Monday, February 15, 2010

Twenty Percent "Isn't That Bad"?

John Brennan is coming under a lot of fire because of his recent pronouncement that a 20% recidivism rate on released Guantanamo detainees "is not that bad."

Here is Brennan's actual statement and General Jim Jones who actually doesn't think it's that bad either:

The problem here, it seems to me, is that they are still in a criminal justice frame of mind.

There are many issues on which Lindsay Graham and I disagree, but on this one, not so much:

When Graham says "it makes no sense to say that a 20% recidivism rate is not that bad..." he is spot on. As Chris Matthews points out, if you have a 20% recidivism rate when you're talking about shoplifters, that's quite a different story than when you have a 20% return to jihad from terrorists. Graham is, of course, calling for Brennan's discharge and says Brennan has lost his confidence.

Intrepid researcher Thomas Joscelyn points out that this recidivism number has continued to grow over the last 18 months:

The 20 percent figure cited by the Pentagon and Brennan translates to a current estimated number of recidivists north of 100. A good estimate is 112. Thus, in June 2008 the estimate was just 37 former detainees. Today, less than two years later, the estimate is roughly three times higher.

So, when Brennan says that 20 percent isn't that bad he is ignoring the fact that the estimated number of recidivists continues to grow and could easily be much higher just months from now.

Of course the response from the left will be to blame Bush and to point out that many of those that returned to jihad were released by Bush. And to that, I return to my premise that just because Bush screwed up doesn't mean Obama has to; it's an slow learner indeed who doesn't learn from the mistakes of the past.

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