The Sad Case Of Muhammad Saad Iqbal

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Bad Decisions, Guantanamo Bay, History, Law, The War On Terrorism, The World, Torture

I’ve written at length about my opinions of extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, etc., but the idea that people will vigorously defend policies that put a completely innocent man through 6 years of hell still leaves me completely baffled.

Seriously. This is one of those issues for me where there’s absolutely zero common ground because I simply can’t understand how anybody can justify the following.

From NY Times:

When Muhammad Saad Iqbal arrived home here in August after more than six years in American custody, including five at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, he had difficulty walking, his left ear was severely infected, and he was dependent on a cocktail of antibiotics and antidepressants.

In November, a Pakistani surgeon operated on his ear, physical therapists were working on lower back problems and a psychiatrist was trying to wean him off the drugs he carried around in a white, plastic shopping bag.

The maladies, said Mr. Iqbal, 31, a professional reader of the Koran, are the result of a gantlet of torture, imprisonment and interrogation for which his Washington lawyer plans to sue the United States government.

What’s even more disgusting is how he was arrested, found to be on little value and yet we still detained him…

Mr. Iqbal was arrested early in 2002 in Jakarta, Indonesia, after boasting to members of an Islamic group that he knew how to make a shoe bomb, according to two senior American officials who were in Jakarta at the time.

Mr. Iqbal now denies ever having made the statement, but two days after his arrest, he said, the Central Intelligence Agency transferred him to Egypt. He was later shifted to the American prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and ultimately to Guantánamo Bay. [...]

After Mr. Iqbal was picked up in Jakarta and interrogated for two days, American officials generally concluded that he was a braggart, a “wannabe,” and should be released, one of the senior American officials in Jakarta said. “He was a talker,” the senior American official said. “He wanted to believe he was more important than he was.”

Yes, everything changed after 9/11, including, unfortunately, our sense of right and wrong.

In any event, I hope Iqbal wins his lawsuit. Because it’ll hopefully embarrass us enough so we’ll put a stop to these practices once and for all.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 and is filed under Bad Decisions, Guantanamo Bay, History, Law, The War On Terrorism, The World, Torture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “The Sad Case Of Muhammad Saad Iqbal”

  1. Brian Krenz Says:

    I agree completely. Torture is (or should be) considered completely un-American by ALL Americans. It’s ineffective as a means of garnering information and more importantly, it dehumanizes both its victims and those carrying out the torture.

    I really don’t like George Bush and I completely disagree with most of his policies, but this is just so ridiculous I can’t fathom why he was able to get away with it (Democrats, I’m looking at you too!).

  2. J. Harden Says:

    a professional reader of the Koran

    I actually applied for this job, but it was already filled. Luckily there is a fairly high blow-up rate among “professional readers of the Koran” so I’m still hopeful that I get the position. It is truly a profession with a lot to offer — 9 wives, 72 virgins, lots of automatic rifles, cool ninja bajama suits, ext.

    Yes, everything changed after 9/11

    Yeah, that is why we see so many posts about the family members and victims of 9/11 coming from you. That is why we see so many positive posts about the bravery of our military from you. That is why we see so many stories from you about, not just the American or Isreali victims of jihadist, but the Muslim victims of jihad. You’re super-balanced.

    And good luck Mr. Muhammed — let me introduce you to the Ferris Doctrine and a big ole’ cup of F-you.

  3. John Burke Says:

    I think we should be careful in crediting anything Muhammad Saad Iqbal and other Gitmo detainees say about their connections to al Qaeda and/or their treatment in US custody. The overwhelming majority of these individuals have claimed to be as innocent as the driven snow and upon release (or through lawyers) have routinely claimed torture and gross abuse. They are well aware of the propaganda value of making such accusations against the US, whether or not they have any basis in fact.

    We should be skeptical of these accounts even if we also believe that some detainees have been held unfairly or mistreated and/ot we think US policies in this regard were unacceptable for moral, practical or any other reasons.

    Unfortunately, we’ve come to a point eight years after 9/11 when the extraordinary rendition of an al Qaeda suspect is taken as proof certain of illegal torture and “shredding the Constitution.” This attitude conflates very separate issues and obscures what should be clear thinking about keeping America safe from future 9/11s. CIA’s rendering a terror suspect from Indonesia to Egypt or US custody somewhere was expressly authorized by President Clinton in 1995. It was used infrequently before 9/11 — perhaps too infrequently, given what we now know about the threat that was looming. It was used far more frequently after 9/11 — perhaps too frequently, given what we now know about the opposition it would evoke and the way it would serve the propaganda needs of jihadist radicals.

    But we ought to remember that we’re viewing these events with the benefit of hindsight at a time when we are no longer deeply worried about follow-on attacks. Much as I have a distaste for George Bush and many of hus works, I have never had a shadow of doubt that President Clinton or Al Gore as President would have been less aggressive than Bush in prosecuting the war against al Qaeda — rendition, secret detention and all the rest. They might have done many other things better, but no President would have shrunk from using brute force to ensure against another devastating attack.

  4. Jeremy from Oregon Says:

    “Yeah, that is why we see so many posts about the family members and victims of 9/11 coming from you. That is why we see so many positive posts about the bravery of our military from you. That is why we see so many stories from you about, not just the American or Isreali victims of jihadist, but the Muslim victims of jihad. You’re super-balanced.” – J. Harden

    @J. Harden, I’ve seen plenty of post by Justin commending and thanking our troops. You seem to think that pointing out injustices is somehow disparaging our own troops. When our government commits crimes and injustices in the name 9/11 THAT IS disparaging to our troops. When our government commits crimes against humanity that is disparaging our nation! No one here is saying we shouldn’t be fighting a war against terrorism or punish those who are found to be guilty. We are simply saying do not go outside the boundaries of international law to do so. We have done just that. You want to thank the troops? Send to a country that deserves to be invaded. Give them guidelines that are internationally lawful and most of all abide by the highest moral code in which this country supposedly adheres by. You, sir, do not love your country more than me simply because you are patriotism blind. I wear consult my patriotism in my heart. You seem to consult it on your sleeve. Just my opinion. But nonetheless I realize you have your right to yours as much as Justin has to his. It doesn’t make him a “Terrorist lover” because he wishes to point out the obvious discrepancies in our rhetoric vs. our actions. 9/11 isn’t a blank check for human rights violations. In fact, it’s a glaring example of what is wrong with this type of ideology.

  5. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Meanwhile, In Russia… Says:

    [...] so glad we ignored Russia the past 8 years and focused instead on detaining and torturing people who may or may not have boasted they knew how to build a shoe bomb for six [...]

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