Patterico's Pontifications


Another Deadly Result of Obama’s Opposition to Gitmo?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:20 am

From the New York Post:

The Muslim fanatic who killed seven people in France was so proud of his unspeakably evil work that he uploaded sickening video to the Internet showing him executing a helpless, terrified 8-year-old girl, officials said.

Mohammed Merah is seen yanking Myriam Monsenego by her hair — then firing a bullet into her head while he holds her.

Officials believe Merah strapped on a camera before each murder and posted the videos on jihadi Web sites, where he believed they would inspire other al Qaeda wannabes.

Sounds like a prince of a guy.

By the way, we had him in our clutches. He was captured in Afghanistan, and turned over to American custody. And we essentially let him go — by turning him over to France, which released him:

Meanwhile, new details emerged about Merah’s 2010 capture in Afghanistan — and the failure of both French and American officials to detain him.

Merah was grabbed by Afghan security forces in Kandahar and turned over to the US Army. The United States “put him on the first plane to France,’’ Molins said.

Pentagon spokesman Lt Col. Todd Breasseale said: “The Kandahari police picked him up a matter of years ago. They detained him. The mechanics by which he was returned to France, we are continuing to investigate.”

. . . .

Upon his return to France, he was interviewed by intelligence officials, who released him.

Wasn’t there a place where we used to send enemy combatants? So they wouldn’t be released and end up killing people?

It’s on the tip of my tongue. Bitmo, Jitmo. Something mo.

The one thing I do remember: the president who had the policy of detaining terrorists and enemy combatants was one George W. Bush. And he was a baaaaaad man. A very baaaaaaad man.

Three cheers for the new guy. And R.I.P. Myriam Monsenego, and the other victims of the Jewish school shooting.

57 Responses to “Another Deadly Result of Obama’s Opposition to Gitmo?”

  1. Zimmerman is the real problem here! No justice, no peace!
    If I had a daughter, she’d look like Myriam.

    Bill (af584e)

  2. Here’s the thing I can’t understand: if Jesus Christ came down and personally told me, “all these Muslim people are driving dad crazy. So I need you to go kill some Muslim kids,” well, that’s the day I stop worshipping Jesus Christ.

    Ghost (6f9de7)

  3. “Wasn’t there a place where we used to send enemy combatants?”

    There used to be a place where we sent enemy combatants who got caught fighting out of uniform. It was called Hell. And, not one guerrilla or terrorist who was sent there ever murdered a little girl after he was sent (as far we know).

    For some reason, we quit doing that.

    I have no idea why.

    Dave Surls (46b08c)

  4. Tell me, when you get blood on your hands through cowardly inaction, does it wash off easier than that you get through bold action?

    Pious Agnostic (7c3d5b)

  5. BTW, the current missile defense is not a huge threat to the Russians (though they would need more missiles per city if we went to nuclear war, thus sparing a lot more US Cities, it’s not as major a change as the Bush era plans would have been and it’s not like we’re going to war with Russia). However, this is a huge threat to Russia’s export of missile technology. If customers know their missiles are a potent threat, they will pay more for them.

    Dustin (330eed)

  6. This is X1000000000 more interesting and dangerous and potent a conspiracy as the birther crap ever was.

    Dustin (330eed)

  7. What can you do with guys named “Mo”?

    Comanche Voter (dc4fc0)

  8. Certain “officials” need to have an up-close & personal encounter with a strap-on — and I don’t mean a camera.

    Icy (71f821)

  9. This country has a large enough deficit without having to worry about the continuing cost of illegally detaining and torturing innocent religious students and shepherds at hellhole and blight on America’s reputation of Gitmo, or something like that, the libtards tell me.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  10. If a few people and an 8 year old girl need to die in order to feel better about myself then so be it.

    foxbat (ca0cb9)

  11. Dammit! If only there were some middle ground between unconstitutional indefinite detentions of an ill-defined category of “enemy combatants” and the brutal murder of 8 year old girls.

    Leviticus (870be5)

  12. Personally, I wouldn’t like to be detained indefinitely, especially if it were unconstitutional.

    But I think I’d do it if it would keep an 8-year-old girl from being brutally murdered.

    I don’t even have to think twice if, instead of me, it’s a brutal child murderer who is being detained.

    Pious Agnostic (149706)

  13. Leviticus,

    As set forth in the excerpt from the linked article:

    Merah was grabbed by Afghan security forces in Kandahar and turned over to the US Army. The United States “put him on the first plane to France.”

    Do you really think Afghan security forces turned over everyone they detained to the U.S. Military? Perhaps there was something about Merah that made him of greater concern.

