Cloonan also debunked the popular right wing rhetoric extolling a ticking time bomb 24 TV show Jack Bauer character scenarios where torture somehow becomes necessary to stop a hypothetical dooms day attack. Cloonan says "it a myth".
Matthew Alexander, a former US Air Force interrogator, points out in his book that he believes American torture tactics used at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq have lead directly to as many as 3000 American battlefield deaths.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in [Iraq] have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me—unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans".Pointing to the example of why Qitmo must be kept open, right wing blowhards in the last few days have attempted to make hay over a report that a terrorist named Said Ali al-Shihri, release from Qitmo in 2007, has now become a leading Al Queda ringleader in Yemen.
No matter how dangerous this person may of seemed in the begining, in the end he was released because the US could not prosecute him because it lacked proper evidence to prove the charge or hold him. In any case he could not of been considered so dangerous that it stopped his release to Saudi Arabian officials who eventally freed him.
The big question remains did his mistreatment in American hands actually turn the man who may of been predisposed to anti-American beliefs into a terrorist? Maybe someone should ask him that question if given the opportunity. How would you feel about a foreign power that held you captive for 6 years and tortured you and then released you when it realized it really had no way to prove your alleged crimes. You should feel all warm and fuzzy and magnanimous toward your captors according to the likes of right wing mega-nitwits like Michelle Malkin and Bill O'Reilly.
President Obama and most reasonable people know that the use of torture really creates terrorists and enemies and damages our image as a nation that protects basic human rights. Obama by closing Guantanamo is charged with the task of cleaning up the extensive and long lasting damage that has been done by the Bush administration for having created such a gulag hell to begin with.
The other hysteria on the right is the not in my backyard (NIMBY) argument which concerns where to put the prisoners should Qitmo close as planned in a year. The Federal Prison system in the end can handle anyone Guantanamo may now hold. It is another rightwing red herring to say that there is not a safe prison system in the US that can't safely hold these individuals should it be determined that they can't be release. That is if they are actually found guilty of something. God knows that America knows how to operate safe and secure prisons and detention centers probably better then anyone in the world.
But that's another issue.