After reading a report earlier this week which references various law enforcement pamphlets which detail behaviours of potential terrorists (“If you encounter any of the following, call the Joint Terrorism Task Force”), I was quite naturally inspired to look back over the body of writing I have produced during the last year or so and see how I compare to their profiling attempts. Now, taking the body of work as a whole, I think it is safe to say that I have a pretty weighty terrorist inclination. But if you look at any individual essay, I have to say I come up short. There are ones which repeatedly reference the Constitution, for example, but leave out any mention of driving being a right rather than a privilege. There are places where I state that Americans have the right to bear arms, but neglect to mention that I am essentially a loner. I know that I can do better, and I am here to prove it.
On January 11, 2002, the first prisoners arrived at Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba. Despite much public objection, calls by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, and several legal battles, we still hold over 400 prisoners in Guantanamo today. We are told that these men are the “worst of the worst”, “obvious threats to national security”, “Islamofascists”, and “terrorists”. We use these epithets to justify our new definitions which allow us to hold them outside the regulations of the Geneva Conventions, outside of previous United States law, and outside of our general moral concerns. It is worth a moment of our time, then, to consider who these men actually are, what we intend to do with them, and whether our means will justify our bespoken ends.
Of the 775 men and boys who have been held as “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo, about 340 have been released, 110 are scheduled for release, around 70 are to stand trial, and around 250 “may be held indefinitely”. Only ten have been charged with anything at all.