The recent news that Ruslan Odizhev was killed in a police raid underscores an ongoing debate centering on the delicate balance between our Nation’s need for security and the tremendous value we place on personal liberty.
Mr. Odizhev was released from Guantanamo Bay in February 2004. But contrary to what some would want you to believe, he did not return to his home and family to live a peaceful life, just trying to put the ordeal of being imprisoned by the Americans behind him. No he continued to fight his war. According to the FSB , the Russian equivalent of the FBI, Mr. Odizhev was a suspect in the 1999 bombing of apartment buildings in Moscow and Volgodonsk.
Bombed building in Volgodonsk
Mr. Odizhev also participated in the October 2005 offensive in Nalchik, where 85 people died. Mr. Odizhev was alleged to be a spiritual leader in Yarmuk and was reportedly a leader of the attack of government installations in October 2005. In that attack 82 militants were killed.
Bodies of militants after the Oct 2005 attack in Nalchik
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this complex weighing of needs. To that end, those that engage in bumperstickeresque condemnation of GTMO and the current administration add little to solving the dilemma. It is clear that Mr. Odizhev was committed to fighting for the cause he believed in on any front he could find.
Snarky comments by Mr. Romero of the ACLU do nothing to further the discussion. Mr. Romero points out that if a detainee is acquitted at a military commission that he could still be held until the end of hostilities, because he had been designated an enemy combatant. This situation, Mr. Romero maintains, is a “shameful stain on America’s reputation throughout the world.”
Mr. Romero offers no answer at to what should be done. But before being so cavalier about the necessity of closing GTMO, he should take a moment to consider the further harm Mr. Odizhev was able to inflict after being released from GTMO.
Would Mr. Romero have insisted on the release of Himmler, if we had captured him in 1942?