Thursday, January 21, 2010

From the ever-so 'pithy' Michele McPhee a conservative radio 'host' up here in Boston:

“As liberal a bastion as we are, I think people take umbrage, whether you are left or right, at Khalid Sheikh Mohammed laughing his head off in a taxpayer-funded cell at a billion dollars a year. Even the biggest moonbat can’t wrap their arms around that,” McPhee said. “It’s symbolic of how out of touch some politicians are.”

Oh Man!

Is the cost of Gitmo or a Supermax measured only in dollars and cents? While there are several valid arguments both for and against trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian court (see my next post!), I think its important to approach this quote (and the general FOX News kerfufflery around trying KSM and the UndieBomber in civilian court) with the gravitas that it deserves:

Stop being silly.

Lets talk about cost-benefit here. We can calculate this in the nice quantifiable black and white numbers -- but we would be missing the whole picture. In the past few years, billions of dollars have been spent having KBR/Haliburton build up our internment facilities in Cuba, but the cost to the United States has been much more than the dollars spent.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, our past approach to shadowy apprehensions, semi-legal interrogation techniques, and secretive military tribunals has become a constant motivator and recruitment tool for Al Qaeda and its affiliated movements -- and has fueled dijihadis and third-generation self-starter terrorists around the globe.

But perhaps even more concerning, Guantanamo has become a recruitment center, training camp, and radicalization zone for all alleged enemy combatants -- whether they were rightly 'charged' or otherwise. It is an uncomfortable truth -- without due process or access to legal aid, many innocents have found themselves in Gitmo for a stay. How many walk out innocent is another matter. There has been, in the past few years, a steady stream of ex-Guantanamo inmates who have participated in 'martyrdom ops', or been arrested mid-plot. Still skeptical? Use the google!

Specifically, AQAP has been revitalized with ex-Gitmo recruits, and if you want a more direct example of what Gitmo may have cost us so far, the man who trained Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (our least favorite example of the efficacy of Liar Liar Pants on Fire) was a former inmate at Gitmo.

AQAP's media wing Malahem has celebrated the impact that Guantanamo Bay has had on their recruitment and strength, most memorably in last year's video "From Here We Begin, at Al Aqsa We Shall Meet". In it, Abu Sufian al Azdi Saeed al Shihri (a former Gitmo resident) stated:

"We assure our leaders Sheikh Osama Bin Laden, may God protect him, and Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, that we shall continue to follow the path of jihad. By God's will, our imprisonment has only made us more resilient and more committed to our principles that we fought jihad and were taken prisoners for"

al Shihri (by the way) is now AQAP's number 2. He has gone from Gitmo to XO quite fast.

But this is merely one example of what Gitmo has cost this nation. It has also driven a wedge between the US and it allies, and has soured many NGOs and IGOs about participating in stability operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where they are desperately needed. Today marks a year since President Obama pledged to close Gitmo in that time, and it is my hope that that pledge will be realized in the future. However, that leaves us with the most pertinent question:

What now?

While there are many things that can (and will be) said about the civilian trial of KSM, I don't think it particularly Moonbatty to think we need a new approach to how we deal with captured terror suspects -- one that does not fuel our enemies, or lessen our national security.

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