7,543. 3/24/2010

In a declaration on March 24, 2010, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson, said: " '…it became apparent to me as early as August 2002, and probably earlier to other State Department personnel who were focused on the issues, that many of the prisoners detained at Guantanamo had been taken into custody without regard to whether they were truly enemy combatants, or in fact whether many of them were enemies at all. I soon realized from my conversations with military colleagues as well as foreign service officers in the field that many of the detainees were, in fact, victims of incompetent battlefield vetting. There was no meaningful way to determine whether they were terrorists, Taliban, or simply innocent civilians picked up on a very confused battlefield or in the territory of another state such as Pakistan. The vetting problem, in my opinion, was directly related to the initial decision not to send sufficient regular army troops at the outset of the war in Afghanistan, and instead, to rely on the forces of the Northern Alliance and the extremely few U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) who did not have the necessary training or personnel to deal with battlefield detention questions or even the inclination to want to deal with the issue.' "

 – M. Cherif Bassiouni, The Institutionalization of Torture by the Bush Administration, 272

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