As a new United Nations Human Rights Commission report demands the closure of the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, President Bush should go in the exact opposite direction and announce a brand-new policy: None of Camp Delta’s 490 enemy combatants shall be released until America wins the War on Terror. The president and his national security team should educate Americans, and our foreign friends and foes alike, about the fact that detainees released from Guantanamo do not always go quietly into the night.
The Pentagon knows of roughly a dozen former Gitmo inhabitants who did not return to the peaceful Koranic reflection from which their leftist defenders seem to believe they were sidelined. At least for some ex-Guantanamites, U.S. military custody was a mere vacation from their Islamofascist violence.
‐In late 2001, U.S. troops in Afghanistan caught Rasul Kudayev, an associate of the al-Qaeda-tied Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, and sent him to Guantanamo. On February 28, 2004, Kudayev and six other Russian detainees were handed to the Kremlin, which freed them that June. Kudayev made headlines in November when Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel accused him of supporting an attack in Nalchik, capitol of the North Caucasus’ Kabardino-Balkariya region.
“First of all, there is his own confession and the testimony of five witnesses, who said he led the military group that assaulted the Interior Ministry’s health facility and the presidential cottage,” Shepel told the Novosti news agency.
Kudayev claims innocence in the October 13 attack, which killed at least 91 Islamic terrorists, along with 35 law-enforcement officers and 12 innocent civilians.
‐Abdullah Mehsud returned to Pakistan in March 2004, after about two years at Guantanamo. Officials in Islamabad believe he now leads an al-Qaeda-linked band of Muslim fanatics that kidnapped two Chinese engineers in October 2004. Terrorists strapped explosives to the chests of these hostages who were working on the Gomal Zam dam in the disorderly South Waziristan province. Pakistani commandoes freed Wang Ende, although Wang Peng died in the crossfire, along with all five abductors.
Despite persuading U.S. officials he would pose no threat if shipped off the base in eastern Cuba, Mehsud more recently told Pakistani journalists that he plans to “fight America and its allies until the very end.” Last June, he called for an “Islamic system” in Pakistan. The one-legged terrorist also declared: “Unless my head is chopped off I will not stop my struggle.”
‐Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar was a top Taliban commander who was caught after Afghanistan’s liberation. According to Interior Minister Ali Jalali, Ghaffar spent about eight months at Guantanamo before his release and repatriation to Afghanistan in the summer of 2002. After learning that he planned to attack police in Chachani, Afghan forces killed Ghaffar and two of his terrorist colleagues in the southern province of Uruzgan on September 25, 2004. According to its governor, Jan Mohammad Khan, Ghaffar also attacked U.S. Special Forces troops and a Helmand district chief, killing three Afghan soldiers.
“The process of assessing detainees is difficult and involves a certain degree of risk,” says Pentagon spokesman Commander Flex Plexico. “Many detainees later identified as having returned to their terrorist activities falsely claimed to be farmers, truck drivers, cooks, small-scale merchants, or low-level combatants.”
Plexico says that detainees “are required to sign a form agreeing that they will not take part in anti-U.S. or terrorist activities after release.” It is a bit odd to suppose that the kinds of people who deliberately blow up Muslim weddings and applaud the stoning of adulteresses also obey contracts with people they aim to kill.
While staying mum on details, the Pentagon says that after leaving Guantanamo, former enemy combatants killed an Afghan judge as he departed a mosque. Others have shot at U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, while even more have been killed in action there.
Some former Gitmoites have not fired their weapons again, but sound eager to do so.
‐Khalil-ur Rahman was freed from Guantanamo in fall 2004 and released to Pakistani authorities. They, in turn, freed him and 16 others last June 27. “If I get a chance to fight jihad again, I will definitely go,” Rahman told the Associated Press’s Matthew Pennington. “I will not miss it.”
‐”Western democracy has no room for people who think differently,” said Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane, a not-so-great Dane who reportedly was caught in a Chechnyan terrorist training camp in Pakistan in early 2002. “There’s no room for me here in Denmark, so I’m going to war in Chechnya, where I can support Muslims and be of some use.”
At the request of the Danish government, which Amnesty International and other human rights groups pressured, Abderrahmane was released from Guantanamo in February 2004 after two years in captivity. Since then, Abderrahmane has dismissed as “toilet paper” the no-more-terrorism contract he signed with U.S. officials before departing Gitmo.
As Henrik Bering reported in the October 18, 2004, Weekly Standard, Abderrahmane said, “I do not identify myself as a Dane or an Algerian,” referring to his mother’s and father’s respective ancestries. “I identify myself as a Muslim, and I will shoot anybody who fights against the cause of Allah on the battlefield.”
To be fair, 187 detainees have been released from Guantanamo, and 80 more have been transferred to foreign countries. Most seem to have avoided trouble. Whether they have foresworn militant Islam or simply evaded scrutiny is anybody’s guess. But as U.N. bureaucrats, well-heeled U.S. lawyers, human rights activists, liberal pundits, and members of Congress demand the release of detainees and even Guantanamo’s closure, they all should understand that America remains at war, and the prisoners at Guantanamo fought in this ongoing conflict. Releasing them before victory makes as much sense as freeing captured Nazis in 1944. Nobody knows how much destruction one, five, twelve, or more Islamofascist murderers can commit once unsupervised.
– 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.