The Warrior Scholar

This is a blog about current events - a way to provide a constructive outlet for some of the thoughts I have on the issues of the day. It's also a way to generate some discussion and to get my ideas out into the world. Enjoy!

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Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

I'm a doctoral candidate in Virginia, with a love of history and politics. My dog is a great companion, and my family always keeps me in good spirits.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Former Gitmo Inmate Killed in Afghanistan

There is always quite a bit of discussion as to if the "Global War on Terrorism" is actually a war or more of a police action, punctuated by the use of force when the terrorists can't be controlled using law enforcement methods. In truth, both are true - police methods are used when terrorists are operating in the more controlled areas of the world where law enforcement can actually make a dent in the terrorist infrastructure, and combat operations in places where the writ of law does has not been extended yet.

One of the problems with the grey area of modern terrorism is the question of what do you do with terrorists after they have been captured? Seven Al Quida/Taliban prisoners that have been released from Gitmo and "sent home", including former Taliban commander Maulvi Abdul Ghaffar, have later been killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan fighting American troops. While various human rights groups have been decrying the imprisonment of these terrorists in Cuba, it is becoming clear that releasing them doesn't help much, either. Under the Geneva Conventions, one of the premises is that at the end of a conflict agreed to by competent authority, prisoners are released to return to their homes. The state for whom they served makes a promise (in the form of a peace treaty) that they will not take up arms again because the war is over. Al Quida and the Taliban don't appear to be following these rules - much like they don't follow most of the civilized world's norms. I don't think we will be able to detain the prisoners in Gitmo forever, but if they keep popping up on battlefields fighting against us again, then that bodes ill for the future. Up till now, the number of detainees in Gitmo has been around 550, with a total of 202 released or transferred to other governments since the fall of the Taliban.

What to do about it? Not real sure. Imprisonment doesn't seem to sway the terrorists, and letting them go appears to make our soldiers targets. I am not a fan of tossing a person's human rights, but when a prisoner has a high probability of simply taking up arms again as part of the jihad, then maybe life imprisonment is in order to stop this threat. If found on the battlefield again, then terminal measures are required.

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