Guantanamo's inmates are tough guys after all. According to just-released Pentagon memos, Gitmo detainees abused U.S. GIs at least 440 times between December 2002 and July 2005. Virtually celebrated by the international left as misunderstood innocents, Guantanamo's enemy combatants have attacked military police with household items and bodily excreta and even a live reptile.
"We provide fans in order to keep them cool," Army Lt. Col. Michael Nicolucci, Gitmo's executive officer, told the Associated Press' John Solomon. Last May, Nicolucci said, "they were using the basket, or the grate of the fan as a shield, the blades as machetes, the pole as a battering ram."
One confined detainee "grabbed the radio from an MP and then threw the radio at the MP," says a Dec. 23, 2003, report. "The detainee then threw rocks at the MP."
Around Christmas week of 2004, as enemy combatants spat on American guards, one inmate resisted as an MP removed his food tray. "Detainee stabbed the MP guard ... in the hand with his spork," a report stated, describing a spoon-fork utensil. The detainee then "made a slicing motion across his neck" and promised to murder the guard.
"Detainee broke off the top of his sink, subsequently broke out the window then began throwing the sink and pieces of pipes at the Block Guard," says a March 25, 2005, record.
Another detainee "reached under the face mask of an IRF (Initial Reaction Force) team member's helmet and scratched his face, attempting to gouge his eyes," reads a May 27, 2005, account. "The IRF team member received scratches to his face and eye socket area."
"They'll take the smallest things, be it a piece of rust," Nicolucci said. "They told us they are going to take that piece of rust and they are going for the jugular, they are going for the eye. They know what our vulnerabilities are, anatomically speaking."
Less potentially lethal, albeit more disgusting, is detainees' deployment of bodily discharges. Suspected terrorists frequently collect semen, urine, vomit and feces in meal cups, then hurl that noxious mixture at U.S. soldiers.
In one bizarre incident, a detainee used a lizard tail against a guard. The combatant "caught the iguana by the tail at which time the tail detached," a May 2005 report explained. The guard "felt something strike him in the lower right back." He then "saw the tail on the ground at his feet, and blood was in the same area of his uniform."
For all the complaints about alleged Quran desecration by American soldiers, the Pentagon reports that Islam's holy book has been violated by none other than Muslim inmates.
One detainee "tore his Quran into small pieces," a guard declared in May 2003. That June, another report indicated, a second combatant "did intentionally destroy his Quran and throw (it) out of his cell."
The Landmark Legal Foundation (landmarklegal.org) deserves much credit for using the Freedom of Information Act to dislodge these reports from the Pentagon a 12-month process.
"Lawyers for the enemy have succeeded in portraying their clients as victims when, in fact, they are barbarians," Landmark president Mark Levin tells me. "They have unleashed attack after attack against our MPs at Guantanamo Bay, a fact that seems to have eluded every congressional committee and investigative news report that purports to examine the prison."
Conversely, the Bush administration deserves much criticism for concealing information that could help win the war on terror. President Bush's critics use Gitmo as a giant Louisville Slugger to pound him constantly and mercilessly. Detailing how Gitmoites menace, wound and threaten to kill U.S. personnel would dispel the myth that Gitmo teems with law-abiding shepherds and Quranic students whom U.S. forces unthinkingly captured en route to Friday prayers.Comment on this story
While the president's terror-war defenders toil to advance his policies, bureaucrats he supposedly leads padlocked the entrance to this public-diplomacy gold mine for a year. "But for threatening to sue them," Levin says, "we still might be waiting for these documents."Rather than force supporters to wield pickaxes, Bush and his media team constantly should showcase information such as what the Landmark Legal Foundation finally extracted. After all, this is war.
New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Arlington, Va.