Thursday, May 08, 2008

the wages of sin

Laughing on the outside, crying on the inside. . . well, really crying on the outside, too.

One line in this AP report caused me to half laugh/half gasp:

A Kuwaiti who had been imprisoned in Guantanamo for more than 3 1/2 years carried out a recent suicide attack in Iraq, the U.S. military said Wednesday.

Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi took part in one of three suicide bomb attacks last month in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Scott Rye, a military spokesman.

. . . .

Al-Ajmi, 29, was transferred in 2005 to Kuwait, where the government was supposed to ensure he would not pose a threat. In May 2006, a Kuwaiti court acquitted him and four other former Guantanamo prisoners of terrorism charges.

. . . .

"It is unknown what motivated him to leave Kuwait and go to Iraq," Rye said. "His family members reportedly were shocked to hear he had conducted a suicide bombing."

“Unknown what motivated him”—really? What could have possibly happened in the half-dozen years that would turn a man against US interests in the Middle East? Oh, wait, here’s something:

Military documents previously released to AP show that al-Ajmi was "constantly in trouble" while in Guantanamo and held in disciplinary blocks during his detention. He also allegedly told officials in August 2004 that "he now is a jihadist, an enemy combatant, and that he will kill as many Americans as he possibly can."

Tom Wilner, a lawyer who represented Kuwaiti prisoners at Guantanamo, said al-Ajmi had a broken arm during one of their meetings at the base in Cuba and that he alleged he had been injured by guards who interrupted him while he prayed.

Wilner called the alleged suicide attack a "tragedy" that could have been avoided with court hearings for prisoners held at Guantanamo, where the U.S. now holds about 270 men.

"The lack of a process results in tragic mistakes on both sides," the lawyer said.

I’m not sure how Wilner is defining “sides”. . . or “mistake,” for that matter. This just seems like one big, well-rounded tragedy.

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