And why not? What has been done while they were in prison to change their minds about anything? Why, nothing. Nothing at all.
“In Iraq, Chaos Feared as U.S. Closes Prison: Ex-Inmates Reanimate Sunni, Shiite Militias,” by Anthony Shadid for the Washington Post, March 22 (thanks to H.B.):
GARMA, Iraq — The release of hundreds of prisoners from Camp Bucca, a U.S.-run prison in southern Iraq, has facilitated the revival of Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents in Basra, Baghdad and the borderless expanse here along the Euphrates, according to police chiefs, intelligence officials in the Interior Ministry and residents.
Although none of them predicted a return to the anarchy and sectarian carnage of 2006-2007, when scores of bodies might show up in the street on any day, officials suggested that the groups were preparing for the onset of a U.S. military withdrawal.
Their warnings make for an irony at the beginning of the end of the American presence here. As the United States dismantles Bucca, viewed by many as an appalling miscarriage of justice where prisoners were not charged or permitted to see evidence against them, freed detainees may end up swelling the ranks of a subdued insurgency.
In hardscrabble Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad, some former inmates of Bucca speak of revenge. Others talk of their own conversion there: as prisoners, giving their support to militiamen loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, an anti-American cleric whose forces were routed in Baghdad and Basra last year. A sense of uncertainty reigns in the forlorn stretches around Garma, a wind-swept town as parched as it is lawless, as Sunni residents brace for the return of dozens of fighters and such men as Col. Saad Abbas Mahmoud, the police chief here, openly admit to being overwhelmed by their influx.
“These men weren’t planting flowers in a garden. They weren’t strolling down the street,” said Mahmoud, known as Abu Quteiba to his lieutenants, who snap their heels as they enter. “This problem is both big and dangerous. And regrettably, the Iraqi government and the authorities don’t know how big the problem has become.” […]
“Most of the prisoners are innocent, just like my son,” said Saad Nema, gripping the hand of his 26-year-old son, Raed, who was held for 18 months. “I cried today in happiness.”
Not as innocent was Mohammed Ali Mourad, whom Col. Daoud Hammoud, the deputy police chief in Fallujah, described as the driver of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the leader of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq who was killed in June 2006.
Mourad was detained after leaving Bucca, but a judge freed him, and he is believed to be running a cell in Baghdad with former prisoners. Hammoud blamed him for an attack Dec. 4 that sent two bomb-laden trucks against a police station, killing 15.
“We have information that he and his cell are behind it,” said Hammoud, a former police officer under Hussein who works in a compound littered with the carcasses of BMWs, Toyotas, Opals and a Chevrolet that were deployed as car bombs. […]
“These regions are becoming a danger to the government,” he said. “Al-Qaeda is preparing itself for the departure of the Americans. And they want to stage a revolution.”
He suggested that 60 percent of detainees freed in those areas were returning to the fight. Mahmoud, the colonel in Garma, put the number in his region at 90 percent.
Holding forth behind barricades of sand-filled receptacles, Mahmoud, the Garma police chief, is a marked man. Twenty-five, he said, nodding his head, as he finished counting. That was the number of attempts on his life. The most recent were perhaps the most creative: He was delivered a Koran rigged with explosives buried in the pages between its green covers, then, less than two weeks later, his dish of dulaymiya, a mix of chicken, lamb, a slab of fat and rice, was poisoned, sending him to the hospital for 10 days. When he got out, two bombs detonated near his house in Fallujah.
“Thank God, no one was hurt,” he said….
Note also the open religious appeal of the jihadists — which we have noted here many times:
“Please return to your faith, and we will receive you in our hearts, with open hands,” read one leaflet signed by the Awakening of Muslim Youth and found in Garma. “If you don’t, we will bring to you men who love death in the same way you love life.”
One of those Mahmoud’s men arrested was Salah Khdeir.
He spent seven months in Bucca after soldiers discovered four mines tucked in his truck. He returned to the prison in 2008 after he was caught burying bombs destined for a U.S. patrol. He was released this month. Five days later, he was arrested again, after a roadside bomb that police say resembled his handiwork detonated near Garma.
Innocent, Khdeir declared at the police station, shaking his head.
“I’m a peaceful man,” the gaunt 22-year-old added.
“He’s an expert at planting bombs,” Mahmoud answered.
After Khdeir left, Mahmoud handed out a letter he said Khdeir had sent his brother.
“If you think I abandoned the jihad, I say that I have paid homage to God and with his will, I will do everything,” he wrote in childish Arabic, the script barely legible.
He had signed the letter, “Salah, the roadside bomb.”…
The prison allowed the teaching of Islam, and hence of jihad:
U.S. officials were long worried about Bucca effectively becoming a school for insurgents and tried to take steps to combat it. But in Abbas’s section, he said, Sadr supporters were in charge. Saadi, the cleric, taught classes in jurisprudence, Arabic, Koranic recitation and even literacy.
Saadi believes he recruited 80 men during his year in Bucca.
“By God’s grace, we opened our institute in an American prison,” he said….