The release of dozens of convicted terrorists coupled with cutbacks in the defence budget indicates the government have a fatal misunderstanding of the peril we are in. Al Qaeda is at war with us, they seek to destroy us absolutely and impose their especially brutal version of Sharia law worldwide. The government are certainly aware of the threat and are devoting significant resources to combating it. Yet it seems that threat has to be offset against competing needs on the purse strings. Shall we build a new warship or shall we fund the Tyne and Wear Metro? Shall we have combat aircraft on the new carriers or shall we let Vodafone keep several billion pounds in unpaid tax?
The most glaring evidence of our disconnect from reality is our treatment of enemy combatants. We treat them as civilians, which they are most certainly not. To appreciate the absurdity of this, imagine treating Argentine troops the same way during the Falklands War. We did not haul them before the local magistrate and charge them with trespass, or being in possession of a 155mm Howitzer without a firearms license. They were not given suspended sentences with warnings to their future conduct and they were not sent back to their units to continue fighting.
Captured enemy combatants are prisoners of war. They are held in detention for the duration of hostilities. They are accorded all their rights under the Geneva Convention.