Gitmo Does Not Cause Terrorism
Doubt It? Ask the Blind Sheikh.


Andrew C. McCarthy

Leftists don’t like Gitmo (or the PATRIOT Act, or warrantless surveillance, or military commissions, or Bush, or Cheney, or . . . ) so, presto, Gitmo becomes a “cause” of terrorism. Perversely, jihadist murderers become the vessels of our values: They’re noble savages and they don’t murder because they believe their religion commands them to. They do it, we’re told, because of national-security policies that just happen to be the ones despised by the Left. The terrorists are onto this game even if we’re not. So they snicker and say, “Oh, yes, of course, it’s been Gitmo all along — that’s why we do it!” They know some pointy-headed intelligence analyst, some ambitious general, some craven U.S. senator, or even some pandering American president is bound to repeat the canard until it becomes received wisdom. And the press will play along, never pausing to ask: “Well, then, how come 9/11 and the Cole and the embassy bombings and Khobar and Bojinka and the Trade Center bombing all happened before there ever was a Gitmo?” (To which the answer, of course, would be “Israel!”)

Long before there was a Gitmo, Muslim terrorists also plotted to accomplish the release of their captured confederates, either through escape plots or extortionate terrorist attacks — like the massacre at Luxor. For them and their millions of sympathizers, the issue isn’t where the jihadists are detained, or under what theory (law of war or civilian prosecution) this detention is justified. The issue is that we detain them, period. In the Muslim world, where illiteracy is rampant, there are not many scholars of American law. And, as we’ve already seen, even the ACLU is saying there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Gitmo and the new Gitmo North at Thomson. If that’s what the lefty lawyers are saying, what do you suppose the jihadists think?

From the prison where he serves his life sentence, Abdel Rahman was able to announce to the world: “The Sheikh is calling on you, morning and evening: Oh Muslims! Oh Muslims! And he finds no respondents. It is a duty upon all the Muslims around the world to come to free the Sheikh, and to rescue him from his jail.” That he was in a nice civilian jail after a nice civilian trial didn’t make any difference. Of Americans, the sheikh decreed: “Muslims everywhere [must] dismember their nation, tear them apart, ruin their economy, provoke their corporations, destroy their embassies, attack their interests, sink their ships, and shoot down their planes, kill them on land, at sea, and in the air. Kill them wherever you find them.” Osama bin Laden later called this the green light — the necessary Islamic fatwa — for the 9/11 attacks. It was four years before there was a Gitmo for Dick Durbin to blame. So should we shut down all the civilian prisons, too?