"Killers" Set Free:
President Bush on the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay:
"These are killers." - January 28, 2002
"The ones in Guantanamo Bay are killers...They would like nothing more than to come after America, or our friends and allies." - March 20, 2002
"These are people that got scooped up off a battlefield, attempting to kill U.S. troops." - December 20, 2004
"They will get a trial which they, themselves, were unwilling to give to the people that they're willing to kill -- 'they,' the enemy." - May 4, 2006
An Afghan intelligence official on Mohammad Aman, held at Guantanamo Bay from late 2003-late 2006:
"This is why he was wrongly arrested." "This" refers to how his co-workers, who didn't like him because he was cranky and obnoxious, fabricated charges against Aman, who was a colonel and a desk jockey in the Afghan Defense Ministry.
The 66 former Gitmo inmates profiled by McClatchy news demonstrate that very, very few of nearly 800 men detained by the United States were, in fact, killers of any sort. Indeed, some of them actively supported the U.S. against the Taliban and al-Qaeda: "In effect, many of the detainees posed no danger to the United States or its allies. The investigation also found that despite the uncertainty about whom they were holding, U.S. soldiers beat and abused many prisoners."
While, like so many reports and investigations do these days, this only confirms what we already knew, we now can say that, in our American name, innocent people were held in cells, separated from their families, lives, and communities, interrogated, often being beaten and tortured, and they had no legitimate way of saying, "Yo, not a killer over here."
When conservatives go ballistic over last week's Supreme Court decision saying that detainees actually can challenge their detention, when John McCain calls it "one of the worst decisions in history," they are saying that America should not be any better than its enemies, that innocence is a technicality, and that the powerless deserve their fates.