place of death are unknown.

Daniel Pearl was summarily executed, by beheading, because his kidnappers believed that he had to be a CIA agent. They could not understand why an American journalist, who was Jewish, would otherwise want to contact Islamic terrorists.

Neither of these examples, or other similar ones, has anything to do with Gitmo. Given the extended torture and execution methods that have been used, summary execution by firing squad would be a considerable step up in terms of humane treatment shown by Jihadists.

And, as far as detention in Gitmo somehow radicalized Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi, remember that after he was released in Kuiwait, he went to Iraq and killed himself killing and wounding Iraqis (mainly civilians). The assertion is absurd, unless you believe that "I'm a Muslim angry at the infidel US and it's detaining me, so I'll go to a neighboring Muslim country and kill innocent Muslims as my revenge against the US." That doesn't even pass the smell test.
5.2.2008 3:47pm
Scrivener:
Thank to Kazinski for pointing out that there is no evidence that, before getting to Guantanamo, Al Ajmi done anything hostile towards the U.S. or had any hostile intents towards the U.S.

Al Ajmi deserted Kuwaiti army to fight with the Taliban against the Northern Alliance; but none of these three things has anything to do with the US.

Al Ajmi is an excellent example of Guantanamo being an enemy factory.
5.2.2008 3:49pm
ERH:
wfjag: my assertion isn't that it doesn't happen but rather that such behavior is ok.
5.2.2008 3:52pm
EKGlen (mail):
Scrivener - what are you doing trying to inject reality into this discussion?
5.2.2008 3:55pm
Philistine (mail):

You don't see revolutionary fighters from anywhere except Moslem populations becoming suicide bombers.


You've never heard of the Tamil Tigers?
5.2.2008 3:56pm
Virginian:

[I]f you don't think our prisons are creating criminals I would advise you to send some time there.


Aren't they already criminals? Isn't that why they're in prison?

Or are you saying that minor criminals become major criminals in prison. By that logic, we should only imprison serial killers since they are the only type of criminal that theoretically can't get any worse by being in prison.
5.2.2008 4:17pm
ejo:
why wouldn't it be a big deal? if it had happened only this time, it might be evidence of nothing. we have had many such examples of those "cleared" returning to battle and killing. It points out both the imperfection of our vetting process and the ignorance of returning detainees to war.
5.2.2008 4:20pm
ejo:
Injecting reality into the discussion-kind of like this innocent injected bomb material into the lives of his victims? He went from Kuwait to kill innocents as a suicide bomber in Iraq. He was a bad guy before, during and after detention. while detained he could kill no one.
5.2.2008 4:26pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Naively, you'd think suicide bombers would be a wasting asset.

And that's true for every human institution but one.
5.2.2008 4:31pm
EKGlen (mail):

Injecting reality into the discussion-kind of like this innocent injected bomb material into the lives of his victims?

Sort of like that, but different.
5.2.2008 4:37pm
Lior:
@ithaqua:
I've said it over and over again, and I'll say it again: the only way any prisoner should leave Gitmo is in a body bag. This is war; if it's legitimate to shoot these people on the battlefield, it's legitimate to put them in front of a firing squad. 'Fair trials' for terrorists cost American lives.

To be clear: you're perfectly ok with US POW's being summarily executed upon capture? After all, it is legitimate for the enemy to shoot at US servicement on the battlefield.
5.2.2008 4:41pm
Pol Mordreth (mail):
Lior, are you being intentionally obtuse? The Geneva convention specifically calls out that spies and saboteurs are not under the protection of the GC. These are defined as anyone not in uniform on the battlefield and are taking part in the conflict. US POW's, if they are captured in uniform, are accorded GC protection. If they aren't, they have no GC protections. This fact was pounded into my head in basic. If behind enemy lines, and you take your uniform off, you can be tortured and executed, and there is nothing the US can do. Covert ops units are well aware of this, and volunteer anyway.

Respectfully,
Pol
5.2.2008 5:22pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Pol, read Ithaqua's statement more carefully. He said that if it's OK to kill someone on the battlefield. That rules out spies and saboteurs behind enemy lines, and rules in lawful combatants including self-organized inhabitants of invaded territory. He most certainly did suggest that any sort of captive could be shot.

