The case of Guantanamo chaplain Captain James Yee was a uniquely disturbing one, as it involved an American military officer — stationed at one of the nation’s most secretive installation — who had allegedly betrayed his nation to forces aligned with Islamic terrorists. Yee was allowed to walk away from the case a free man, a development more indicative of the federal government’s botched prosecutorial effort than his actual innocence, as documented by Robert Spencer. In an article featured in today”s London Times provocatively titled “An American in Chains,” Yee protests his innocence, but ends up betraying his own disturbing mindset when he attempts to identify the “real” reason he was arrested: (thanks to Scaramouche)
I knew why I had been arrested: it was because I am a Muslim. I was just the latest victim of the hostility born the moment when the planes flew into the twin towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
My real “crime” had been that I had tried to ensure that the suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters detained in the Gitmo cages were given every opportunity to practice their religion freely, one of the most fundamental of American ideals.
Yee goes on to suggest that the conditions at Guantanamo were inhumane, especially for a population of prisoners who he calls “friendly.”
By the time I got to Guantanamo, Camp X-Ray was too small for the number of prisoners coming in. When I saw its remains I couldn’t believe that humans were once held here. It looked like a cattle yard. There were hundreds of cages in rows. The only protection from the blistering sun was a tin roof. Dozens of enormous rodents crawled throughout the camp. I was told that these were banana rats and would attack if provoked.
The new prison, Camp Delta, consisted of 19 blocks, each holding 48 detainees in individual open-air cells with steel mesh walls. Like other military personnel, I was briefed that the detainees were among the most dangerous terrorists in the world. We were told that many of the prisoners were responsible for the attacks of September 11 and would strike again if given the opportunity.
I expected to come face-to-face with hundreds of Osama Bin Ladens, but most prisoners were friendly. There were approximately 660 from dozens of countries, including Britain.
While fervently extolling his innocence and the aggressive hatred of American officials, Yee makes mention of past actions which would raise eyebrows even among the most lenient investigators:
On holiday after graduating from West Point, however, I met a young woman who was intrigued by Islam. I began to read about it and eventually converted. Then, after the US army sent me to Saudi Arabia and allowed me to visit Mecca, I wondered why there were no Muslim chaplains in the US military.
My father had taught me as a boy that America promises all people an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life. By becoming a Muslim chaplain in the summer of 2000, after four years” study in Damascus, I saw myself fulfilling this opportunity. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.