Terror Camp
It's an ugly scene at Gitmo, all right.


Deroy Murdock

The inmates at Guantanamo Bay detention are tough guys after all. According to Pentagon memos released last week, Gitmo detainees abused U.S. GIs at least 440 times between December 2002 and July 2005. Virtually celebrated by the international Left as misunderstood innocents, Gitmo’s enemy combatants have attacked military police with household items, bodily excreta, and even a live reptile.

“We provide fans in order to keep them cool,” Army Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Nicolucci, the facility’s executive officer, told the Associated Press’s John Solomon. Last May, Nicolucci explained, “they were using the basket, or the grate of the fan as a shield, the blades as machetes, the pole as a battering ram.”

Guantanamites have weaponized shower sandals, plumbing, and much more. Incident reports elaborate:

“Detainee in cell [redacted] grabbed the radio from an MP and then threw the radio at the MP,” says a December 23, 2003 report. “The detainee then threw rocks at the MP.” Detainees hid rocks under shower mats.

Around Christmas week 2004, as enemy combatants spat on American guards, one inmate resisted as an MP removed his food tray. “Detainee stabbed the MP guard…in the hand with his spork from chow meal,” a report stated, describing a spoon-fork utensil. The detainee then “made a slicing motion across his neck” and promised to murder the guard.

“Detainee broke off the top of his sink, subsequently broke out the window then began throwing the sink and pieces of pipes at the Block Guard,” says a March 25, 2005, record.

Another detainee “reached under the face mask of an IRF (Initial Reaction Force) team member’s helmet and scratched his face, attempting to gouge his eyes,” reads a May 27, 2005, account. “The IRF team member received scratches to his face and eye socket area.”

“They’ll take the smallest things, be it a piece of rust,” Nicolucci said. “They told us they are going to take that piece of rust and they are going for the jugular, they are going for the eye. They know what our vulnerabilities are, anatomically speaking.”

Less potentially lethal, though more disgusting, is detainees’ hostile deployment of bodily discharges. Suspected terrorists frequently collect semen, urine, vomit, and feces in meal cups, then hurl that noxious mixture at U.S. GIs.

In one bizarre incident, a detainee used a lizard tail against a guard. The combatant “caught the iguana by the tail at which time the tail detached,” a May 2005 report explained. The guard “felt something strike him in the lower right back.” He then “saw the tail on the ground at his feet, and blood was in the same area of his uniform.”

For all the complaints about alleged Koran desecration by American soldiers, the Pentagon reports that Islam’s holy book has been violated by none other than Muslim inmates.

One detainee “tore his Koran into small pieces,” a guard declared in May 2003. That June, another report indicated, a second combatant “did intentionally destroy his Koran and throw [it] out of his cell.”

“Lawyers for the enemy have succeeded in portraying their clients as victims when, in fact, they are barbarians,” Landmark Legal Foundation president (and NRO blogger) Mark Levin says. “They have unleashed attack after attack against our MPs at Guantanamo Bay, a fact that seems to have eluded every congressional committee and investigative news report that purports to examine the prison.”

Landmark deserves much credit for using the Freedom of Information Act to dislodge these reports from the Pentagon — a 12-month process.

“We filed a FOIA request,” Levin continues. “Our request was moved from one office to the next. And finally, we considered their delay a rejection of our request. So, we filed a FOIA administrative appeal, and when that didn’t work, we threatened to sue them. In fact, we prepared a complaint, and a more senior person at the Pentagon decided it would be in everybody’s best interest if they got us the information, to which we had a lawful right.”

Conversely, the Bush administration deserves much criticism for concealing information that could help win the War on Terror. President Bush’s critics use Gitmo as a giant Louisville Slugger to pound him constantly and mercilessly. Detailing how Gitmoites menace, wound, and threaten to kill U.S. personnel would dispel the myth that Gitmo teems with law-abiding shepherds and Koranic students who U.S. forces unthinkingly captured en route to Friday prayers.

While the president’s terror-war defenders toil to advance his policies, bureaucrats he supposedly leads initially padlocked the entrance to this public-diplomacy gold mine for a year. “But for threatening to sue them,” Levin says, “we still might be waiting for these documents.” Rather than force supporters to wield pickaxes, Bush and his media team constantly should showcase information such as what the Landmark Legal Foundation finally extracted. After all, this is war.

Deroy Murdock is a New York-based columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Arlington, Va.