With the Bush Administration's legacy being revisited, it's worth taking another look at a story that surfaced a couple of years ago and was, for reasons I don't understand, immediately forgotten.
Retired Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, who served the Bush Administration as a senior official in the State Department with access to classified documents and the most senior White House officials, was willing to testify, and formally declared under penalty of perjury, that many of the prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay were taken into custody "without regard for whether they were truly enemy combatants, or in fact whether many of them were enemies at all."
His declaration, filed in the spring of 2010 in a D.C. federal court, asserted that "of the initial 742 detainees that had arrived at Guantánamo, the majority of them had never seen a U.S. soldier in the process of their initial detention and their captivity had not been subjected to any meaningful review."
He proceeded to list some of the reasons that the Bush Administration had failed to release the innocent prisoners:
- It was judged to be politically impossible.
- Vice President Cheney took the position that the ends justify the means, he "had absolutely no concern that the vast majority of Guantanamo detainees were innocent," and he seemed to believe that "if hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it. That seemed to be the philosophy that ruled the vice president's office."
- Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld believed that "innocent people languishing in Guantanamo for years was justified by the broader War on Terror."