Debra J. Saunders

The commission refers to Russian military vet Mingazov as "a ballet dancer." Facing anti-Muslim discrimination in the military, it writes, Mingazov traveled to a Muslim country where he could practice his faith. After his detention, the commission asserts, Mingazov "was so afraid to return to Russia that he fabricated stories about himself -- that he had attended the al-Farouq training camp and that he had listened to Usama bin Laden" because he wanted to be sent to Gitmo.

Has he been cleared? No.

One federal judge -- Henry H. Kennedy of the District Court for the District of Columbia -- granted Mingazov's habeas corpus appeal on the grounds that authorities did not meet "the standard for lawful detention." This judge bought Mingazov's claim that he lied about attending al-Qaida training camp and being trained in explosives -- and maybe the judge was right. I would have a little more faith in his thinking if the judge had shown more concern that Mingazov spent a night in the Pakistan home of al-Qaida biggie Abu Zubaydah.

A little humility is in order here. Under President George W. Bush, 530 of Gitmo's 779 detainees were released or transferred. Joscelyn noted, "It's not like these guys were sent there and somebody locked the door and threw away the key." Figure that after all these years, the obvious cases already have been handled.

I understand the left's frustration with President Obama. As a candidate, Obama happily referred to Guantanamo Bay as "a recruiting tool for al-Qaida." The left ate it up. Fresh in office, he signed an executive order to close Gitmo within a year.

Yet, as president, Obama came to see that it's a lot easier to talk tough on detainees' rights when you don't have to worry about what they might do and whom they might hurt if released. It may have been fun to bash Bush on Gitmo, but now Obama's in charge -- and even a low-level loser can do a lot of damage.

The Berkeley City Council remains in the easy seat where talk is cheap. Or as UC Berkeley law professor and former Bush White House attorney John Yoo noted, "It's the perfect combination of futility and stupidity. It is futile because what happens to Gitmo detainees is up to the federal government. It is stupid because only Berkeley would want to be a magnet for resettlement of Gitmo detainees."

Pity the poor Peace & Justice crowd. Gone is the cheap thrill of pretending that all of America's problems would go away, if only George W. Bush weren't in the White House. So in a new act of fiction, Bezerkley plays make-believe by pretending that two Gitmo detainees should be dating your cousin.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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