Patterico's Pontifications

1/6/2010

Guantanamo Recidivism is 20%

Filed under: Terrorism,War — DRJ @ 8:19 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Pentagon sources confirm that 20% of all detainees released from Guantanamo are returning to the fight:

“A new Pentagon analysis shows the number of former Guantanamo detainees that it says have returned to the fight has continued to rise to 20 percent, up from the 14 percent recidivism rate released last spring. The latest increase continues the upward trend from the two previous reports.”

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell suggested the increase is due in part to the difficulty in evaluating recent and current detainees vs earlier detainees:

“Some of the initial cases were — were — were more obvious than others. Some of them were deemed to be less of a threat than others. I think as we are getting down to the final couple of hundred, that these are clearly very difficult cases.”

Amazingly, the Obama Administration appears to claim that it is conducting the first detainee threat assessments:

“A White House official told ABC News, “We have been presented with no information that suggests that any of the detainees transferred by this administration have returned to the fight.

“The President created the Guantanamo Review Task Force to conduct the thorough work that had not been done before: to review the relevant information about each detainee, including the threat they pose, to determine whether they should be prosecuted, detained, or transferred. Decisions about detainees are made on an individual basis only after all of that information is considered by an interagency group that includes the Defense Department, law enforcement, and the intelligence community.”

I don’t believe this. There is no indication the Bush Administration released detainees without a threat assessment, and suggesting they did is contrary to Department of Defense statements like this one from March 2007 regarding the release process and annual detainee reviews:

“Also today, DoD announced the completion of the second round of annual administrative review boards at Guantanamo Bay. The boards, which ran from Jan. 30, 2006, to Dec. 6, 2006, resulted in 55 recommendations for transfer and 273 recommendations for continued detention.

Administrative review boards are review processes that provide detainees an opportunity to appear before and present information to a three-member board of military officers. The board members make a decision about the detainees’ status based on the current threat assessment and intelligence value of each detainee.”

— DRJ

57 Responses to “Guantanamo Recidivism is 20%”

  1. After they knew it was 14% they kept right on going… that’s… that’s full of win, guys. Good job.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  2. I’m thinking if we let the “no brainer” cases go first, there is only one direction for that recidivism rate to go if we keep releasing them. Remind me again why he couldn’t convinve other countries, at least without multi-hundred million dollar bribes, to take detainees.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  3. Obviously not enough art therapy.

    Dana (f64b7d)

  4. That’s not bad, at all. Our prison recidivism averages 50% to 60%, with 85% for some crimes.

    nk (df76d4)

  5. BTW, I think that Guantanamo is everything America is not supposed to be.

    nk (df76d4)

  6. But those ones aren’t as killy.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  7. I think Guantanamo is a blank canvas like our little president man what you can paint whatever picture you like on.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  8. BTW, I think that Guantanamo is everything America is not supposed to be.
    Comment by nk — 1/6/2010 @ 8:44 pm

    Pretend it just gave birth. Then you can excuse everything about it.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  9. This is the kind of thing that is thoroughly obfuriating. Where have these people been?

    If one thinks all of the Gitmo detainees were innocent bystanders, I guess it may come as a surprise that some of them have turned up as terrorists.

    For the same people to imply in any way that it’s “Bush’s fault”, they should be subject to the spit of 1000 camels chewing tobacco. Hello!! There was a reason Bush had these people at Gitmo.

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  10. The political game Obama is playing, in pretending Bush’s admin released people without assessing their likelihood of fighting us, reeks and reeks and reeks of unseriousness.

    I’m not giving Bush a pass: he shouldn’t have released anyone actually fighting the US until the GWOT ended (if he did), but Obama has made Gitmo into a game. Bush made errors all throughout the war effort, and tried to adjust and fix those errors as best he could. Obama, on the other hand, is simply playing politics.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  11. Hello!! There was a reason Bush had these people at Gitmo.

    Comment by MD in Philly — 1/6/2010 @ 8:56 pm

    Of course there was. The only competent member of his cabinet, Ashcroft, quit in disgust, and Bush was left with cronies dumber than him who could not convict a terrorist in any tribunal — military or civilian — so the only solution was to keep the suspected terrorists prisoners indefinitely out of the reach of American justice.

    nk (df76d4)

  12. #5

    BTW, I think that Guantanamo is everything America is not supposed to be.

    Comment by nk — 1/6/2010 @ 8:44 pm

    —I’ll be sure to remember that as the burning bodies and wreckage are falling from the sky….

