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August 25, 2009
Young Guantanamo detainee returns home to Afghanistan

The prison at Guantanamo Bay. Photo: Department of Defense

One of the legacies of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is the detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan man, was one of the youngest people ever held at the prison.

Jawad was accused of throwing a grenade at troops.

Now about 21 years old, Jawad was released and returned to Afghanistan on Monday after spending almost seven years at Guantanamo.

Was detention at Guantanamo the right treatment for Mohammed Jawad, or not? How should the United States deal with terror suspects arrested while they are still children? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

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Comments

24 comments

#24

I am filled with shame for myself and my country whenever I think of the savagery of our treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. This treatment is especially heinous when directed at an adolescent child. After WW I and WW II many prisoners elected to stay here, having had a taste of democracy even in an American prison camp. We win hearts and minds by example, not terror. We have sunk to the terrorists level.

#23

You don’t deter terrorism by torture you do it by telling the truth.

“What ultimately led to the deradicalization of the Liberation Theology movement—or, for that matter, the environmental movement, the antiglobalization, the feminist movement, the black power movement, and so on—was the gradual co-option of their members’ grievances into mainstream society. Indeed, when it comes to dealing with a social movement [global Jihadism], society has only two options: either it can address the members’ grievances, thereby making the movement irrelevant, or it can deflect those grievances and further radicalize the movement.” (Aslan’s “How to Win a Cosmic War” p. 139)

“Everybody’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s a really easy way: stop participating in it.”
-Noam Chomsky

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=676452061991429040

#22

Al Qaeda recruits young people because they are malleable, idealistic, and they believe what the leaders say. That is unfortunate. That doesn’t mean that a young person isn’t as lethal as a middle-aged person when it comes to setting off bombs to kill as many people as possible – preferably Americans. These are people who say, “Death to America,” and believe those words. As to detaining a young terrorist, in ANY facility, there is a saying, “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” In the U.S. we seem to be getting our priorities in a twist these days.

#21

#20 here in the US we do not program our children from birth to self detonate, kill as many as possible in the name of Ala

You compare apples to semtex?

#20

Any young kid should not be detained with Adults detainees. Here in the U.S., they have juvenile detention and adult detention.

I’m not saying this young guy did or didn’t do what he was accused of. I wasn’t there!

However, I do know that it’s possible. I know there are kids in the Middle East that do things that are influenced by bad people. I know there are kids here in the states that does things influenced by bad people – both on a criminal level.

All said, I think there should be a juvenile detention if they are going to detain youngsters. The only thing, some of the teenage males can, by Western standards, appear to be much older than they are. Example, a 16-year-old may, according to Western standards, appear to be in their early twenties.

#19

To put this in perspective one needs to realize that many of the people we threw into prison and often tortured had noting to do with terrorism. An eight-month McClatchy investigation in 11 countries on three continents has found that hundreds have been wrongfully imprisoned in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments.

McClatchy interviewed 66 released detainees, more than a dozen local officials — primarily in Afghanistan — and U.S. officials with intimate knowledge of the detention program. The investigation also reviewed thousands of pages of U.S. military tribunal documents and other records.

This unprecedented compilation shows that most of the 66 were low-level Taliban grunts, innocent Afghan villagers or ordinary criminals. At least seven had been working for the U.S.-backed Afghan government and had no ties to militants, according to Afghan local officials. In effect, many of the detainees posed no danger to the United States or its allies.

The investigation also found that despite the uncertainty about whom they were holding, U.S. soldiers beat and abused many prisoners.

Prisoner mistreatment became a regular feature in cellblocks and interrogation rooms at Bagram and Kandahar air bases, the two main way stations in Afghanistan en route to Guantanamo.

The McClatchy reporting also documented how U.S. detention policies fueled support for extremist Islamist groups. For some detainees who went home far more militant than when they arrived, Guantanamo became a school for jihad, or Islamic holy war.

Consider what it would be like to be captured on your way to work and hooded and tortured and put in jail with no contact to your family and friends and no trial!

This is what our tax money was used for during the Bush Administration.

#18

Kill the roots and the tree of hate dies

Like a mad dog you starve it until it conforms, if the root of hate can not be broken you still have hate

All misguided must be lead, when hate is the teacher and the words are handed down from birth with no other word spoken you have a trained dog

The Tall One has dentin many of the regions youth to a life in a cage and by their training are content with an AK as the only toy

There is no child only trained hate ready to explode for a false profit

When the Tall One surrenders in the name of Goooooober the dogs will self destruct and be set free with none to follow the ignorant ways

#17

to steal from Newton, Islam stands on the shoulders Jewish scripture and Jesus.

