Gitmo Is Still Wrecking Our American Soul (Part of the "Not Talking About Trump for One Fucking Day" Series)

(Note: The Rude Pundit has made the executive decision that if he spends every day reacting to whatever bullshit is coming out of the primary races, he will lose his goddamn mind and end up going on a 50-state killing spree. To prevent that, he will spend at least a couple of days a week not saying cruel things about Ted Cruz and not overexplaining how Democrats should calm the fuck down. In this way, he will stay superior to CNNMSNBCFox.)

Mohammed Bwazir was, by all accounts, a fuck-up from Yemen who stumbled his way from being a charity worker into becoming a soldier for al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan for a brief period of time. Through a series of not-wacky misadventures, he ended up at the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002, held without charge, after being detained months before by Afghani and then American forces. He was debriefed pretty quickly, and a military tribunal decided in 2007 to recommend him for release. No, he wasn't the best prisoner - he went on hunger strikes regularly - but he was considered a low threat and of low intelligence value (even if he was deemed a medium risk for returning to the front for the Taliban, probably because he had no other way to make a living). In other words, he didn't really know shit, and there was no reason he should be at Gitmo.

Nine years later, just a couple of weeks ago, Bwazir was about to go onto a plane that would take him away from his prison since 2002, and he balked literally at the entrance. He didn't want to go where the State Department was going to send him. He wanted to go to Saudi Arabia or Indonesia or someplace where he has relatives, not the unnamed country in southern Europe he was being relocated to. He was brought back to his cell, still in the shackles he was wearing as he approached the plane. It was the first time any detainee had gone through all the processing necessary to get out of Gitmo before bailing at the last minute.

The State Department's special envoy to Gitmo, Lee Wolosky, said that they might end up having to force some detainees to get on planes so they can clear out the prison. "We’re not a travel agency. We’re not here to fulfill every wish and desire of a resettlee," he told the Miami Herald. "They do not get to pick and choose where they go. In certain circumstances, a detainee would be forced on to an aircraft in order to complete a resettlement."

Roll that around in your head for a few seconds. The United States has kept detainees, of which there are currently 91, in a legal limbo, away from their lives, their families, everything, for nearly a decade and a half. Mohammed Bwazir gave officials all the information he had, according to their assessment: "Detainee is assessed to be substantially exploited. He has provided numerous and detailed reports on his story and timeline, to include available paramilitary training and front line locations and personnel." The only value he might have had was whether he knew any of the other detainees, in the hundreds by that 2008 assessment. Yet it was still recommended that he be released.

Bwazir cooperated. The Department of Defense said he could be released. And we didn't even try to release him until this year. We kept him in a black hole where at one point he wanted to commit suicide in order to protest his detention. But there is the State Department envoy saying, in essence, "Fuck this guy. He should be grateful we're not dropping him in the ocean covered in chum."

Bwazir's lawyer said, "He’s been in Guantánamo so long that he was terrified about going to a country other than one where he had family." While at Gitmo, he has received very little in the way of job training or anything. We took him when he was 21 or so and now we want to put him back in the world in his mid-30s after spending his adult life so far in a prison for no reason, for having his number come up on a roulette wheel of the damned.

And we tried to send him somewhere completely alien. We obviously expected him to treat us as liberators and thank us with flowers and candy.