Joseph Margulies has a hard-hitting article, U.S. can’t tell a combatant from a cook in the Chicago Tribune.
We’ve known that there were a lot of innocent people at Guantanamo, but this many?
The Pentagon’s data show that only 8 percent of the prisoners at the base are even alleged to have been Al Qaeda fighters–assuming the allegations against them are true.
Even slave laborers are classified as “enemy combatants”:
Officers told [Abdul] Aliza that having been kidnapped by the Taliban and forced to serve as a cook or a waiter was irrelevant to whether Aliza was an enemy combatant. Aliza found this impossible to comprehend.
“You mentioned that being forced and not being forced are the same,” Aliza told his interrogator. “How can a person that is forced or not forced to do something be equal? . . . [I]f I was taken by force by the Taliban, how can I be a member? If I’m not willing to do something, but forced by a soldier to do it, how can the two have the same meaning. . . . If you don’t agree with them they will beat and torture you and then throw you in prison.”
No one answered Aliza’s questions, and authorities decided he was an enemy combatant. As of late 2006, Aliza was still at the base. He may be there still; the Pentagon refuses to say.
So, correct me if I’m wrong, but under this logic, Jewish inmates in Nazi concentration camps could today be considered “enemy combatants”?
Kafka. It’s pure Kafka:
In summer 2005, the Bush administration announced that 70 percent of the base’s prisoners had been slated for release because they were not a threat. It never happened.
Though some were released, most of the prisoners continue to languish at Guantanamo and, the administration says, may be held there for the rest of their lives, with no evidence presented against them and no opportunity to plead their case in court.
Much of the problem has to do with the words and definitions the administration uses.
Being an enemy combatant does not mean a prisoner did anything wrong, the administration said in documents written by the Department of Defense in 2004.
My tax dollar at work. And yours, if you’re a US taxpayer too.