Hussain, “Oil & Water”:
“Of the biblical prophets, Moses is named most often in the Qur’an – more than 200 times. Jesus is mentioned more than 90 times. By contrast, Muhammad is only mentioned by name four times.” (53)
“Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, indicates that that from 1980 to 2004 the world leader in suicide terrorism was not a Muslim group, but the Tamil Tigers (a Marxist Hindu group in Sri Lanka.)” (136)

#16

Since there seems to be some anti-Islamic comments:

Islam is not the enemy.

“Like Jews, Muslims do not believe that someone else can atone for our sins,” (Hussain’s “Oil & Water”, 191).

It seems not to matter that, on the topic of suicide, the Qur’an is absolutely clear: “Do not kill yourself; if someone does so [God] shall cast him into Hell” (4:29-30). Nor does it seem important that countless sayings (Hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad refer to the gruesome punishment that awaits those who take their own lives: “Whoever purposely throws himself from a mountain and kills himself, he will forever be falling into the fire of Hell, wherein he will abide eternally; whoever drinks poison and kills himself with it, he will forever be carrying his poison in his hand and drinking it in the fire of Hell, wherein he will abide eternally; whoever kills himself with an iron weapon, will forever be carrying that weapon in his hand and stabbing his abdomen with it in the fire of Hell, wherein he will abide eternally. The Qur’an is equally unambiguous in its injunction against killing women, children, the elderly, protected minorities, and, most significantly, other Muslims. Some Jihadist ideologues go to great lengths to try to justify both suicide terrorism and attacks against fellow Muslims or civilian targets (“If the unbelievers kill young and old,” argues Yusuf al-Ayiri, the Saudi Jihadist who was once bin Laden’s bodyguard, “then Muslims should be permitted to do the same”). (Aslan’s “How to Win a Cosmic War”, 102)

Prophet Muhammad lived in the 7th Century so he knew about the teaching of the Jews and Jesus, so he’s post the gospels and the mishnah, thus allowing his philosophy to be more developed.

Baghdad had the first paper mill.

From my understanding the Muslims were preserving the knowledge and wisdom of Greece and India by translating texts into Arabic while the West was still in the Middle Ages. They also made many medical, astronomical and mathematical advances and had built an enormous empire within an extremely small time period compared to the hundreds of years the Roman Empire was trying to expand. We still use Arabic Numerals (concept of zero from India), in fact—nearly the whole world does.

The West needs to understand there lived an extremely progressive culture under Islam.

It is not barbaric, modern Western culture is.

***

Detaining anyone at Guantanamo isn’t the right treatment–no matter what age.

These prisoners should be visited by non-violent Muslim clerics to help reform their interpretation of Islam.

Waterboarding, mock executions, stress positions, threatening the lives of family members of prisoners, drill guns etc. are still nothing compared to Training SAVAK Nazi torture techniques and Suharto’s Kopassus were worse than the Taliban (whom we also gave billions to)–maybe we should watch who we give weapons to.

#15

It truly frightens me that we treat children like adults. When I think of how unsure I was of myself at age 14 and how easily I might have been influenced or pushed into doing something dangerous or wrong -because I didn’t know how to stand up for myself -I thank my lucky stars that I survived. Surely I wasn’t the only insecure and easily malleable teen. I was raised with good values and morals but realize that the need to have friends and fit-in could have sent me down the wrong road without my even realizing where I was going until it was too late.

#14

correction on last comment. Why AREN’T the liberals and human rights orginazations OUTRAGED by how our detainees are treated?

#13

We are to Protect America, Period. He should be treated just like any other detainee!! We treat our detainees GOLDEN compared to how the terrorists treat ours. Why is that so hard for people to understand? Why are the libs and human rights talking about the way the terroists treat us?

#12

I the the crux of the issue is that he MAY have been induced by torture to confess to a crime. Even if he had committed the crime, if there is not evidence against him that can be gathered legally, he must not be detained. His guilt for a crime and the punishment therefore is not the question, but the process that he was caught in that violated his rights as a human. We cannot give ourselves the right to take away the rights of others in this way, even if we purport to be able to do so.

#11

We don’t know all of the facts, so we really can’t make any serious comments regarding the details. However, if I’m to believe what was presented on PBS, NPR, PRI, and Democracy Now (to mention just a few) I would deduce, that many of the Guantanamo detainees were held en mass because of numerous decisions that were made under the Karl Rove-Dick Cheney administration, and the wars that they orchestrated. So, am I happy that Mohammad Jawad was released? YES! Am I happy that an inquiry to the behavior of the US during that period went unchecked? NO! There is so much to speculate about, should we pursue justice, in order to reclaim our dignity in the world? Probably!

#10

Treating a child as a child while being detained,
will gain it’s respect and the Worlds.

