From the L.A. Times:

In 1014, Byzantine Emperor Basil II had a bit of a problem. He had decisively defeated the Bulgarian tsar and taken virtually the entire opposing army captive. Basil II was not keen on feeding and holding more than 14,000 prisoners of war, but he also was not inclined to release an entire army that could simply turn around and resume hostilities. His solution was both chilling and simple: He divided the army into groups of 100 and blinded 99 out of each group. He left one man with one eye in each group to lead this line of wretches back to the Bulgarian tsar.

Basil II’s dilemma came to mind last week as the first U.S. prisoners from Afghanistan arrived, hooded and shackled, at Camp X-Ray, the new prison under construction at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. is now coming to grips with one of the oldest problems for a victorious army: what to do with the defeated army.

By Any Other Name, They’re Still Prisoners


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