Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Article on Guantanamo Uyghurs Up at Asia Times Online

I wrote an article Uyghurs Sold Out by the US for Asia Times Online.

It describes how the Republican counterattack on President Obama’s Guantanamo policy torpedoed the simultaneous release of 17 Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo to destinations in the United States and Europe.

The release was closer than most people realize.

There are indications that Obama hoped to announce the Uyghur release as part of the rollout of his new post-Guantanamo security and detention policy last week.

The twist was that European governments—led by Germany—had agreed to take Uyghurs only if the United States took some, too and bore the brunt of China’s displeasure.

When the Republicans stampeded the Congress on the Guantanamo issue and Harry Reid joined the NIMBY posturing about chunking terrorists in America’s neighborhoods, the Uyghur release went pffft.

The Republican effort was spearheaded by Newt Gingrich, who wrote a shamelessly misleading and inflammatory op-ed about the Uyghur detainees, characterizing them as dangerous, television-flinging Islamicist terrorists.

The question of interest: did Mr. Gingrich unwittingly scotch the planned release in the course of an opportunistic attack? Or did he knowingly seize upon the Uyghur issue in order to sabotage the release and deny Mr.Obama a signal and significant foreign policy victory?

In either case, it looks like another dishonorable chapter in the biography of America's Machiavelli.