On Guantanamo: Those who knowingly sow dragon’s teeth ought to be killed by the harvest

“Then, behold, Pallas, the hero’s guardian approaches, sinking down through the upper air, and orders him to turn the earth and sow the dragon’s teeth, destined to generate a people. He obeys, and opening the furrows with a slice of his plough, sows the teeth in the ground, as human seed. Then, almost beyond belief, the cultivated earth begins to move, and first spear points appear among the furrows, next helmets nodding their painted crests, then chests and shoulders spring up, and arms weighed down with spears, and the field is thick with the round shields of warriors.”

Metamorphoses, Book III: 95-114

With the unfolding of the Obama-Holder policy of restoring veteran Islamist insurgent fighters and future leaders to the forces of al-Qaeda and the growing array of America’s Islamist enemies — so far, 5 to Qatar, 4 to Uruguay, and 5 to Kazakhstan — it is worth repeating that the United States is engaged in a religious war with an increasing portion of the Muslim world. Obama’s release of Guantanamo prisoners again highlights the fact that the U.S. bipartisan political elite has not grasped this fact and so the national government continues to feed the manpower and motivation of America’s enemies.

The al-Qaeda training handbook — which is now the basic handbook for the growing Islamist movement — stresses the religious nature of the war each insurgent is waging against the United States and its European and Arab-tyrant allies. In this struggle, each fighter is taught that he can serve Allah in three ways: (a) he can fight the enemy on the battlefield and survive to continue fighting; (b) he can face the enemy on the battlefield and be killed, having prayed beforehand that Allah will accept him as paradise-bound martyr; and (c) he can fight the enemy in battle and be captured and continue to wage jihad from prison. The fighters are instructed that each these results pleases Allah and therefore it is good for them — and for all Muslims — to embrace whichever one comes down the road, and if it is (a) or (c) that arrives, he must keep fighting.

Those captured mujahideen who go to prison in the Arab world and carry on the fight from behind bars cannot reasonably expect to see freedom again, or, for that matter, find as easy-going and health-promoting a prison as the one at Guantanamo Bay. Many insurgent prisoners are executed by their Arab captors — with or without mock trials — soon after the latter are convinced that they have no more information to divulge and that they cannot be persuaded or forced to work as intelligence assets against their former Islamist brethren. Few are released from Arab prisons because the Arab world’s politicians are savvy enough to know that many would immediately go back to the battlefield and, as important, would do so with an inspiringly heroic demeanor as men who survived the brutality of, say, former-Egyptian President Mubarak’s prisons and remained both faithful to Allah and ready to resume fighting.

From the insurgent commanders’ perspective, incarcerated fighters who are released or escape are worth their weight in gold, perhaps more. Mostly combat veterans at the time of their capture, the returning mujahideen demonstrate to less experienced fighters that there can be life after capture, and these men also can be highlighted in the Islamists’ media to spur recruitment and greater monetary donations from across the Muslim world. The returnees also enjoy a certain aura of invincibility in that they have — with Allah’s favor — survived both battle and prison and so encourage other fighters to have confidence that Allah will look out for them if they remain steadfast in his cause. Readers will recall al-Qaeda leader Abu Yaha al-Libi as a man who rose to become al-Qaeda’s most effective recruiter and third or fourth in the group’s command structure — as well as its most charismatic leader, save bin Laden — after he escaped in July, 2005, from the U.S.-NATO prison in Bagram, Afghanistan, and returned to the fight and to regularly appear in the media. Abu Yaha was eventually killed by U.S. forces, but his legend remains, and that legend, to this day, is powered in part by his having survived imprisonment and escaped to fight again and die in Allah’s cause.

And if one example will not suffice, here is another. In February, 2006, a Yemeni national named Nasir al-Wuhayshi escaped with a number of other al-Qaeda fighters from a Yemeni regime prison. Al-Wuhayshi had once been one of bin Laden’s secretaries, but he was not a renowned fighter or obviously tagged for greater leadership responsibilities. After returning to the battlefield, al-Wuhayshi proved a fine fighter and rose to command all al-Qaeda forces in Yemen; he then presided over the merger of al-Qaeda’s forces in Yemen and Saudi Arabia and commanded the new Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Organization; and, in 2013, al-Wuhayshi was named by bin Laden’s successor Ayman al-Zawahiri as his deputy and second in command of all of al-Qaeda.

Oh, okay, one more example. An individual who had helped form an Islamist insurgent group to fight the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, and then served as chief of its Sharia committee, was captured in 2004 but then released by U.S. forces less than a year later. This fellow’s name is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and he now leads an organization named the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which will again defeat the U.S. military and its motley coalition of Arab tyrants and effeminate Europeans.

Now, not all of the prisoners released by Obama, Holder, and their gang of Ivy League-educated international-law experts will have either the natural talent or the opportunity to mimic the stellar successes of al-Libi, al-Wuhayshi, and al-Baghdadi. But some will, and many of the rest will be happy to settle for returning to Allah’s fight and finding joy in killing Americans and others with an AK-47, a RPG, or a car bomb; none of the Americans who will die at their hands, of course, would be in line for death if the Islamists had not been released from Guantanamo by the all-knowing anti-American ideologue, Barack Obama. The Obama-freed jihadis, moreover, will serve as a reminder to current Islamist fighters, aspiring mujahideen, and those that fund them that Allah can be served by jihadis in many ways, and that there is no downside to any of them.

Because the supine Republicans apparently will do nothing to halt Obama’s calculated readiness to sow dragon’s teeth that will eventually see Americans killed by the crop of death yielded by those he releases, one can only hope, for America’s sake, that the old adage “What goes around, comes around” proves true in the future careers of the Islamists released from Guantanamo. When — not if — one or more of the freed mujahideen attack and kill Americans, fairness would dictate that they kill those who are responsible for their release and return to the battlefield, as well as those who did nothing to stop that insane process. If such an absolutely fair scenario plays out in the next two years, Mrs. Clinton can tear-up and empathize with the Islamist attackers, but I will rejoice for my family and all Americans, as it will be clearly the case that those killed in that scenario merited death, that they always have been worth less than nothing to the United States, and that America’s national security will be far better off without them. “No punishment, in my opinion, is too great,” General Washington said in 1778, almost as if he was thinking of Barack Obama, “for the man who can build his greatness upon his country’s ruin.”

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.