Here’s an interesting bit of annoying news about he war on terror. We’ve been told for years now by the Bush Administration and Conservative talkers that we can’t close Guantánamo Bay because the worst of the worst are being held there. Strangely, they could never explain why they were quietly releasing so many of the “worst of the worst” over the years without even an attempt at a trial.
But we have been told, and very loudly of late with Obama’s act of starting Guantánamo’s shutdown, that these worst of the worst can’t be released because so many of the released inmates have been picked up again “on the battlefield” where they had resumed their terrorist ways against us. Oddly, the spokesmen for the Bush administration were very hush-hush on the details about who these people being picked up again were. But they would tell us how many had been picked up.
There was a tiny problem with that bit of information though. The numbers kept changing. No, they didn’t keep changing by going up, they changed by going up and down repeatedly. Depending on the speaker they could be in the low teens or as high as 68. Finally they stabilized about a year ago to 61 or 66 depending on the speaker. Still, names were as rare as a Loch Ness Monster sighting.
Seems there was a reason why.
The Seton Hall University School of Law has been doing some research and found out that the high numbers and the phrase “returned to the battlefield” were, to be nice about it, the products of severe exaggeration. Their interest was piqued by the fact that the numbers changed so much from speaker to speaker in the early days of this tactics use. What they found was a campaign to deliberately misrepresent the truth by the Bush Administration.
Anyone paying attention over the last few years already saw the Bush Administration invent improved numbers of US Soldier’s battle related injuries in Iraq by quietly removing some battlefield injuries from the official list and then trumpeting the decreased number to the press. Here they did the reverse. Here they increased the scope of the definition of “battlefield” to inflate numbers.
The Seton Hall University School of Law study found some of the names of the individuals cited as the ones who returned to the battlefield and the terms defined as their returning to the battlefield and the results were either laughable or infuriating depending on your mood. The Bush Administration had expanded the scope of “returning to the battlefield” to include being interviewed by a newspaper about their time in Guantánamo Bay or being included in a documentary about Guantánamo Bay.
That’s it. If you were interviewed by the press about your release, if your image appeared in a documentary or news broadcast or if you were asked to write an editorial about what happened to you in Guantánamo Bay you were returning to the battlefield, threatening the lives of or troops, threatening American lives and continuing the war on terror against us.
So, under the Bush Administration’s watch, we released hundreds of the “worst of the worst” without trial or charges against them and then that same Administration went on to tell us that many of these men had returned to the battlefield and once again become a threat to or very lives… by being asked about their Guantánamo Bay experience by their local press.
They may have left office, but the stains that they left behind will continue to grow and and fester for years to come.