Another view of the release of the Uighurs

The Center for Constitutional Rights approves of the court decision that the Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo should be released in the United States. I don’t understand the timeline of what has happened, since this is dated July 21. At any rate, it begins:

July 21, 2008, New York — Today, for the first time, a federal court ordered the release into the United States of 17 innocent Uighur men who have been imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay for nearly seven years. The men are refugees who would face persecution and imprisonment, if not death, if returned to their native China.

The story this group tells about the Uighurs is different from the government’s.

The 17 men currently imprisoned at Guantánamo left China amid increasing political oppression and found their way to Afghanistan, where they lived in small Uighur communities. In late 2001, they were forced to flee the aerial bombardment of the surrounding areas. Eventually, they made their way to Pakistan in the belief that they would be safer there. After crossing into Pakistan, the Uighurs were welcomed and fed by Pakistani villagers who then turned them over for generous bounties offered by the United States.

As I quoted in a previous post,

The government has asserted that the Uighurs were members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and trained at camps affiliated with the Taliban or al-Qaeda. The Bush administration designated ETIM a terrorist organization in August 2002, after the Uighurs were taken into custody.

And Andy McCarthy, who has more experience than practically anybody at prosecuting jihadists, wrote :

Jihadists — and there is not question that the Uighurs are jihadists — do not recognize distinctions based on the Westphalia world of nation-states. In their view, it is Dar al Islam or Dar al Harb: i.e., you are either part of the realm of the Muslims or the realm of war, and the goal is to turn Dar al Harb into Dar al Islam by any means necessary. Releasing trained jihadists into the United States on the theory that their beef is with the Chinese and they have no problem with us would be a delusional act of suicide.

I wouldn’t give much credence to the alternative view — those who want the Guantanamo prisoners released usually portray them as a just short of misunderstood angels — but the article says Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has called for the U.S. to grant protection to the imprisoned Uighurs, and he is someone whose views I usually respect. Still, I remain skeptical.

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