The Campaign Spot

Is Anyone Else Reacting Completely Differently to that ‘1 in 7’ Figure?

A quick point on this much-discussed story in the New York Times:

An unreleased Pentagon report concludes that about one in seven of the 534 prisoners already transferred abroad from the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, are engaged in terrorism or militant activity, according to administration officials.

Two administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said the report was being held up by Defense Department employees fearful of upsetting the White House, at a time when even Congressional Democrats have begun to show misgivings over Mr. Obama’s plan to close Guantánamo.

Is it just me, or does 1 in 7 seem astonishingly low?

Picture it: You’re a terrorist. You fight the Americans, the fight doesn’t go well, you get captured, you get shipped to Bagram, they ship you to Guantanamo Bay, you sit around in orange jumpsuits, you get interrogated, you watch some television, you smash the television when it shows a woman with bare arms, you eat, you put on some weight, and eventually, for one reason or another, the Americans decide to let you free.

Six out of seven decide to find another career? Really? That actually seems like an astonishing success rate, all things considered.

Not that I’m saying, “let ‘em out,” just that I’m surprised that more don’t decide, “back to the fight.”

UPDATE: Readers note that the ones released are the ones who are deemed least important to al-Qaeda, having committed the least serious crimes, and the ones that they find least likely to return to the battlefield, which explains the ratio to a certain degree. Nonetheless, my point stands – we’re hearing this report is being held back because there’s a perception it would hurt the administration’s case, when I’m not quite sure that is the case.


The Latest