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Freeing of Guantanamo Detainee Highlights the Confusion and Failure of the ‘War on Terror’

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ABC News pitched it Tuesday as the ultimate feel-good story: “I was born again on July 19. My birthday is no longer March 4. I was born yesterday on July 19,” said Abdul Latif Nasser, a Guantanamo detainee who was freed yesterday by Biden’s handlers. Nasser was ecstatic: “I have no words to describe my overwhelming sense of happiness and joy. It is like a miracle after 20 years to be home and celebrate Eid together with my family.” However, the circumstances of his long detention were less heartwarming and should be pondered carefully by patriotic foreign policy analysts in Washington – if, that is, there are any such people.

According to ABC News in 2019, Nasser was “first cleared for release from Guantanamo more than five years ago. He had been detained there for 19 years after he was captured in Afghanistan, alleged by the U.S. government to be an active member of the Taliban and then to have trained with al-Qaeda.”

Despite that allegation, however, “during his time at Guantanamo, he was never charged with a crime, and his lawyers stress that none of the U.S. government’s claims have been aired in a court of law.” That’s right: Abdul Latif Nasser spent nineteen years in the Guantanamo prison camp without charge. It doesn’t matter what he did; this was a tremendous injustice, but it was more than that as well. The long imprisonment without charge of Abdul Latif Nasser was born of the confusion about what exactly we were facing after 9/11 in the first place.

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