    The article also says Merah was detained “years ago” but, in fact, it was in 2010. Obama was President. What was happening in 2010 regarding detained enemy combatants? Andrew Malcolm, then at the LA Times, published a helpful timeline:

    Dec. 16, 2009: President Obama signs a presidential memorandum ordering Atty. Gen. Eric Holder and Defense secretary Robert Gates to acquire the state prison in Thompson, Illinois as the $350 million replacement for Guantanamo.

    Administration officials are forced to acknowledge the obvious, that closing the facility in Cuba will not occur in 2009 but will spill over into 2010, possibly even late 2010.

    Jan. 22, 2010: The one year promise anniversary. No closing. No ceremony.

    May 19, 2010: The House Armed Services Committee, controlled by members of….

    …the president’s own Democratic party, absolutely prohibits any opening of a Guantanamo detention replacement facility within these United States. To underline its ban, the powerful committee erupts in an unusual display of bipartisanship: The prohibition vote is unanimous.

    June 25, 2010: In a Friday bad news dump guaranteed to attract minimal mid-summer attention, the N.Y. Times exclusively announces and excuses the broken Obama promise by blaming political opposition from unnamed parties (but you can guess which one) and citing the press of more important national priorities anyway[.]

    In fact, by the end of 2010, Obama’s Gitmo diplomacy consisted of trying to ship prisoners to other countries … like France, where Merah was promptly shipped.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  14. This MSNBC report suggests why Merah was handed over to the U.S. military:

    U.S. and French authorities said Merah had traveled to Afghanistan around 2010 to obtain training from Islamic militants. He had spent time with militants along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border before being captured and returned to France.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  15. In the interest of fairness, Bush did the same thing, releasing terrorists, only to have those terrorists revert to character.

    A stupid policy to be sure, but not one limited to Obama.

    steve (369bc6)

  16. Ahhhhhh. The but Bush gambit. Never gets old.

    JD (e5c06b)

  17. And neither does the knee-jerk defense of all things Bush and criticism of all things Obama.

    steve (369bc6)

  18. Please point to anyone’s knee jerk defense of Bush.

    JD (e5c06b)

  19. DRJ,

    I guess what I’m wondering what Patterico is trying to say with this post. If he is making a point about the release of Gitmo-detainee-types generally, then I would stand by my earlier comment. That was the impression I got, since this post seems to be critiquing some general policy rather than a mere administrative mistake. If he is making a point about this instance specifically, i.e. criticizing an administrative mistake, I would point him to the article you excerpted showing that Obama’s Gitmo policy is basically the same as his predecessor’s, and say that I’m sure the Administration regrets this administrative (but not policy-driven) error.

    Leviticus (870be5)

  20. I guess what I’m wondering is whether this post is about policy or administration.

    Leviticus (870be5)

  21. Leviticus, if Obama could get away with it politically, would he now keep his old campaign promise and close Gitmo?

    TomB (4a72e4)

  22. I would point him to the article you excerpted showing that Obama’s Gitmo policy is basically the same as his predecessor’s, and say that I’m sure the Administration regrets this administrative (but not policy-driven) error.

    — I’m sure you will let us know when they express that regret over in-effect having a different policy.

    If the policy is the same, but one administration adheres to it and another administration does not . . .

    Icy (71f821)

  23. I doubt that Obama has even heard of this guy, not even now, it might interfere with one of his $85m vacations.

    But the real fault is with the cheese-eating, surrender monkeys who **** with their heads and think with their genitals.

    nk (dec503)

  24. The only problem with this, which is true, is taht we had already stopped taking new prisoners to Guantanamo Bay while George W. Bush was president.

    The last detainee transferred to the base had been held in CIA custody at an undisclosed location before transfer to military custody in March 2008.

    However, a lot of that was due to the heated opposition to Guantanamo. If that hadn’t existed, some jihadists might have continued to be taken to Guantanamo Bay.

    And if there had been a different president than Obama, like McCain, maybe the policy of not taking any more prisoners to Guantanamo or anywhere else might have been reversed. McCain might have moved some to the United States mainland, Illinois or Montana, but he wouldn’t have just thrown them back into the sea.

    The U.S. still continued to hold prisoners, in Afghanistan, but that was expensive and prison size was limited or something. They tried to repatriate them. in the case of an Arab country, some conditions or attempted conditions would be made on anyone being returned, but nobody asked any questions of France. The U.S. military dioesn’t even haev accessible records of exactlly what they did with him and when. Nobody was really paying any attention.