    DaveinPhoenix (2bd6c3)

  13. It’s not an awful thing that there are people what think that Guantanamo is everything America is not supposed to be. It’s just when they’re in charge.

    happyfeet (e9e587)

  14. —I’ll be sure to remember that as the burning bodies and wreckage are falling from the sky….

    Comment by DaveinPhoenix — 1/6/2010 @ 9:08 pm

    Somebody had seven years to fix that and did not.

    nk (df76d4)

  15. The rate is much, much higher. That 20% only reflects documented recidivists who were re-captured, killed, or admitted publicly that they had rejoined the fight. The planning and logistics folks can keep a lower profile than the ones who take up arms again. Even if Camp Delta closes, none of them should be brought to the U.S. and none should be released until the very idea of jihad is treated by Muslims the way we treat mass-murderers here… with scorn and fury. Until then, keep them locked up. They’re not innocents.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  16. no klew is so funny with the endless “its all Bush’s fault” mantra…..

    when are you and Barney Fife going to come up with something new?

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  17. FWIW, I agree with Stashiu3 that the 20% is just those who have been documented, I’m sure the true number is much higher.

    For those readers not aware, Stashiu3 knows of what he speaks. Often we do not really understand something until we encounter it face to face. Unlike many who pontificate about Gitmo, Stashiu3 has seen such terrorists face to face.

    MD in Philly (d4668b)

  18. “the only solution was to keep the suspected terrorists prisoners indefinitely out of the reach of American justice”

    nk – Because there is no obligation to try them for anything under international treaties and the rules of land warfare. Just because the libs started getting agitated the way they usually do and the SC messed up Boumedienne ain’t no reason to crap your pants.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  19. IMO, one of the biggest mistakes President Obama made regarding Gitmo, was announcing to the world that he would close Camp Delta by the end of the year.

    He made this statement without a plan, and without truly understanding the complexities of this problem.

    (Gee -can’t wait for his Health Care Plan.)

    Pons Asinorum (b200bb)

  20. Pons – That was one of his royal pronouncements – It shall be done.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  21. daleyrocks — yeah, and as JD would say “he did it with a raised eyebrow” to underscore how serious he was.

    Pons Asinorum (b200bb)

  22. BTW, I think that Guantanamo is everything America is not supposed to be.

    Comment by nk — 1/6/2010 @ 8:44 pm

    You know, I hear this a lot from commentators about a variety of things. I think it’s supposed to be a conversation stopper.

    But they, and nk, never say why.

    Why, specifically, is Guantanamo everything America is not supposed to be?

    The United States has a long history of imprisoning enemy combatants, thousands of which were former citizens. (Look it up, I can’t be bothered. Start in 1861).

    Under FDR, we incarcerated Japanese-Americans, unjustly, then recruited them to fight, which, by all accounts, they did admirably.

    Korea was a police action under U.N. auspices. Did the North Koreans and Chinese have unique privileges under U.S. law when captured?

    Vietnam was an undeclared war. What happened to the Viet Cong and the NVA after capture? Were they afforded full rights of an American citizen?

    I am only looking for an honest answer. When the United States wages war, legal, illegal or otherwise (U.N.-sanctioned) what is it do to do with the ones who fire bullets, bombs, mortars and missiles against it? Convene a grand jury?

    But, back to my question, what makes Guantanamo uniquely un-American?

    Ag80 (76c798)

  23. True, AG80. Gitmo’s policy of treating these terrorists like subhuman war criminals is actually much more in line with American history than a lot of people care to admit.

    This is the nation that interned the Japanese. Not that one justifies the other, but suspending legal rights for war criminals or POWs isn’t really all that unheard of here.

    But NK has a point. GITMO’s usage was justified by some silly reasoning about how it’s OK to deny someone certain rights because of location of his cell. We need to own what we’re doing. If we want to deny these people certain rights, let’s justify that on something reasonable, such as the fact we’re at war, or the facts of each case (such as their war crimes of fighting out of uniform or targeting civilians or whatever). GITMO is specious. Even Obama’s closing it is strange. Just change the policies surrounding the facility. Moving the prisoners is a dog and pony show.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  24. when I say Gitmo treats them as subhuman war criminals, I don’t mean that life at Gitmo is all that bad. We aren’t savages… we just aren’t giving these people the rights we are accustomed to giving domestic criminals.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  25. “suspending legal rights for war criminals or POWs isn’t really all that unheard of here”

