Three prisoners being held at
Anyone who has known someone who has committed suicide knows that suicide is an act of despair, not of war.* I have read Moazzam Begg’s account of being a prisoner in Guantánamo, and it is very easy to see why someone would want to commit suicide there. Moazzam Begg had help and hope as a
Many rights groups have made statements, all of them expressing the opinion that the men had been driven by despair.
These people are despairing because they are being held lawlessly. There’s no end in sight. They’re not being brought before any independent judges. They’re not being charged and convicted for any crime. – Ken Roth, Human Rights Watch
The Guantánamo camp commander, on the other hand, is certain that the suicides amount to war.
They are smart. They are creative, they are committed. They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us. – Rear Adm Harry B. Harris, Jr
“Asymmetrical warfare”? I don’t even know what that means, unless it means that the three men were very small and powerless against the behemoth war machine that was keeping them illegally imprisoned. They were three men who were effectively stateless and therefore could not commit “acts of war” on behalf of anyone but themselves. They were being denied rights as prisoners of war so it is wrong to suddenly accuse them of committing acts of war.
Semantics aside, killing oneself in isolation cannot be an act of war, or even of terror, by any definition I know. It is fundamentally ridiculous, and even offensive, for a military commander to refer to a suicide as such.
* with the exception of suicide bombers, suicide plane hijackers, etc, whose acts can be said to be “of war”, but which sometimes also have an element of desperation.