Sunday, January 24, 2010

Guantanamo and Jihadist Propaganda- The Biggest Problem.

Yesterday my law student older brother posted a article headlined: Local lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo see big changes. Apparently something about the legal machinations inherent in the legal issues brought out is of interest to my brother. He indicated he would like to work on these issues in the future, but I am not sure what that means because there are several avenues of possibility.

Anyway, this article got me thinking about the proficiency and competence of our legal system and the conduct of the lawyers up to this point. From where I am sitting the legal system and lawyers in it get a very low grade because they have made what I regard to be inexcusable mistakes.

What are the inexcusable mistakes?

We have released a multitude of detainees that ended up right back on the battlefield, sometimes in leadership positions.

Note: I see from my Google research that a do gooder over at Huffington Post disputes the numbers given; mostly on the basis that some of these guys being counted have only engaged in anti-US agitation propaganda and have not gone back to the blood and guts battlefield per se. OK suppose I grant that anti-US agitation propaganda in a time of war is fine and dandy and so these guys shouldn't be counted and just to be ultra conservative lets say only 5 of the people believed to have taken up arms, really have.

Even if the number is only 5 that is a disaster of epic proportions and here's why?

These 5 will exist as a propaganda and recruiting bonanza orders of magnitude worse than the humane (or inhumane for that matter) detention of a few hundred possibly innocent Muslims. With those that are detained and suspected of being no threat we can always take steps to make the situation more palatable and pleasant to those detained; These efforts can be showcased to counter the jihadist propaganda that we are Christian ogres that eat Muslims for breakfast. In contrast the 5 that go back to fighting get to tell tall tails about how we are Christian ogres that eat Muslims for breakfast and their accusations are sure to be spread as far and wide as jihadist propagandists can distribute them. With them free we totally lose control of the message.

Worse than this the jihadists get to tell their "true story's" about how Allah delivered the faithful mujaheddin from the hand of the infidel. Make no mistake the narrative that invokes the guidance, protection, and intervention of Allah is the most potent arrow in the jihadist propaganda quiver. It is a morale booster for those putting their lives on the line and it is "sign and wonder" that points directly in the direction of the righteousness of the jihadist cause. As far as it is possible to us we cannot and must not give jihadists grounds for claiming miracles that can plausibly be believed as such.

From a distance we can let the hardcore lie all they want, but when that hardcore jihadist lies in the flesh and blood, we have a big problem.

So what to do with those that might be innocent?

This is war, collateral damage is an unfortunate consequence that should be managed with wisdom and a bigger picture in mind. Unfortunately, I don't think very many of our legal minds and absolutely not a single one of the "progressive" ACLU types understands the bigger picture.

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