    Dustin – The point is that we do not have a history of extending contitutional rights nor an obligation to extend contitutional rights under the Geneva Conventions to prisoners of war or illegal enemy combatants. Citizens or legal residents may be another matter. You are approaching it from the wrong angle.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  26. Dustin, we did not deny them rights by the location of their cells. They did not have rights to begin with. The location of their cells was to prevent some activist court from giving them rights. The only rights they have are “blindfold or no” and “cigarette or no” before they go to meet their 72 Virginians… or the hag feeding them 72 white raisins.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  27. Dustin – If they did not have constitutional rights to begin with, saying suspending them is not unheard of is an incorrect statement. They just didn’t have them so there was nothing to suspend, period. It’s a red herring created by the left.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  28. they aren’t “domestic criminals”. they *are* illegal combatants, and, under the applicable international law to which we are a signatory, they are entitled to summary execution upon capture.

    anything other than that is magnanimous and merciful on our part. i say take them all out and shoot them. either that, or drop them off at the 100 fathom line in the Gulf Stream, and let allah do as he wills with his followers.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  29. And, as a father of a soldier who survived Iraq and Fort Hood, I say it’s time for all boots on the ground to shoot-to-kill first, ask questions later. It’s safer for us all that way.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  30. I am in agreement with the very wise John Hitchcock.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  31. Dustin:

    The justification is that they are at war with the United States.

    Are some unjustly incarcerated, I don’t know.

    But I do know that German prisoners in WWII were kept in camps not far from where I grew up. Others were incarcerated less than 20 miles from where I live now.

    Were they Nazis? For the most part, probably not. As then, though, we were at war. It doesn’t matter a whole lot where they were kept.

    What matters is they were captured during war.

    My question is why is keeping captured combatants in Guantanamo, or any place else for that matter, uniquely un-American?

    I think we agree and I’m waiting for someone to explain, exactly, the whole un-American part.

    Ag80 (76c798)

  32. daleyrocks, you are right. I stand corrected in using the contrived terminology.

    However, you and John are in error if you contend that we don’t justify their treatment based on Gitmo’s “unique political situation”. Bush’s administration did this, and it’s stupid. Either they have these rights or they don’t. I agree with you two that they really don’t, and it has nothing to do with GITMO, but that was the legal argument, like it or not. I recall reading that 2002 DOJ summary stating that because of where GITMO is located, it is outside our jurisdiction and people there could be treated differently. That was a cop out. If a GITMO guard steals some bubble gum, they don’t have different rights there than they would at Ft Lewis.

    The truth is, we have a result in mind when we come up with the rights these people should have. That result is winning our war and protecting our people, and I have no problem with it… we just need to admit it.

    I also disagree with a take-no-prisoners plan. We need the intel. If we are not going to get intel out of these people (if we’re going to mirandize them), then yeah, might as well shoot them all… certainly safer than what we’re going to be doing.

    Obviously, I am arguing in vain under the present administration.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  33. capture, interrogate, execute.

    all perfectly acceptable under the Geneva Convention and the laws of land warfare.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  34. AG80, obviously, part of the justification is as you say, that they are enemy combatants. This part I like.

    but it’s strange to claim that because GITMO is not US Jurisdiction, their rights change. In an ideal world, we’d just own up to the fact that we aren’t going to ever give war criminals the rights we give soldiers who follow the law of war. And we’d keep the terrorists in Gitmo or in Naval brigs, or in the Middle East, and far far away from the homeland.

    Anyway, I’m making a small point here, but it really matters to me.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  35. “I recall reading that 2002 DOJ summary stating that because of where GITMO is located, it is outside our jurisdiction and people there could be treated differently.”

    Dustin – You are correct that it was one of the arguments used, but it should never have gotten to that stage. Read Scalia’s dissent in Boumedienne for a good summary of the issues.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  36. Yep.

    And perhaps this is less important to a lot of you because you think the results are easily justified regardless. That’s a reasonable POV. But Bush’s DOJ really sucked sometimes.

    Not that I don’t miss them.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  37. “The truth is, we have a result in mind when we come up with the rights these people should have.”

    Dustin – That’s why there is a separation of powers and Congress and the Judiciary are generally not allowed to interfere with the CIC’s ability to prosecute a war. We do not use the criminal/civil justice system to enforce the rules of land warfare or the Geneva Conventions. Why do we want to start now?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  38. Dustin, you are still not getting it. Because of where GTMO is located, their lack of rights weren’t supposed to change. That is the point.

