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Pentagon: More Ex-Gitmo Inmates Returning to Terrorism

News broke yesterday that President-elect Obama plans on signing an order to close Guantanamo Bay perhaps as early as his first day on the job. Well today, the Pentagon cast a potential shadow on the plan, announcing that 61 ex-Gitmo prisoners have "returned to the fight." The Pentagon's spokesperson said: "The overall known terrorist re-engagement rate has increased to 11 percent" from 7 percent.

The Pentagon's assessment previews the challenges Obama will face while trying to close the controversial prison. While some detainees present a clear danger, the US admits that others, such as 17 dissidents kept at Gitmo because they could face death back in China, should be released.

Last night on the Rachel Maddow Show an Air Force major who defends detainees in Gitmo's US military tribunals said: "Americans would expect that the military commission would focus on high-level terrorists, people responsible for 9/11 and other serious terrorist attacks against the United States. In fact the early focus of the commissions has been on child soldiers, drivers, foot soldiers."

Do you think the Pentagon's 11 percent terrorist recidivism rate for those released from Guantanamo is enough to justify the prison, or should the US close it ASAP? And, to see the clip from last night's Rachel Maddow Show,

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fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
If the guys at Gunatanamo are common criminals then they should be being prosecuted by their own countries' prison systems, not our military. The classification of prisoners at the base is probably the most contentious issue though... And that largely determines how they are treated, the kind of legal proceedings they are entitled to, etc. Are they enemy combatants on the war on terror, therefore POW's? Are they war criminals? International terrorists? Guerrila fighters? Fighters in a civil war? Regardless, if they are in our custody, we need to take it upon ourselves to give every one of them the same rights we expect our POW's, captured journalists, etc. to have, even if we don't think they'll reciprocate our actions. If we don't, we're no better than them. Personally, I think the prisoners are POW's and should be treated as such. Whether or not we actually picked them up, they are being held by us and are from an area of the world we have declared war on. Prisoner Of War.
stephley stephley 8 years
That's certainly been true in American leadership in the past eight years.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
The thing about common sense is it isn't common.
stephley stephley 8 years
They weren't all captured by the military, they weren't all taken in some kind of fighting. Some were taken from their homes and turned over to U.S. forces - we don't know if they ever did anything wrong or not. Common sense says your guys should have thought about what to do with them BEFORE they got busy building and filling prisons around the world.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Well, there is the issue that they were captured by the military, and what do you do with them? The countries where they were captured won't let you return them (for those that aren't guilty, but are still bad people), and if you try them in criminal court, and then place them in the US system, they get killed by the general population.
stephley stephley 8 years
Can you prove they're common criminals? They haven't been convicted of any crimes because they haven't had trials. You may think they're criminals - but we've had to let a number of detainees go because it turned out they weren't what the U.S. claimed they were. And while they're not being treated like POWs, they are being held by the military and handled through military commissions.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
"Dave, I understand your point you make when you say "It's saying if you aren't going to play by the rules, don't expect those rules to protect you if you are caught." But, if we don't uphold those rules and choose to throw them out the window as we see fit, how does that make us any better than them?" But those rules were designed for members of the military. They don't apply to common criminals. That's what I think has been the major hold up in the processing of this group of people is that there are factions that want to treat them like POW's, and they aren't. They are criminals, and should be treated as such.
stephley stephley 8 years
Personal opinion doesn't matter in the face of the years of history and legal precedent concerning what is torture. There are no happy situations in Guantanamo - it is a prison camp at which illegal policies are being carried out in defiance of international law and three Supreme Court rulings. To say I'm only looking at one side of the story for pointing that out is like me saying you're only looking at one side of 9/11.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
That sounds fair enough Steph. The war on terrorism is a dirt war and being fought dirty on both sides. I don't see condemning us for our actions as any better than condemning the terrorists for theirs. The torturing that had been permitted at guantanamo and other military prisons is not a good thing. But, I really don't think I would do anything different in the situation. We are all human. We have these people who won't tell you anything about the next planned terrorist attack, and our officials are simply trying to protect US casualties. I could understand the frustration. But you are also choosing to look at only 1 side of the story Steph as well. I have seen many positive accounts of situations from Guantanamo as well. And for the record, I do not think isolation is torture. personal opinion though.
