No Justice, No Peace

From Holden:

I shudder to think of the consequences we will all suffer for the way George Bush has fought the War on Terra:

Three years after the first prisoners in America’s war on terror were dispatched to Guantanamo Bay, wives left behind in Pakistan live like widows. The only word from their loved ones is an occasional letter on military-issue writing paper, chunks blacked out by a censor’s pen.

Among those waiting are three sisters living in a crowded mud-brick house in the northwestern village of Regi, whose husbands are believed to be in U.S. custody. They share the care of 12 children and an unusual fate: All three women are married to Algerian mujahedeen absent from the home.

The Algerians first arrived in the region to join the U.S.-funded “holy war” against Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Like thousands of other fighters, they later settled in Pakistan and forged links with the Taliban – the fundamentalist regime backed by Pakistan before its ouster in an American-led military campaign in late 2001.


“My husband neither attacked America nor killed any American. But Americans have taken my husband,” said Mehdia Ahmed, a 31-year-old mother of five. “My youngest daughter Ayesha was born after the arrest of her father and is now starting to talk. When she sees other kids’ fathers she also asks about hers, but how can I explain where her father is?”


The youngest of the wives, Riyazat Amin, 27, complained bitterly that they have no way to reach their husbands or “fight their cases in any court of law.”


U.S. officials at Guantanamo have refused to discuss cases of individual prisoners so it’s uncertain if one or both of the husbands are held at the American base. While – as 8-year-old Khadija noted – the prisoners initially were held in cages open to the elements, the inmates have since been moved to conventional cells.

Riyazat, a mother of four, insisted her husband was innocent. “My husband had no links with al-Qaida and if he had any links with al-Qaida then al-Qaida people would take care of us because we are living very miserable lives,” she said.

Pakistan, which has become a staunch U.S. ally, has handed over more than 600 al-Qaida suspects to the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Some have since been freed, but many are held without charge as “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo – a classification that human rights groups complain doesn’t afford the legal protections of prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.

Guantanamo received the first prisoners on Jan. 11, 2002. It’s unclear how many of the inmates at the U.S. naval base left families behind in Pakistan.