    If they didn’t have any rights but to be executed, their right to be executed did not (or more accurately, were not supposed to) change by being placed at GTMO. Holding them at GTMO was a preventative measure against activist judges who do not hold the Constitution or Declaration unless they’re working a 10-200. Unfortunately for us all, the Founders and the Framers, those activist judges were working a massive 10-200.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  39. we want to start now because a lot of our people have been convinced that the world isn’t nearly as harsh as it actually is. Or something dumb like that. It’s amazing to me that people aren’t rioting over KSM’s trial in NYC, but they aren’t. Life will go on as he screams about how great it is that he killed thousands of us and how stupid and weak we are to give him a fair trial. And we’ll give the next guy, the Eunuch Bomber, the same treatment.

    What can I say? Our constitution isn’t what’s written on that paper. It’s whatever Obama and the Supreme Court can get away with. That’s why it pisses me off when people fuck around with silly arguments.

    We really don’t enforce the Geneva Conventions anyway, or these people would have been executed.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  40. No John, what you’re saying I agree with and is quite different from what Bush’s DOJ said. Indeed, they did think Gitmo’s location was quite relevant. You seem to be saying that it doesn’t matter what rights we don’t give them under a bogus theory, because those rights didn’t exist anyway. True.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  41. @22 — Ag80
    When the United States wages war, legal, illegal or otherwise (U.N.-sanctioned) what is it do to do with the ones who fire bullets, bombs, mortars and missiles against it?

    Tough question when applied to terrorism (I just wish our current President would have asked these types of questions and thought them through before making public statements of policy).

    Terrorism is that state between war and crime.

    On one hand, it is reasonable to treat terrorists as enemy combatants (technically should it not be unlawful combatants?). Of course doing so guarantees political backlashes and challenges to our Constitutional processes.

    On the other hand, it is justifiable to treat terrorists as criminals. Of course doing so guarantees vulnerabilities in our security and perhaps encourages more attacks.

    Perhaps it is the magnitude of the terrorist threat that should drive the balance between treating terrorists as criminals or enemy combatants. In light of 9/11 and the continued attacks against us, my opinion is that the balance should primarily treat terrorists as enemy combatants.

    But, back to my question, what makes Guantanamo uniquely un-American?

    One possibility: The concept of “setting 99 guilty men free so that one innocent man is not imprisoned” is possibly turned backwards as a military necessity, and perhaps many Americans find this possibility objectionable. The reality of wartime-investigative processes and military-court authority (that are driven primarily by our military/intelligences services engaged in war) will likely result in the detainment of innocent people. The military will do what they must, to carry out their duties (protect the nation).

    This is a reality of war and most Americans will not understand this — and that is a good thing.

    Pons Asinorum (b200bb)

  42. For those who know the difference, we will stand fast and do what war requires. (Then some of us will come home, and others from afar, and we will watch our children and grand-children play without a care in the world. And we will smile.)

    A sgt told me that once.

    Pons Asinorum (b200bb)

  43. That’s why this stuff probably would be better left as a covert activity. I suppose there probably is some secret prison somewhere, but I doubt we’re executing anyone or having tribunals there. I don’t see why not, though. As Pons notes, “The military will do what they must, to carry out their duties (protect the nation).” That’s not something to cheer. But it’s suicidal to mirandize enemy or unlawful combatants and chip them to Illinois.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  44. The reason for GTMO? It is the absolute most secure place in the world outside the US to place terrorists of any value. The failing of GTMO other than activist judges and their 1-200s? The charity of the US in not killing these terrorists on the scene or executing them after gaining the information needed.

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  45. But it’s suicidal to mirandize enemy or unlawful combatants and chip them to Illinois.

    Total agreement, bro.

    Pons Asinorum (b200bb)

  46. “It is the absolute most secure place in the world outside the US to place terrorists of any value.”

    It certainly is a smart location on this merit. It also had a court system that was much better equipped to deal with classified material, and had a good reputation for fairness. Now, Obama is going to have show-trials. If he doesn’t think he can win, they don’t get a trial. If the result of a trial is really unacceptable (such as KSM being acquitted), we ignore the trial. But the show trial will use traditional federal criminal law rules and stuff.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  47. Pons, I called you a troll and we were just having a heated disagreement. That was lame of me and I apologize, though I don’t recall what thread that was.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  48. I apologize too Dustin. I can be quite the a-hole (just ask my wife, heh).