stephley stephley 8 years
Dave, we didn't play by the rules when we or someone working on our behalf seized any number of the people at Guantanamo or other secret prisons; we aren't even playing by the rules the Supreme Court restated three times now in regard to Guantanamo. A number of Bush administration officials, military officials and even military personnel who worked those prisons are going to have to look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives, because even if Obama doesn't prosecute them, there are people in other countries who are willing to - either formally, or informally -and that same 'don't expect those rules to protect you if you are caught' axiom is going to apply to them.
amofoz amofoz 8 years
Amen fcseamstress!
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Exactly, Martini.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
Dave, I understand your point you make when you say "It's saying if you aren't going to play by the rules, don't expect those rules to protect you if you are caught." But, if we don't uphold those rules and choose to throw them out the window as we see fit, how does that make us any better than them? :?
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
"That statement just seems backwards. We were one of the countries that helped draft the Geneva convention... Regardless of whether these 'enemy combatants' are fighting according to the convention (which they had no say in creating), shouldn't we be the ones to uphold the processes WE helped set forth? This is like a little kid playing a game who says, "You're not playing by the rules, so I don't have to either." Actually, it isn't. It's saying if you aren't going to play by the rules, don't expect those rules to protect you if you are caught. I'm not condoning torturing anyone, but the people we are fighting are not a military force, and should not be afforded the same benefits given by the Geneva Convention.
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
This article is why we need to play by our own rules... http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/14/white_phosphorous_and_dense_inert_metal If we don't, who will?
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
"If there are people who have wrongly been kept in Gitmo for 6 years...even if they didn't start out supporting terrorism, they will now. Instead efficently sorting out prisoners who were a danger, Gitmo created even more dangerous people." Exactly right, Jill!
fcseamstress fcseamstress 8 years
"The problem here is these people who are currentlt taking residence in Guantanamo aren't fighting according to the Geneva convention, so they are not and should not be afforded the protection of the Geneva convention." That statement just seems backwards. We were one of the countries that helped draft the Geneva convention... Regardless of whether these 'enemy combatants' are fighting according to the convention (which they had no say in creating), shouldn't we be the ones to uphold the processes WE helped set forth? This is like a little kid playing a game who says, "You're not playing by the rules, so I don't have to either." We should close Gitmo down, many here are right in saying it is too stained at this point to continue operation. Review each case carefully and LEGALLY, determine who is actually dangerous and move them to a military prison in the US. The reason this base is in Cuba is so we can skip due process. The people that shouldn't be there should either be returned to their country or afforded asylum in the US. We've held some of them long enough they may have nothing to go back to, and that is all our fault; we need to take responsibility. Not to say we shouldn't keep track of them (to ensure they don't turn against us), but the innocent need to be freed.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
currently, Steph. And there is plenty of info to support that. I am not speaking of the past. And we have reason to believe that many of them were. Like they would tell us the truth... naive.
stephley stephley 8 years
The real problem is that we have reason to believe that many of the people held at Guantanamo (and in other secret prisons worldwide) weren't fighting anyone.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
The problem here is these people who are currentlt taking residence in Guantanamo aren't fighting according to the Geneva convention, so they are not and should not be afforded the protection of the Geneva convention.
stephley stephley 8 years
"I feel other than some instances, for the most part, the prisoners at Guantanamo are currently being treated according to Geneva conventions." You may feel that way, but you'll have a hard time finding facts to support that feeling.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Where will the terrorists live if they get kicked out?
Man2112 Man2112 8 years
Keep Guantanamo open.
Myst Myst 8 years
hmm.. I'm not 100 percent sure about Gitmo. There is one thing for sure though a lot of some of our agents are considered international criminals as some of the detainees were snatched from their countries without warrants so it's a touchy and tricky situation that Obama, Gates, Panetta will need to try to work out.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
That is an interesting idea, Hain. However, even John McCain asked for the closing of Gitmo. This isn't really a partisan issue. I think that in the international community, the site is too stained to be converted into something else. World wide it is a symbol of massive wrong doings, and in the interest of national security, I think we will be safer if it is closed. I think it recruits more "terrorists" than deters them.
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