Goatherds with Dream Teams
I would like to second Cliff May’s regret at the premature departure of Assistant Secretary Stimson, whom I also met at Gitmo. It seems an almost parodic illustration of the uneven playing field on which we have chosen to play: our enemies are extended every benefit of the doubt while the mildest observation on the part of government officials will prompt howls of outrage and sustained campaigns to hound them from office.
We’re often told that these folks at Guantanamo are small fry – innocent Afghan goatherds who got swept up in Taliban fever but are no real threat to America. This is a characterization that doesn’t withstand much scrutiny: some of them were captured in the possession of, for example, six-figure sums in US currency, which seems a lot for a goatherd. Since then, the level of legal representation they’ve attracted is certainly striking. It may be merely the cachet that attaches to springing goatherds from the clutches of the Bush police state but it’s not inconceivable that it’s yet another by-product of the vast amount of walking-around money various jihad-friendly front organizations have sluiced about the western world. I agree that idle speculation isn’t terribly useful, but, given that The New York Times has managed to shut down the wire-transfer surveillance program, it’s pretty much all that’s left.