    Pons Asinorum (b200bb)

  49. Just so ya know, I was a trucker (and still hold my CDL), so 10-200 is CB lingo. 😉

    John Hitchcock (3fd153)

  50. Look we have been absolutely savage in the past with our own prisoners, Camp Douglas on the Union side, Andersonville. The law is very clear,ex parte Merryman, Millgan, et al, they have no rights by how they behave. the newest folks on the terrorist toolbar, Al Shehri, was running a supplyline from Iran, when caught. The thing is the Saudis, some Kuwaitis ran a public relations campaign, as part of the legal strategy that sought to paint the US military and intelligence as evil and the Gitmo detainees as innocent victims. This is what the Bush administration was up against and with Rumsfeld and even Gonzalez was forced out, there were no defenders of Gitmo left

    ian cormac (cd6b99)

  51. #33, said, “capture, interrogate, execute.

    all perfectly acceptable under the Geneva Convention and the laws of land warfare.”

    Yeah, that’s fine as far as it goes, but I’m not overly concerned with International Conventions and laws when it comes to dealing with terrorists. These people are quite energetic in violating rules and conventions in order to kill us, in fact it’s one of their greatest advantages.

    Terrorists expect us to follow all the rules and customary practices civilized societies employ to facilitate normal conduct. Yet the terrorists exempt themselves from any such rules, they find ways to circumvent them, or to use our rules against us.

    What’s up with that? Attacks by an unconventional enemy require an unconventional response. I say let’s give it right back to these bastards in the most creative and unconventional ways we can imagine. Given the fight we’re in, there’s only one rule: kill the enemy, before he kills you.

    As it stands right now, we’re up against well financed and well organized mass murderers, and we’re hiding behind a set of rule books. We’re in handcuffs, wearing blinders, and tying ourselves up in knotts, while granting our enemies free reign to bushwhack us at every turn. That’s insane. We’re asking for it.

    You don’t need to be a fortune teller to see that we’re going to lose this fight to 14th century thugs who are on the brink of being armed with atomic weapons if we don’t get busy and kill these bastards while there’s still time.

    Talk about having your head in the sand, our death clock is ticking as our enemies grow stronger, and we’re engaged in irrelevant debate over how quickly to release the terrorists presently being held in our GITMO country club.

    We don’t have a choice, if we don’t get in the fight, or our lives will be in the hands of the terrorists. And, contrary to pacifist dogma, terrorists don’t talk civil rights with infidels.

    ropelight (bc3a03)

  52. Well, Ropelight, that’s the reason we’re legally allowed to execute them: they aren’t following the rules of war.

    I’m all for creativity and even something closer to ruthlessness if it’s thought out, but there’s no way to kill them all. I honestly don’t see how we win without somehow getting in their heads and hearts. As you note, it’s hard to see how we’re winning. What are these methods you’re talking about? Perhaps if there was some way to debunk their religion in their eyes… but I don’t think that’s possible.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  53. Dustin, my point is that our enemies aren’t concerned in the slightest with what’s “legally allowed.” While we are obsessing over that irrelevant and divisive concept instead of defending ourselves.

    ropelight (bc3a03)

  54. Well yeah, you’ve definitely got a point.

    And don’t get me wrong, I know you’re not suggesting we act like savages or anything like that. But if we’re going to stop concerning ourselves with this debate over how to treat these little bastards, we should make sure we’re focused on how that wins the war. And it’s hard to see how it does in the macro.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  55. I M P E A C H ! Get a president who gives a shit about national security. This one, treasonously, does not.

    Kevin Stafford (abdb87)

  56. Dustin, our jihadi enemies aren’t concerned with what we think. They don’t care what we think about, or if we think at all. You see, to them, what we think is just as irrelevant as how we feel, which is as irrelevant as what we say. All of it, totally irrelevant.

    The terrorists are focused on killing us, and until we focus on killing them, instead of what they think of us, we’re the ones who are going to do most of the dying.

    The terrorists are delighted that we care about their welfare, it keeps us busy while they get ready to slaughter us wholesale.

    ropelight (bc3a03)

  57. BTW, I think that Guantanamo is everything America is not supposed to be.
    Comment by nk — 1/6/2010 @ 8:44 pm

    I think incarceration is supposed to be punitive.
    Would you rather we reform our prisons into replica’s of Main Street in Disneyland?

    These men at GITMO should thank Allah, and the good conscience of Americans – all 300+ million of them, each and every hour they are there for their continued existence. At any other time in history, we would have no need for Camp Delta, etc, and the “white-shoes” lawyers in DC would have no excuse for a “Caribbean Tan”.

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