War Inside the Wire

Wall Street Opinion Journal James Taranto September 16, 2006

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — You might call Rear Adm. Harry Harris a jailer. As commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, a job he has held for six months, he is in charge of one of the world’s best-known detention facilities. But if you call this place a prison, he will correct you.

“Prisons are about rehabilitation and punishment,” Adm. Harris told me in a phone conversation last week, reiterating a point he had made a few days earlier in a briefing for visiting journalists here. “What we are about is keeping enemy combatants off the battlefield. . . . The enemy combatants that we have here were captured on the battlefield or running from the battlefield, and they were engaged in combat operations against Americans, and in many cases killed Americans. What we’re trying to do here in Guantanamo is simply keep them off the battlefield, because we know that many of them would go back to the fight.”

In fact, Adm. Harris says, many of them have kept fighting even while in captivity. They are carrying out coordinated actions with the apparent goals of disrupting the camp’s operations, furthering anti-American propaganda, and wounding and intimidating the servicemen who guard them.

. . . more