Every American should ask themselves this question: “Do I feel safer with detainees IN or OUT of Guantanamo Bay?”
If your answer is “IN” then you need to immediately contact your Congressional representatives and demand the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, remain open, and that President Barack Obama stop releasing and transferring detainees IMMEDIATELY.
The cost of letting unlawful combatants in the Global War on Terror loose is too steep.
Liberals ask, “shouldn’t we free those detainees ‘cleared’ for release?” I say the time for that is long past. There was a time to let those less significant Islamist minions go.
While I worked at Gitmo as the ranking U.S. Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, Joint Task Force 160, from February to June 2002, I was part of a mission to return the very first detainee back to his country of origin.
President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, in Washington. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, listen in the background. (AP Photo/Mandel Ngan, Pool)
Abdul Razeq was a 25-year-old Afghan detainee who was collected on the battlefield in the fall of 2001. Rezeq told me that he picked up an AK-47 and fought with the Taliban in order to support his heroin habit. Razeq was also diagnosed schizophrenic.
It took us time to figure this out when Rezeq first arrived to Gitmo. His behavior was so bizarre that we nicknamed him “Wild Bill.” He hung things from his genitals, took bites out of his flip-flops, yelled obscenities indiscriminately and was generally unpredictable and potentially dangerous to himself and others.
This behavior was consistent with a non-medicated schizophrenic and cold turkey withdrawal heroin addict. Razeq was questioned, counseled and cared for. Eventually it was determined that he was no longer a threat to the United States nor of any intelligence value. Razeq was going home.
Once back in Afghanistan, Razeq was hospitalized and then interviewed by Newsweek, saying in response to the question, “How were you treated by your American captors,” he said, “They only once tied my hands. They gave us good food three times a day and biscuits for supper. They were trying to keep us in good health.”
Razeq’s story is unique, but there were other detainees with similar stories over the past 13 years that also resulted in release. I think most Americans can understand that, but it’s a much different ballgame now.
The Abdul Razeq’s of Gitmo are long gone, perhaps recidivists, perhaps not, but the release of KNOWN LEADERS of Islamist groups has no grounding in common sense. The high-risk detainees released by President Obama shock the senses of the average American, and closing Gitmo should be off the table.
Gitmo is in fact the finest military detention facility on earth. The Islamist equivalent is a PILE of HEADS. International Committee of the Red Cross physicians I worked with at Gitmo told me, “no one does [detention operations] better than the United States.”
In this pool photo, reviewed by the U.S. military, and shot through glass, a guard watches over Guantanamo detainees inside the exercise yard at Camp 5 detention facility at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, May 31, 2009. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Over 630 detainees have been RELEASED from Gitmo, and NONE of them have been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, all things our enemies have done to our allies or us.
There may be 30 percent known or suspected recidivists amongst those released detainees, but I’m more concerned about the 70 percent of released detainees we DON’T know about, especially the moderate to high risk fellows.
Human Rights First claims there are about 500 terrorists who have been convicted in U.S. Federal courts since Sept. 11, 2001, but only just over 300 convicted terrorists are serving time in U.S. federal prisons. Where are the other 200 CONVICTED TERRORISTS? Are they alive and well in Paris? Dearborn, Michigan? YOUR neighborhood?
Admitted Al Qaeda convict, Ali Saleh Mohammad Kahlah al-Marri was recently released by the Obama administration and then returned to Qatar. Marri was a close associate of Kahlid Sheik Mohammad, the Sept. 11, 2001 mastermind currently held in Guantanamo Bay, waiting for his war crimes trial. Marri was transferred from military to civilian custody after Obama took office in 2009. His case was reviewed and then he plead guilty to one charge of criminal conspiracy. Now he is free.
Remember the five Taliban leaders released by Obama in exchange for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl? They were also released to Qatar. WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Recent Islamist attacks in Paris, Australia, Canada and in New York City are not “lone wolf” incidents, as the mainstream media and Obama would like for you to believe. They are part and parcel of the Islamist offensive against anything that stands in their way of total world domination.
A hooded demonstrator is seen at a protest calling for the closure of the Guntanamo Bay detention facility infront of the White House on May 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Hyperbole? Don’t take my word for it. Take them at their word.
Establishing the current Islamist caliphate in Syria and Iraq is only the first step. A world-wide jihad, or holy war, is being waged in an unconventional way. From a hatchet attack on the streets of New York (not against innocent civilians, but against uniformed police), to an assassination of a Canadian military guard, these perpetrators are responding to a call to jihad devised and directed by Islamic State leaders, some of whom are former Gitmo detainees.
President Obama said in his State of the Union address that the United States has a “profound commitment to justice,” that the cost of incarcerating each detainee is $3 million per year, and that our enemies continue to use Gitmo as a recruiting tool.
The only recruiting tool our enemies will ever need is Sept. 11, 2001.
As for cost, what is the cost paid by the victims of terror and their loved ones, past, present and future compared with keeping unlawful combatants who want to kill us in Gitmo? And our commitment to justice is in tact, as we follow the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare with regard to detention operations. Not to mention the Military Commissions Act of 2009, crafted by Eric Holder and President Obama, gives virtually the same rights you or I would enjoy in Federal court to Gitmo detainees accused of war crimes.
According to the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare even lawful combatant prisoners of war may be held without charge “until the end of hostilities.” Last time I checked the War on Terror was alive and well and living in Paris, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Canada, Australia, the U.S.
If you don’t admit you have a problem you cannot begin to resolve your problem. The president unilaterally declared the War on Terror OVER in 2013, therefore, if there is no war, there can be no ENEMY. If there is no ENEMY then all Gitmo detainees must be VICTIMS and deserve their FREEDOM, right?
To put it simply, if Obama were the jailer in a game of Capture the Flag and let captives go his teammates would beat him up. Is Congress up to the task? If not and Obama succeeds in closing Gitmo, there can be no question that he sides with terrorists.
I am the author of "Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior," and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter @mjgranger1
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