Connect the dots

Regular readers here know of my keen interest in all things Gitmo, these days. So it will come as no surprise that I find this piece in the Washington Post documenting the “mysterious” case of former Guantanamo Bay detainee and now resident of Morocco Abdallah Tabarak to be of above-average interest. It seems that after around three years at Gitmo, Tabarak was released by American authorities to Morocco in 2004.
What our Government contended Mr. Tabarak did (as a basis for holding him) was that, aside from serving as one of OBL’s personal bodyguards, Mr. Tabarak helped facilitate OBL’s escape by sacrificing himself: Tabarak supposedly took OBL’s personal satellite phone (which American forces purportedly honed in on thinking OBL himself was heading from Tora Bora toward the Pakistani border) while, in fact, OBL himself (less one satellite phone and one bodyguard) went in the opposite direction with entourage and dialysis machine, and American forces chasing a satellite phone, rather than chasing him.
That sure sounds like a serious, big-time A.Q. operative to me, hardly someone we should have just let go. Except that we did. And I find that quite troubling, especially when we learn that we are holding others (the government insists possibly for life) merely for “being present at Tora Bora“, or for being in OBL’s motor pool, or for no reason at all except being from the same country that Mohammed Atta lived in.
Except, of course, that unlike the other schmucks still being warehoused and, in many cases, abused if not outright tortured at Gitmo… Tabarak’s own government demanded him back. Hence, political expedience trumped anything else we had going (intelligence gathering, releasing a dangerous man, etc.) Gotta have your priorities straight.
That is our system of “justice”, or whatever it is we call it, “at work”. It seems consistent with everything else the Bush Administration is doing: if it works (such as having law enforcement units hunt down terrorists and thwart terrorism in a manner consistent with complying with the law and protectimg actual civil and constitutional rights of American citizens, or having Medicaid provide prescription drugs to needy seniors, or having an emergency management agency that is capable of managing actual emergencies), then break it… and if (or more accurately, when) the Administration fails at something, use this as a further justification for yet more unchecked power…
But for the immense human suffering, torture, death and/or disfigurement for thousands upon thousands of human beings… this might all be hilarious.