I wonder how many defenders of Gitmo on this thread would be radicalized if tortured for years in an Egyptian prison and then released? Do you think any would be so angry as to become anti-Egyptian terrorists? (Well, considering the way the Bush/Cheney remnant prefer their violence vicariously, probably not, but the point stands.)
5.2.2008 5:39pm
Philistine (mail):

The Geneva convention specifically calls out that spies and saboteurs are not under the protection of the GC.


You are mistaken. There is more than one Geneva Convention.
5.2.2008 5:40pm
ejo:
Were German soldiers that we captured "radicalized" by detention or were they on the other side and, using common sense, we didn't think it would be a good idea to return them to the battlefield? why is it so difficult to conceive of the simple fact that these folks are psychopaths? you see jihadists and islamic radicals killing people in all countries where they crop up-are they all innocents who have been released from Gitmo. what about the ones doing the killing before Gitmo existed-were they anticipating it?
5.2.2008 5:53pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Nobody is being tortured at GITMO Lazarus. They get special food and more religious observance rights than they probably used while free enemies of the USA.

The guy who killed 7 people and certainly the 7 people would have been far better off if he had kept getting his 3 squares a day and a fresh pair of panties for his head at GITMO.

Says the "Dog"
5.2.2008 5:53pm
DG:
There are a limited number of choices about that to do with captured jihadis. We can execute them summarily, which the GC allows. We can indefinitely imprison them. We can imprison them for the duration of hostilities (whatever that means), we can try them in a criminal trial. The problem with the latter approach, which all good left-wingers love so much, is that these are not necessarily criminal situations with police and evidence. So, what else do we do? Let them go?

I don't have a good answer for this, but I don't think any of the critics have a good one either. This is not CSI and our soldiers are not detectives. If we start just letting these folks go, we'll see a lot more cases of soldiers blowing the enemies heads off when they try to surrender. That will cost us a lot of intel. It may cost of the sanity of some good soldiers who have trouble living with the choice. I have less sympathy for the enemy, I suppose - they want to die, after all.
5.2.2008 5:58pm
ejo:
don't mention the 7 people killed because of this wrong decision in a time of war-due process was served and the right result, ie. release of jihadist psychopath, was achieved. with the radicalization theory, we get the added bonus of being able to blame the United States rather than the twisted, diseased brain of the religious psychopath that blew himself up.
5.2.2008 6:02pm
Philistine (mail):

We can execute them summarily, which the GC allows.


Where, exactly, does the GC allow summary executions?

For starters--Common Article 3 explicitly says "the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples" are prohibited.

Do people even try to read the Geneva Convetions before making broad sweeping pronouncements about them?
5.2.2008 6:08pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
One version is

Nobody is being tortured at GITMO Lazarus.

Another is

Davis said one Pentagon official called for charges to be brought against the detainees ahead of the November 2006 midterm elections. He claimed other officials reversed his policy against using evidence obtained through torture and told him that acquittals would be unacceptable. Davis said he resigned hours after he was put in a chain of command beneath Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes, one of several officials who had encouraged the use of evidence even if it was gathered through waterboarding — an interrogation method that simulates drowning. Under rules for the tribunals, known as commissions, it is up to the judge to decide what evidence is admissible.
If we aren't torturing, then we don't need a rule to accept testimony obtained through torture, do we?

Who would I believe here? The military officer who worked at Gitmo, or Mr Junkyard? Bad German; bad, bad German.
5.2.2008 6:40pm
Crackmonkeyjr (www):
Lazarus:
You're clearly mistaken here, waterboarding isn't torture, its just boys being boys or something. The US doesn't torture people, so if the US is doing something, it is by definition, not torture. This remains true even if it used to be considered torture, even by the US, before the US started doing it.
5.2.2008 6:52pm
Russ (mail):
All this tells me is that we should stop taking prisoners on the battlefield.

And for those saying that this would okay the enemy doing it to us, here's a news flash - they already do that. We haven't had an enemy even remotely act in accordance with the Geneva Convention in over 60 years.

This war is at stalemate because while we have the means to destroy the enemy, we lack the will. The enemy has the will, but lacks the means, and this war will remain at stalemate until one side of that equation comes out of balance. I fear it will mean massive loss of American life, possibly to one of these "radicalized innocents" before we get the will.
5.2.2008 8:01pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
I like that the US is at fault regardless of whether we let a terrorist go free or created one. That's spiffy.

