Monday, April 30, 2007

Iraq, Gitmo and terrorism

Two stories out today.

One, simply an updater on the ongoing human rights disaster known as Gitmo.

More than a fifth of the approximately 385 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been cleared for release but may have to wait months or years for their freedom because U.S. officials are finding it increasingly difficult to line up places to send them, according to Bush administration officials and defense lawyers.

Since February, the Pentagon has notified about 85 inmates or their attorneys that they are eligible to leave after being cleared by military review panels. But only a handful have gone home, including a Moroccan and an Afghan who were released Tuesday. Eighty-two remain at Guantanamo and face indefinite waits as U.S. officials struggle to figure out when and where to deport them, and under what conditions.


Jail innocents for five years, and then continue jailing them because nobody wants to take Gitmo detainees for various political reasons. And we won't grant them asylum to make up for the ongoing mistake that is robbing them of their lives. Wonderful.

The other bit of news was the annual State Department report on terrorism, which shows a 25 percent increase in attacks last year, with a 40 percent increase in deaths and 54 percent increase in injuries. That's right, more and deadlier attacks.

Some of the increase involves countries and events that have little or no bearing on us -- the various brutal conflicts in Africa, for instance. But the largest number of attacks and deaths by far occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So let's see. After four years and hundreds of billions of dollars, our war on terror is succeeding in increasing terror attacks. We respond by ignoring human rights and basic justice in our zeal to capture and imprison real and imagined terrorists.

Anyone think there's a relationship? At a minimum, it seems safe to say our current strategy isn't working if reducing terrorism was the goal.

Update: Here's the full report.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Nemo said...

Oh, there's definately a relationship between the two, as much as our government might not want to admit it. They almost go out of their way to avoid looking at the reasons for the attacks, kidnappings, and other incidents, because - I suspect - they definately wouldn't like where the final finger of blame points.

4/30/2007 5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newsflash to the "Blame America First Crowd:" incidents of terrorist attacks have been increasing steadily every since the 80's. If there is always a related cause then what caused the U.S. Embassy kidnappings in 1979? What caused the 1993 WTC attack? What caused the two U.S. Embassy attacks in 1998? What caused 9/11? ALL of which occurred way BEFORE we went into Iraq.

Instead of placing blame on this administration, why not place the blame where it belongs: on the terrorists and their intolerant extreme Islamic beliefs?

JP5

5/01/2007 2:54 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Steady increase? Really. Consider (all data from the State Department's terrorism reports):

1999: 392 attacks, 233 dead
2000: 423 attacks, 405 dead
2001: 355 attacks, 3,295 (with 9/11)
2002: 198 attacks, 725 dead
2003: 208 attacks, 625 dead
2004: 655 attacks, 1,907 dead
2005: 11,111 attacks, 14,600 dead
2006: 14,338 attacks, 20,498 dead

Some of the increase reflects a change in methodology for counting attacks, starting in 2005. Nonetheless, this is anything but a "steady increase". Terrorism bumped along at a fairly steady pace until we invaded Iraq -- and then it exploded.

5/01/2007 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But I thought there weren't any terrorists in Iraq? Now, you're admitting there is?

So, we're all in agreement then: WE ARE FIGHTING TERRORISTS IN IRAQ.

BTW, those figures are international---most having nothing to do with Iraq. Like the bloody school seizure in Russia and violence related to the disputed Indian territory of Kashmir and others. If FINALLY going on the offensive causes more terrorist attacks in your opinion....then so be it. The other choice was to continue the status quo of the past: waiting for it to come our way. And that brought up 9/11.

JP5

5/01/2007 4:13 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

Way to shift the spin.

There are terror tactics being used in Iraq, largely by the handful of AQ-in-Iraq jihadists in the country.

But they represent a tiny fraction of the insurgency -- 10 percent or so at most.

They weren't there before we invaded, and they won't be there for long after we leave, because the native Iraqis can't stand them. They're barely tolerated because of our presence -- and even then not so much, as evidenced by the recent events in Anbar province where native insurgent groups turned on AQ.

So unless you think being shot at by nine Iraqis for every bonafide AQ member is a worthwhile tradeoff, Iraq remains a strategic blunder of the highest order.

5/01/2007 5:32 PM  

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