    Mohammed Merah actually belonged to terrorist royalty. Both his brother, Abdulkader, and his stepfather, were involved with running Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  25. Levi,
    The problems with “but bush did it, too” are:
    1) you detest everything George Bush did as president (generally speaking). Pointing out that he did it too is kinda pissing in your own Cheerios.
    2) Bush isn’t president anymore. FDR also locked up the Japanese Americans and Woodrow Wilson made free speech a crime. Should we keep using those precedents?
    3) republicans don’t even like Bush.
    4) what, your mother never taught you that two wrongs don’t make a right?

    Ghost (6f9de7)

  26. Leviticus,

    Obama’s Gitmo policy is not the same as Bush’s policy. Obama’s Guantanamo detention policy has always been in flux — first he claimed he would close it, then he decided to try the detainees in civil courts, then he claimed the detainees would be moved to other countries, and finally in late December 2010 he opted for Bush’s policy of indefinite detention.

    I won’t speak for Patterico but what this post illustrates to me is a horrible consequence of Obama’s shifting policies. Merah occurred during the period when Obama wanted to move dangerous detainees to other countries, so he was moved to France. Some might say that was bad luck for France and its citizens, but I think Obama’s indecision and ineptness is also to blame.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  27. Call me naive but I never for a moment thought Shrub was lying to me, whether from deliberation or spontaneous impulse of being caught in some blunder.

    A poor judge of men, sure, but honest within his native limits.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  28. I had not thought of the terrorist tragedy in France in exactly these terms before. But your points @ 3:10 pm about the deadly repercussions of this administration’s fluctuating policies and shifting priorities in that area are very insightful and compelling, DRJ.

    elissa (dea0c2)

  29. Even if the policy was the same as under Bush, (which it apparently wasn’t, as above), even under Bush the policy was not completely “under Bush”, as public and political sentiment was actively opposing the Bush policy of indefinite detention of all of those “nice innocent folk who were just in the wrong place in the wrong time”.

    Well, there were “nice innocent folk who were caught in the wrong place in the wrong time”, but they were not caught in Afghanistan or Iraq or some other field of battle.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  30. I remind folks of the Levick Group’s white hat public relations campaign, that Rosenberg, Mayer,
    Shane, Warrick, et al, all swallowed whole, that current and former officials in the Justice Department , Katyal. Diskal West, et al, facilitated through their representation of Hamdan,
    KSM, Abdullah Muhajair (John Walker Lindh)

    narciso (83bb81)

  31. “I won’t speak for Patterico but what this post illustrates to me is a horrible consequence of Obama’s shifting policies. Merah occurred during the period when Obama wanted to move dangerous detainees to other countries, so he was moved to France. Some might say that was bad luck for France and its citizens, but I think Obama’s indecision and ineptness is also to blame.”

    – DRJ

    That is a good point, particularly giving the timing of the detention and release. I won’t argue with that.

    What this post illustrated to me was a broader critique of the idea that we should do anything with “enemy combatants” other than send them to the Constitutional Bermuda Triangle that is Guantanamo Bay.

    Leviticus (870be5)

  32. DRJ: I won’t speak for either Patterico or you, but to me the post illustrates not a problem with Obama’s desire to close Guantanamo but rather that it is a terrible idea to release terrorists while they are still alive.

    Obama’s desire to close Guantanamo is irrelevant. Merah could have been kept (or, preferably, killed) in any number of places. Obama could both oppose keeping Guantanamo open and be aggressive in keeping these guys in custody. Unfortunately, he hasn’t done that and Merah is but one example. Conversely, being in favor of keeping Guantanamo open (as Bush was) doesn’t preclude a President from letting terrorists go free to kill again. (as Bush did).

    steve (254463)

  33. elissa and Leviticus,

    Thanks for letting me vent. Because I value your opinions, I especially appreciate that something I write resonates with you.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  34. 12. The appropriate compromise:

    Nguyen Ngoc Loan’s.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  35. Of course, the hypocrisy of the French attacking us for Gitmo, whereas Thiessen points out, they have a less than sterling reputation with their detention

    narciso (83bb81)

  36. steve,

    I agree Merah should have been detained because his associations indicated he was probably dangerous, but to me the question isn’t solely whether terrorists held by Bush or Obama were released and killed again. Both released detainees (primarily because of pressure from the left and the courts), but to my knowledge Bush did not release potential terrorists like Merah prior to screening and enhanced/prolonged interrogation.

    It’s my understanding that Obama opposes enhanced interrogation techniques and thus has limited their use. As a result, the only way I know to effectively screen and get information from a potential terrorist or sympathizer would be from detention that is long enough to establish a rapport with the detainee — something that is much more likely to occur at Guantanamo than from releasing the detainee to France.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  37. DRJ,

    It’s just a difficult issue for me, is all. I just wish that we had treated anyone we detained in a combat zone as a POW from the get-go, and avoided the whole “enemy combatant” mess – it would have made the applicable due process much clearer, and put the kibosh on the type of constitutional end-runs that Hamdi and Boumediene criticize(that’s how I take them, anyway).

