Guantanamo Detainees Commit Suicide
Three Gitmo detainees have committed suicide.
Three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have died in what appears to have been a suicide pact.
The inmates, two Saudis and a Yemeni, hanged themselves in their cells.
The camp commander said the deaths – the first at the camp – were planned in “an act of warfare”. Rights groups said they were driven by despair.
I don’t know what to tell you about these suicides. It could simply be good riddance to bad rubbish. It could be the sad deaths of three men driven to despair by a hopeless situation. But that’s the problem: I don’t know. I don’t know if these were truly bad and dangrous men, some low-level terrorist peons, or three poor guys who got picked up in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is, of course, the entire problem with the Gitmo camps in the first place: we have no way of knowing if the people there are dangerous or not, and we have no timetable whatsoever for their release. To be fair, a lot of the original detainees have been released. But the system for such releases seems, at least from press accounts, to be haphazard and arbitary–which hardly inspires confidence. After all, it doesn’t do much good to release the guilty along with the innocent.
Gitmo has been a black mark against the Bush Administraition since Day One, and there’s no question in my mind that its existence is a huge detriment to our fight against Islamist terrorism. It undermines America’s reputation as a respecter of human rights and dignity, which exposes our troops to danger because it makes our enemies less likely to surrender. It also exposes them to danger because it makes our allies less likely to work with us–especially since we’ve had citizens of those same allies held without trial there. The list goes on.
It’s high time we had hearings for the people held there and shut the whole place down once their dispositions are determined.
UPDATE (James Joyner): It’s worth noting, too, that Alex’ position coincides with that of a specific ruling in this case issued by the United States Supreme Court two years ago: RASUL et al. v. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, et al. (June 28, 2004).
See also: Supreme Court Backs Civil Liberties in Terror Cases (WaPo)