Also, we're not at "war" with anyone. You can't have a war on an idea. We're no more at war with terrorism than we are with poverty or AIDS or crime or illegal immigration. In fact our 'war on drugs' directly assists the enemy in our 'war on terrorism'. If you want to liken it to a war, metaphorically, that's fine. Just don't act like we're actually "in a time of war" as some are saying. We're not. While Iraq was a war, for about a week or so, once Baghdad fell and Saddam was out, the war was over. Just because we still have troops there and just because they're still in danger doesn't mean we're still at war in Iraq.

If we are at "war" with terrorism, it is a never-ending war. Think about it. If we win, and have a ticker-tape parade to celebrate our victory in the war on terrorism, will there be anti-terrorism precautions taken at that massive parade? Of course. Thus, the paradox of perpetual war. It's actually not a paradox at all, because there is no war. It's a slogan, nothing more.
5.2.2008 8:14pm
NickM (mail) (www):

You don't see revolutionary fighters from anywhere except Moslem populations becoming suicide bombers.



You've never heard of the Tamil Tigers?


While LTTE's members aren't all Hindi, this is at most the exception that proves the rule. BTW, their suicide bombings are often not terrorist - they try to get someone close enough to kill an enemy political or military leader (like Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi).

Nick
5.2.2008 8:42pm
TMac (mail):
"I wonder how many defenders of Gitmo on this thread would be radicalized if tortured for years in an Egyptian prison and then released? Do you think any would be so angry as to become anti-Egyptian terrorists?"

That's why John McCain wants to be President. It is obvious that when he gets his finger on the nuclear button, he is going to vaporize North Vietnam.
5.2.2008 9:03pm
Philistine (mail):

While LTTE's members aren't all Hindi, this is at most the exception that proves the rule.


Since they did it in quantity first, and (probably until very recently) most--I think it's more like the exception which proves the rule false....
5.2.2008 9:31pm
Gaius Marius:
This war is at stalemate because while we have the means to destroy the enemy, we lack the will. The enemy has the will, but lacks the means, and this war will remain at stalemate until one side of that equation comes out of balance. I fear it will mean massive loss of American life, possibly to one of these "radicalized innocents" before we get the will.

If only we had Alexander the Great or Gaius Julius Caesar as POTUS.
5.2.2008 10:23pm
elim:
nuking a city full of civilians is a war crime, right? we shouldn't have done it, even if the alternative was the deaths of millions more. we shouldn't have bombed cities in WWII, right? we'd have been better off losing, right? we were fighting an ideology of national socialism-what possible good was it to kill people to fight that idea. these are all examples that would pass muster with the logic shown here.
5.3.2008 12:00am
BruceM (mail) (www):
elim: we could have dropped the bomb in (well, above) the ocean so japan could have seen it, with the message that "there is more where that came from, and next time it will be on one of your cities" and I think it would have had the same effect, without killing civilians.

That being said, if the Japanese were fighting due to religion and a desire to kill infidels, rather than mere national identity and desires for expansion (japan has little natural resources), I'd have absolutely no qualms about having nuked the crap out of them. Nuking religious fundamentalists is perfectly acceptable. It's a gift to mankind, not a warcrime. If we had any sense we'd nuke the entire middle east (yes, Israel too), destroying every holy brick and holy rock and holy wall and holy temple and holy mound - and holy person - while making it so radioactive nobody could go there for a thousand years without making themselves an instant martyr.

And then we'd have peace.
5.3.2008 1:39am
Michael B. (mail):
This discussion seems to lack one essential point. The United Nations embodies the aspiration for a "greater degree of international ordering" (John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 43), inspired and governed by the principle of subsidiarity, and therefore capable of responding to the demands of the human family through binding international rules and through structures capable of harmonizing the day-to-day unfolding of the lives of peoples. This is all the more necessary at a time when we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few, whereas the world's problems call for interventions in the form of collective action by the international community., his Holiness Benedct XVI said. The U.S., in keeping with this perspective, allowed or delgated to Kuwait and other Arab states consideration of the evidence and allegations against al-Ajmi.
5.3.2008 11:12am
AntonK (mail):
Nice to see Adler memorialized at Best of the Web!
5.5.2008 9:51pm