The Sad Case Of Muhammad Saad Iqbal

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I’ve written at length about my opinions of extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo Bay, etc., but the idea that people will vigorously defend policies that put a completely innocent man through 6 years of hell still leaves me completely baffled.

Seriously. This is one of those issues for me where there’s absolutely zero common ground because I simply can’t understand how anybody can justify the following.

From NY Times:

When Muhammad Saad Iqbal arrived home here in August after more than six years in American custody, including five at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, he had difficulty walking, his left ear was severely infected, and he was dependent on a cocktail of antibiotics and antidepressants.

In November, a Pakistani surgeon operated on his ear, physical therapists were working on lower back problems and a psychiatrist was trying to wean him off the drugs he carried around in a white, plastic shopping bag.

The maladies, said Mr. Iqbal, 31, a professional reader of the Koran, are the result of a gantlet of torture, imprisonment and interrogation for which his Washington lawyer plans to sue the United States government.

What’s even more disgusting is how he was arrested, found to be on little value and yet we still detained him…

Mr. Iqbal was arrested early in 2002 in Jakarta, Indonesia, after boasting to members of an Islamic group that he knew how to make a shoe bomb, according to two senior American officials who were in Jakarta at the time.

Mr. Iqbal now denies ever having made the statement, but two days after his arrest, he said, the Central Intelligence Agency transferred him to Egypt. He was later shifted to the American prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and ultimately to Guantánamo Bay. […]

After Mr. Iqbal was picked up in Jakarta and interrogated for two days, American officials generally concluded that he was a braggart, a “wannabe,” and should be released, one of the senior American officials in Jakarta said. “He was a talker,” the senior American official said. “He wanted to believe he was more important than he was.”

Yes, everything changed after 9/11, including, unfortunately, our sense of right and wrong.

In any event, I hope Iqbal wins his lawsuit. Because it’ll hopefully embarrass us enough so we’ll put a stop to these practices once and for all.