Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bush sets 1000 Abu Ghraib prisoners free

From the AP:

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The U.S. military announced Saturday that it has released nearly 1,000 prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison in response to a request by Iraqi authorities.

The move, the largest prisoner release to date, followed appeals by Sunni representatives to start releasing thousands of prisoners who have been languishing in the jail for months without being charged.

The U.S. has been adamant about allowing the Sunnis to take part in the new Iraqi government -- if for no other reason than to prevent continued violence and a possible a civil war. The prisoner release is likely a gamble on the part of the Bush administration to show solidarity and prove to this faction that they have a voice.

"This major release ... marks a significant event in Iraq's progress toward democratic governance and the rule of law," the U.S. statement said.

"Those chosen for release are not guilty of serious, violent crimes such as bombing, torture, kidnapping, or murder and all have admitted their crimes, renounced violence, and pledged to be good citizens of a democratic Iraq."

I hope we checked to make sure their fingers weren't crossed behind their backs.

I guess I understand the administration's intentions here but I don't agree with them. Many of these prisoners are members of Iraq's Baath party and this move will only strengthen their numbers and their resolve to regain power. This strikes me as naive -- on a "Clinton" or perhaps even "Carter" level. It is likely going to come back to bite us at some point down the road.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,