Friday, June 13, 2008

Enemy Combatants and the Freedom to Kill Again

Even for those of us who pay attention to these kinds of thing, we miss important stuff. I was taken aback today as I listened to John McCain at another Town Hall meeting say that 30 former Guantanamo detainees had been released and had gone on to commit acts of terror.

The most recent being Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi. He was part of a suicide attack in Mosul on April 26 that targeted an Iraqi police patrol and left six people dead, including two police officers.

al-Ajmi was picked up in Afghanistan as he tried to enter Pakistan after the 2001 U.S. invasion. He claimed to have fought for the Taliban. And this is the interesting part. He was never charged with any crime and he was held at Guantanamo through 2005. Once at gitmo he claimed that his statements about fighting for the Taliban were made after he was threatened while in U.S. custody. He asserted that he was in Afghanistan to study the Quran. Poor guy. Just a misunderstood Quran wanna be scholar. Just the kind of guy certain leftwing lawyers want to defend.

Al-Ajmi was transferred to the custody of Kuwaiti authorities in November 2005 and was released after a trial there.

This reminded me of a study done in 2006 that the leftwing bloggers went nuts over. The study was done by Seton Hall Law Professor Mark Denbeaux and attorney Joshua Denbeaux, who also happened to be attorneys for two detainees at Guantanamo. Here in part is what the report said (via Talkleft):

1. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the detainees are not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the United States or its coalition allies.

2. Only 8% of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40% have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all and 18% are have no definitive affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban.


4. Only 5% of the detainees were captured by United States forces. 86% of the detainees were arrested by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to United States custody.

Let me summarize the left's feelings here. We were holding enemy combatants that really didn't deserve to be there. They hadn't been charged with a crime and claimed no affiliation with our enemies. How awful is the United States to hold these men!

Everything in that summary of the report at Talkleft describes Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi. The one who just committed suicide killing innocents in Mosul in April.

This is how Talkleft (and this is the most rational and thoughtful of the leftwing blogs) ends this piece:

The President continues to tell us that those held at Guantanamo are the "worst of the worst." This report tells a different story.
We got the small fry. And we put them in a black hole.

The report may have told a different story, but reality tells us the President did the right thing. Because it is the "small fry" that the Islamic fanatic leaders use to commit these acts of horror.

Today John McCain condemned the Supreme Court ruling yesterday that gave rights to non-citizens.. reminding us that these are enemy combatants, not citizens.

I think our own Senator from Texas, John Cornyn puts it well:

Upon initial review, the Supreme Court’s ruling is both troubling and disappointing. A slim, 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ignored the informed wartime policy choices of both elected branches of the federal government. In 2006, 65 Senators—Democrats and Republicans alike—approved a carefully crafted law that provided these detainees a fair process consistent with America’s critical national security needs.
But, today the Supreme Court ignored this law and the informed expertise of the President and Congress in matters of national security—and gave itself a blank check to assume control of wartime detainee policy. This is unacceptable and unprecedented.

The history of this debate and litigation concerning the rights of suspected terrorists is instructive. The Supreme Court previously said that unilateral executive decision-making was not appropriate when it came to determinations of who is and is not an alien enemy combatant—even in wartime. Pursuant to the Court’s directive, Congress debated and crafted a detention review process that included review in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals—a court many call “the second highest court in the land.” This law, crafted specifically to meet the Court’s previously stated requirements, was invalidated today. The Supreme Court has moved the goalposts once again.

But leftwing lawyers rejoice.

Let me add this to the fire:

In January of this year, 80 attorneys for terrorists being held at the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay made a mass-endorsement of Obama's presidential campaign. The Boston Globe reported that the terrorists' lawyers endorsed Obama because he was "the best choice to roll back the Bush-Cheney administration's detention policies in the war on terrorism."

So even the terrorists' lawyers admit a vote for Obama is a vote for letting terrorists go free.

That last line may be a bit harsh. But sometimes we are judged by the company we keep.