Former counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke wrote in May 2009 that America’s indefinite detention without trial is a leading Al Qaeda recruiting tool:
On detention, the Bush team leaped to the assumption that U.S. courts and prisons would not work. Before the terrorist attacks, the U.S. counterterrorism program of the 1990s had arrested al-Qaeda terrorists and others around the world and had a 100 percent conviction rate in the U.S. justice system. Yet the American system was abandoned, again as part of a pattern of immediately adopting the most extreme response available. Camps were established around the world, notably in Guantanamo Bay, where prisoners were held without being charged or tried. They became symbols of American overreach, held up as proof that al-Qaeda’s anti-American propaganda was right.
The same month, I interviewed one of the world’s leading experts on terror – Terrell (Terry) E. Arnold, and Arnold agreed with Clarke:
WB: I’m interested in your views on whether releasing the photos of the “harsh interrogation” would create a wave of anti-American sentiment, and whether the additional risk it is alleged to create to our troops is justified?