I would thank David Ignatius not to try and save my soul. I think him incompetent to the task, as evidenced by the blindness and moral confusion of his outrageous June 14 column in the Washington Post:
When I hear U.S. officials describe the suicides of three Muslim prisoners at Guantanamo Bay last Saturday as "asymmetric warfare" and "a good PR move," I know it's time to close that camp -- not just because of what it's doing to the prisoners but because of how it is dehumanizing the American captors.
They called it "asymmetric warfare" because that is what these attempts are:
Ten Guantanamo prisoners lured U.S. guards into a cell with a staged suicide attempt, then attacked them with light fixtures, fan blades and other improvised weapons while guards fired rubber balls and used a grenade launcher to subdue them, U.S. officials said on Friday.
Ignatius goes on:
The American officials spoke of the dead prisoners as if they inhabited a different moral universe.
That's because they do, as we are constantly reminded:
Akbar, then 20 and studying at Brunel University, suggested targeting bars and added: "The biggest nightclub in central London where no one can even turn around and say 'oh they were innocent', those slags dancing around and other things."
Apparently referring to the September 11 2001 attacks on America, he added: "Trust me, then you will get the public talking 'cause they targeted economics, yeah, but if you went for the social structure where every Tom, Dick and Harry goes on a Saturday night, yeah, that would be crazy, crazy thing."
We might call it the Guantanamo syndrome -- this process of mutual corrosion and dehumanization.
We might call it Islamofascism, the one-sided hatred of non-muslims that has inspired great violence against the West, against people that Mr. Ignatius ought to consider his neighbor more quickly than he does people who would just assume he be subjugated to their God.
A start in re-humanizing these prisoners is a remarkable book called "Enemy Combatant" by Moazzam Begg...Begg is a radical Muslim, but there is no evidence he was an active member of al-Qaeda or that he engaged in terrorist operations...He drifted toward radical Islam as a young man and began raising money for Muslim fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan.
That he did not directly participate in terrorism is why Mr. Begg was released from Guantanamo; that he actively supported those who did, and perhaps did more, is why he was imprisoned in the first place. Let us not forget the people Mr. Begg helped to support. How much were his efforts worth to actions such as these, all pre-9/11:
U.S. official sees similarities between USS Cole blast and embassy attacks
Islamic four guilty of bombing US embassies
Police foil terror plot to use sarin gas in London
The blasts which shook Russia
When we think about Guantanamo, we need to follow that same rule. The prisoners aren't all the same, except in one sense: They are human beings and, as such, they have basic human rights. That recognition is our own escape from Guantanamo.
Their rights have been respected, though I doubt Mr. Ignatius would care to see his premise invalidated:
The head of the delegation, Abdul Jabar Sabhet of the Interior Ministry, said the delegation was given the chance to speak freely with all 96 Afghan prisoners about their living conditions. Sabhet said there were "only one or two" complaints.
"Conditions of the jail was humane. There were rumors in this country about that. It was wrong. What we have seen was OK," he said.
Sabhet's assessment comes five days after the suicides of three detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.
[Via Captain's Quarters]
As I said at the outset, I would prefer Mr. Ignatius not try to save my soul. I'll take my chances before St. Peter without his help.
See also Villainous Company.