Wednesday's editorial: Bush's incompetence hurts terrorism fight
- From: periodistalibre@xxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 11:47:48 -0700 (PDT)
The Bush administration’s incompetence in the war on terror was on
full display again recently as charges were dismissed against Mohammed
al-Qahtani, who was reported to have been closely involved in plans
for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The problem is that much of the evidence against Qahtani was extracted
from him through mental and physical abuse at the U.S. detention
facility at Guantanamo Bay. Hooding, physical mistreatment,
intimidation by dogs and long-term isolation have tainted the case
A top Pentagon official recently decided which 9/11 cases in
Guantanamo Bay would move forward to a military trial by commission.
She affirmed charges against five alleged terrorists but dismissed the
charges against Qahtani.
Some of the five detainees who will face trial were also abused. But
“clean teams” were later assigned to try to gather evidence that would
be more admissible in court.
Let’s hope that laborious project will be able to salvage those cases.
But it is extremely frustrating that Bush and his past troubling
appointees as defense secretary and attorney general encouraged brutal
interrogation tactics that might have persuaded prisoners to say just
That has hobbled prosecutors, just as the administration’s critics
have long warned.
The administration’s interrogation policies were a betrayal of
fundamental American values, including the Christian ones that Bush
claims so fervently to champion.
It should be remembered that the Founding Fathers explicitly renounced
cruelty even against people convicted of crimes, let alone those
suspected of them.
In addition, the Bush administration has lectured the world — and
particularly the Muslim countries — at great length about the
importance of respecting human rights. The derision at this hypocrisy
can be heard echoing around the globe.
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