Give them liberty or give them…?

What about these Gitmo five hard cases? What’s a poor President Obama to do? Ed Morrissey takes up the matter:

Just in case anyone had any doubt, the Gitmo detainees held on charges relating to 9/11 want everyone to know that the US made no mistake in keeping them locked up for the last seven years. In fact, not only have they confessed to their involvement during CIA questioning, they have just issued a press release bragging about it:

The five detainees at Guantánamo Bay charged with planning the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have filed a document with the military commission at the United States naval base there expressing pride at their accomplishment and accepting full responsibility for the killing of nearly 3,000 people.
The document, which may be released publicly on Tuesday, uses the Arabic term for a consultative assembly in describing the five men as the “9/11 Shura Council,” and it says their actions were an offering to God, according to excerpts of the document that were read to a reporter by a government official who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. …
In their filing, the men describe the planning of the Sept. 11 attacks and the killing of Americans as a model of Islamic action, and say the American government’s accusations cause them no shame, according to the excerpts read by the government official.
“To us,” the official continued reading, “they are not accusations. To us they are a badge of honor, which we carry with honor.”

The New York Times does not identify all five, but do include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi. KSM insists that he masterminded the attacks, which fits exactly what his confession stated; Osama bin Laden had the overall idea, and KSM organized it into action.
Some wonder whether the government could win a criminal court case against KSM and bin al-Shibh after their waterboarding, which non-military courts would see as coercion, if not torture. This removes all of the remaining suspense, doesn’t it? Freely given statements in custody are certainly admissible in any US court. That admission alone would be enough to find them guilty of 3,000 counts of murder, terrorism, and conspiracy. In war, that gets a death penalty, which is exactly what they want.
The Times offers this analysis:

Several of the men have earlier said in military commission proceedings at Guantánamo that they planned the 2001 attacks and that they sought martyrdom. The strategic goal of the five men in making the new filing, which reached the military court on March 5, was not clear.

Of course it’s clear. They’re tired of being stuck at Gitmo and want to get martyred. We can either accommodate their request or find a way to lock them up for life, and frankly, I’m not sure which is more appealing. We should stop dancing around it and make a decision one way or the other, and soon.

Another view of “hard cases”, from Elizabeth Drew in the NY Review of Books:

…[President Obama’s] sweeping orders left some difficult issues to be dealt with by panels the President established.what to do with the remaining 245 Guantánamo prisoners, some of them hard cases to resolve because of tainted evidence or contradictory government reports…

Then there’s this gem from Ms Drew:

…Politicians howled that they didn’t want Guantánamo prisoners in their states (as if they were more dangerous than rapists and murderers)…

Oh dear. See above.
Mark C.
Update: Not to mention Canadians; I wonder what Ms Drew might say (link to first AP story has been changed to reflect enlarged AP piece):

The Taliban’s new top operations officer in southern Afghanistan had been a prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the latest example of a freed detainee who took a militant leadership role and a potential complication for the Obama administration’s efforts to close the prison. U.S. authorities handed over the detainee to the Afghan government, which in turn released him, according to Pentagon and CIA officials. …

Via Gap at

5 thoughts on “Give them liberty or give them…?

  1. greyburr says:

    Send them all up to Canada.The liberals up here love omar khdar and would just look at the rest as his extended family.The liberal party would piss themselves in glee at another sure fire voters base.

  2. DaninVan says:

    “…and feed them nothing but pork and rice.”
    Rice?! Bloody hell; parsnips and Brussels sprouts or starve. 😉

  3. John B says:

    Mark: I’m glad to see you picked up the story on Mullah Abdullah Zakir. I first heard it this morning on the BBC World news.

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