Posted by Brad @ 2:48 pm on August 30th 2009

Rendition I Can Get Behind

Portugal takes two of our Gitmo detainees. And promptly does what we apparently can’t—lets them go.

The two [Syrian nationals] “arrived August 28 in Portugal… and they were released,” the Portuguese interior ministry said in a statement on its website. They are “not subject to any charge, they are free people and are living in homes provided by state,” officials said.

Still worth noting, over and over again, when Brownback is talking about Leavenworth not being able to hold them or Dick Cheney is blabbering about “the worst of the worst”, that many if not most of the detainees remaining in U.S. custody, most of whom have been in U.S. custody for five years or more, we can’t even trump up secret charges in military-run kangaroo courts, the evidence of their “terrorist” status is so non-existent. Many if not most of these men, by even the most ardent and most aligned-against them judicial reviews imaginable, would still simply earn the right to be let go (which is precisely why we deny them such reviews).

Like the torture debate, we keep having the debate on the terms of “the worst of the worst”. Like we have to shape detainee policy around the most dangerous and most useful terrorist detainee we have, even if that experience isn’t replicated in 99% of the rest of the cases. Or we have to shape our interrogation policy around the ticking time bomb scenario, despite the fact that such a scenario is a chickenhawk urban legend.

In any case, what does it say about the United States of America that we have to extradite our detainees to foreign countries so they can do the dirty work for us…and the dirty work is releasing them? How fucked up has our political culture become when releasing an innocent man is something the United States cannot be seen engaging in?

Once you understand that, all of the smoke and mirrors debates about detainees becomes rather clear. We have simply decided to create a hazy political and legal structure, overturning centuries of precedent and principle, for the sake of instantiating a superstructure designed so the President or military never has to admit they were wrong, about anything. That’s the bottom line. That is the interest being protected.

1 Comment »

  1. Our motivations here are downright shameful.

    Comment by Mike — 8/30/2009 @ 3:59 pm

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