January 25, 2009

Guantanamo and the death penalty

One of the things that has gone under remarked in the Guantanamo saga is the eligibility of so many of those prisoners for the death penalty. A key anti-death penalty argument is crumbling before our eyes and few, if any, are taking note.

The argument is that in modern penal systems, killers are simply not going to kill again. Supermax facilities and their like are supposed to bring us an era where the death penalty is unnecessary to protect society. But what is happening in the military context of the death penalty at Guantanamo?

As the AFP notes we have the spectacle of "Two ex-Guantanamo inmates appear in Al-Qaeda video" announcing to the world that after committing a death penalty crime (fighting without uniform) they're very likely going to do it again. In fact, we've got 11% of released detainees going back to kill again as a fact of our forbearance to apply the full extent of US military justice. How many more will join them to kill and maim again is a very open question now that Guantanamo is going to be quickly shut down.

Death penalty opponents who oppose the penalty in all cases on ideological or moral grounds have a bit of a problem here, if anybody's going to take them to task for their false claims. I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by TMLutas at January 25, 2009 04:41 PM