The New America Foundation (NAF) reports that the recidivism rate for released GITMO detainees is not as high as U.S. government officials claim it to be.
Where as U.S. government officials claimed that up to 1 in 4 released GITMO detainees returned to the battlefield, the NAF report suggests that the number is closer to 6% (for those whose post-release activities target the U.S. or one of our allies) and 2% (for those whose post-release activities target countries other than the U.S. or one of our allies).
NAF also noted that the U.S. government has not been forthcoming in providing transparency in the data on recidivism.
It would be instructive to look at the records and the evidence relating to those ex-detainees who are returning to the battlefield. What were the charges that landed them in GITMO in the first place? What kind of evidence did our government have against these individuals? How were these individuals treated while held at GITMO? And why were they released?
I was not aware that GITMO detainees had finite sentences. My understanding was that the men being released were those against whom no charges could be brought for lack of evidence. If that is the case, then it seems disingenuous to say these men returned to the battlefield. Is it not plausible or even probable that we drove these men to the battlefield?
Whether we drove them to terrorism or not doesn't make their acts of terrorism any less dangerous, and discussing this issue is not about excusing these men's subsequent hostile actions. There is, however, something to be learned from looking at the possibility that our actions at GITMO are creating enemies of people who didn't harbor any animosity towards our nation or towards our people prior to their detention.
Click here for a list of ex-detainees who are believed to have returned to the battlefield.