#9

To know what to do with the prisoners, shouldn’t we know who they are and under what circumstances they came to be at this now infamous Bay of Guantanao?
How many American know that many of the prisoners came to Guantanamo through bounty hunters? (In a poor country almost anyone could be fair game.) How many know that “fewer than 10 percent of Guantanamo’s prisoners were high value terrorist operatives”? (Michael Scheuer, CIA) What most Americans have heard is that these detainees have been called “the worst of the worst.” (Secretary Rumfeld, Vice President Cheney)
Without charge or trial, as in the case of Mohammad Jawad, detainees have been judged terrorists. Thankfully, U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle ruled him innocent. “This is an outrage,” she said. She told the Justice Department lawyers, “I don’t understand your case. . .seven years and your case is full of holes. . .” Surely this trial should have taken place seven years ago.
I am happy to know Mohammad Jawad is released. I was happy to see his happy face as he was reunited with his family. But after wrongfully kidnapping and torturing him (and others), are we just going to send him home as though nothing happened? Will there be any compensation for those who have been wrongfully held all these years? What shall be done for Mohammad Jawad captured as a teenager?
For the future and good of our country we cannot just move on ignoring what happened at Guantanamo Bay. I pray we do not just dole out prisoners to other countries or even the United States without due process of law and without making sure the Geneva Convention is adhered to.
Guantanamo Bay–the very words now evoke injustice and torture indicative of a shameful part of our present history. However, it is not the place, but the treatment received in this place that is at fault. The longer we wait to acknowledge the truth and do something about it, the greater will be the price we pay as a nation. Why not uproot the wrong, and turn it around to plant and build and multiply it as seed for good? So that those who suffered here will not have suffered in vain? Can we believe in redemption? Why not transform this symbol of torture–this bay–into a haven of understanding, justice and hope–an example of what we really are and want to be as Americans?

#8

Al, #1 and John # 5 are right on! You threaten our troops like a man you pay like a man. I wonder how our captured soldier in Afghanistan is being treated?

Radical Muslims will not stop their uncivilized behavior because we respect their human rights. They will only stop this madness when they are forced to with overwhelming force. No mercy for the merciless!

Consider that many Muslims believe that infidels, (That’s us), can be enslaved. Consider that as a Muslim you are not permitted to renounce Islam. If you convert to a Christian you can be killed.
Consider the inequality of women in Muslim society.

Wake up America. Our thought processes are based on our Judeo Christian beliefs. Muslim behaviors are based upon their beliefs in the Koran, completely different belief systems. They just do not reason with the same values.

#7

It was ludicrous that a teen-age soldier was imprisoned in Guantanamo for 7 years — is that what we proscribe for teen-age soldiers in Africa? Even if “enemy” soldiers are legitimately held as captured “enemy” — under Hague Rules as well as common decency their conditions of imprisonment must conform to international practices.
That The New York Times buried his release & return in an AP story on some inside page is another example of American media’s subservience to populist, know-nothing opinion.

#6

A teenager, coerced to confess to a crime he denies committing, is held in Guantanamo for 7 years and a judge finally says the case is “full of holes” and orders him released. It’s a decision that’s long overdue and we should be ashamed of our slovenly processing of this case. We believed notoriously corrupt Afghan police who probably received money for turning him in and took pressure off themselves by supposedly “solving” the bombing.

#5

The good pay for the bad. So he was only 12, boo hoo. This should not even be a question let alone an issue. The nation and its people must be protected above all else. Today, groups like the ACLU, MOVE ON.ORG AND HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ARE AT WAR WITH AMERICA and have done everything to eviscerate the nation’s attempt to protect itself and its people. FDR WOULD NEVER HAVE STOOD FOR THIS. America would profit if members of these groups were sent on a long trip to GITMO.

#4

oops typeo! i ment when you are young you donot think through your actions, and jawad is 21 not 25.

#3

althought i agree with al, i do think age matters. when you are young you donot think trough your actions and make very good chocies. if what people think is true, he was only 12 when he commited this crime,which means he was just a kid. i do agree though that he should be properly detentioned, but not so much as to be tortured. its just like a child throwing a tanchroom. the child should have a time out, to think about what he had done and why it was the wrong thing to do. but should no be tortured. but if the child had thrown another tanchroom, the child should have a harder conaquense. so if Jawad commites another crime, at age 25, with 7 years in prison behind him then he should be detenioned more serverly.

#2

Haydon summed up my feelings in 6 words!

#1

Of course the arrest was proper and the detention a Quantanomo was proper. He should still be detained. When he kills his next American victims, and he will, the judge can explain to the families why he was released. As far as his age, had he actually succeeded with the attempted murder, the Americans would be just as dead as if he were 25. I don’t think age should ever be a factor in criminal justice. The crimes are just a heinous, the victims just as violated, and the perp just as responsible.

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