    Bush was put in a very difficult situation. I think he did what presidents almost always do, and tried to expand executive power for the sake of circumstantial flexibility. I don’t really fault him for that as much as I used to; over time, I’ve found it harder and harder to believe that Bush had anything but good intentions in most of what he did, even if some of it turned out badly. Still disagree with it, and think it adds to a terrible body of precedent; but it was a difficult decision. Honestly, I have a lot more contempt for Obama, who (true to form) made grand campaign promises about closing Gitmo in service to higher principles, then (upon election) promptly proceeded to forget those promises and opt instead for the same utilitarian scheme as Bush. Moral grandstanding and utilitarian concession combine to extremely ill effect, and I think that that combination has characterized Obama’s presidency at least as much as it ever characterized the Bush Administration.

    Leviticus (870be5)

  38. Actually the of cited arguments of the Levick Group, and it’s leading publicists, at Seton Hall U,
    never really held water,

    One of these last incidents, was cited in the dissent to Boumedienne, by Thomas, I believe , it didn’t matter,

    narciso (83bb81)

  39. We’re in the very best of hands…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  40. 36. Rainbow Warrior.

    gary gulrud (d88477)

  41. “I won’t speak for Patterico but what this post illustrates to me is a horrible consequence of Obama’s shifting policies.”

    DRJ – Making gutsy calls is not something familiar to President O’Ditherer, who after all, was more well known for voting present.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  42. Well he will always default to the notion, that the police acted stupidly, soldiers were air raiding villages, Gitmo created more jihadist, that’s a given,

    narciso (83bb81)

  43. “If a few people and an 8 year old girl need to die in order to feel better about myself then so be it.”

    That’s an excellent comment, IMO.

    That is what we’re doing (as a group). Trying to act all noble and crap, as we tread on that high moral road.

    And, now more kids are dead, because we don’t kill these terrorist scum the minute we can catch them. Instead we turn them loose to show the world what swell guys we are.

    Personally I’d rather tread the low moral road, and keep eight year old girls alive, but that’s just the way I swing.

    Maybe they had a good reason to turn this guy loose (assuming that the story is true), but I sure don’t think much of the results.

    Dave Surls (46b08c)

  44. “I won’t speak for Patterico but what this post illustrates to me is a horrible consequence of Obama’s shifting sh*tty policies.”

    DRJ… I took the liberty of correcting what was an otherwise enlightening post.

    Colonel Haiku (7fd04b)

  45. Here’s another moronic choice…

    Obama picks Noam Chomsky fan, free-market skeptic to head World Bank

    Colonel Haiku (7fd04b)

  46. Bullwinkle the Moose
    he hot mic it with Boris
    gives away The Farm

    Colonel Haiku (7fd04b)

  47. “Obama wanted to move dangerous detainees to other countries, so he was moved to France.”

    DRJ – Didn’t most European countries stop accepting Gitmo transferees after they told Obama if the U.S. accepts some first and the U.S. balked? Then we were relegated to bribing some island nations to accept Gitmo prisoners.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  48. I don’t know, daley. Here’s what the NY Times claims the WikiLeaks archives say.

    DRJ (a83b8b)

  49. It is interesting who is the former detainee, that urged the Europeans to take more of his comrades,
    Moazzam Begg, one of those who played a part in recruiting Abdulmutallab when he was in London,

    There are a whole host of other cables, that validate many of the claims of US Govt officials,
    re; Paracha, Quahtani, et al

    narciso (83bb81)

  50. Like so, there is contrary commentary but no actual proof just assertions;,c69412&icp=1&.intl=us&sig=NBSjBrm03hDAAPgduXHPgA–

    narciso (83bb81)

  51. Why did the Afghans turn him over to us?

    Were they so short of funds that they could not afford a bullet?

    Michael Ejercito (64388b)

  52. We will learn this lesson one day. I can only hope we don’t forget (again).

    Robert C. J. Parry (a5133c)

  53. Surely we’re not blaming the US for the actions of this terrorist.

    He was captured by a local law enforcement agency (Kandahari police), handed over to some US agency or other, then placed in the possession of French authorities. Why is it that the US is the only responsible party for this thug and his resulting atrocities?

    Some many years ago, a common thief siphoned gas out of my tank right in my driveway one night. The next day I casually thanked OPEC for this little incident, only to be corrected, by an ultra-conservative no less, that OPEC has nothing to do with it, the thief is the only one responsible for his actions. My how times have changed.

    Chris (614149)

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