HARRIS: ... that the detainees were able to take their lives, and we weren't able to stop them, so disappointment in that regard.
I also felt that what a shame it would be if this was an act that was manipulated or caused by other detainees for some political gain. And I believe, my personal opinion, because the investigation is still ongoing, so I can't talk about what the investigation has found out or whether it's even -- if there's more to find out. But I believe that the detainees killed themselves as an act of resistance -- you know, I've said before: an act of asymmetric warfare; that it wasn't an individual detainee killing himself because he was despairing of continued attention.
There were three detainees that killed themselves in very similar fashion. And I believe that they did it in a planned operation.
MORAN: I want to pick up on that.
MORAN: I'll ask it again. You called the suicide of three human beings who were in prison under your care and protection an act of asymmetric warfare. It shocked a lot of people. Do you regret using those words at all?
HARRIS: No, because I believe in what I know. I believe that they are the truth.
It did shock a lot of people, and I've been castigated in the media -- in certain quarters of the media -- for saying it. But the fact is that I find it egregious that three human beings would, in fact, kill themselves, being manipulated to do so by other human beings, to kill themselves. And so that's what I find shocking, that's what I find egregious.
And we know that this isn't first time that this sort of action has been attempted in Guantanamo. You know, last May we had a couple of detainees try to kill themselves by overdosing on drugs, none of which -- none of whom were actually on any meds. So they had to get those drugs from other detainees who were part of the operation to have two or three folks kill themselves.
MORAN: But how can a man in a 6-by-8 cage commit an act of war against you?
HARRIS: And that is exactly what asymmetric warfare is. It's when two folks, two powers, two entities are fighting and one is by all measures stronger than the other, then asymmetric warfare is a way to wage combat by the power that has the lesser power.
And in the case of these detainees, you know, they hung themselves, hung themselves with things that they had in their cells, which is unfortunate, but it happened.
MORAN: Do you have any pity for their families, the people that knew them before they came to Guantanamo?
HARRIS: Of course I feel sorry for their families and the people that they are close to. I feel bad, sorry that these folks felt the need to respond to other detainees and be willing to take their own lives for this. But they made that decision and we're moving on from that and dealing with it.
MORAN: There was one commentator, a conservative, who said that your description of these suicides as asymmetric warfare is evidence that Guantanamo Bay needs to be closed, because it's dehumanizing senior officers of the United States military.
HARRIS: I'm not familiar with that commentary. But I believe that it's just the opposite. It shows just how serious and how dangerous the detainees we have here are and how committed they are to their version of jihad.
MORAN: Admiral, how do you know they aren't just in despair?