Just like he is “chipping away” at the Veterans Administration ills. He seems to have golf on the brain, but still can’t get out of his own way with regard to doing the right thing for America.
While attending a recent event in Cleveland the president was asked if he had any regrets for his first few months in office. He said he would have closed Gitmo on "the first day," and Gitmo is “not who we are as a country,” and is “used by terrorists around the world to help recruit jihadists.”
Point one. “Who we are as a country” is following the Law of Land Warfare and the Geneva Conventions, both things that are followed to the letter and spirit at Gitmo. I know, I served there in 2002. An International Committee of the Red Cross physician I worked with there told me, “no one does [detention operations] better than the United States.”
(EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission. ) A Public Affairs Officer escorts media through the currently closed Camp X-Ray which was the first detention facility to hold 'enemy combatants' at the U.S. Naval Station on June 27, 2013 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, houses the American detention center for 'enemy combatants'. President Barack Obama has recently spoken again about closing the prison which has been used to hold prisoners from the invasion of Afghanistan and the war on terror since early 2002. Credit: Getty Images
The worst thing detainees complained about to us while I was there was our practice of removing the candy from the Meals Ready-To-Eat field rations we gave them, typically for their lunch meal, for purposes of behavior modification. If the detainee was cooperative, they got the candy. If they were uncooperative it was one of the “comfort items” we took away.
The truth is some of the detainees held at Gitmo never had it better. The prison philosophy of keeping them “fat and happy,” because they are more compliant and cooperative, coupled with the president’s revolving door policy has perpetuated the impression that Gitmo is nothing more than a jihadi way-station before they are returned to the fight. It’s supposed to help remind them they are going nowhere and doing nothing unless they cooperate. But Gitmo is the best, safest and most secure place to keep unlawful combatants in the Global War on Terror, despite the mainstream media’s “Club Gitmo” mantra.
Point two. Gitmo as a recruiting tool? Really? This tired excuse for closing Gitmo has been disproved over and over again. It is a propaganda piece used by our enemies. But understand, it doesn’t matter where we hold unlawful combatants who want to kill us, they would complain about and denounce ANYPLACE we put them.
The real recruiting tool is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, which came BEFORE Gitmo. Gitmo is the finest military detention facility on earth. To date over 640 detainees have been RELEASED and NONE have been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets or BURNED ALIVE. All things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies.
The Islamist equivalent to Gitmo is a PILE of HEADS and ASHES. Why doesn’t the President denounce THAT?
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
By constantly pointing out the myth that Gitmo contributes to jihadism the president deflects attention from the REAL issue, that of the Global War on Terror, which he unilaterally declared OVER in 2013, is still ongoing. This actually gives our enemies ammunition in their propaganda war against the U.S. Because the president believes the War on Terror is over, he must feel all Gitmo detainees are VICTIMS. Why else would he let them go?
Continuing his attacks on Gitmo only gives our enemies more political influence. He is playing for the other team in words and deeds. Trading five Taliban leaders for one American alleged deserter was enough to prove that, but his subsequent release of more detainees and his frequent rhetoric against Gitmo leave no doubt that the President cares more about his dubious legacy and sticking to hollow talking points than he does about defending this nation against terrorists.
According to the Law of Land Warfare and the Geneva Conventions 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 Tunisia, Paris, Africa, Syria, Iraq, Canada and many other places, including the United States.
The President’s policy of trying suspected terrorists in U.S. Federal court is flawed and dangerous. According to Human Rights First nearly 500 terrorists have been convicted in U.S. Federal courts, but only a little over 300 are in Federal prisons. Where are the other 200 convicted terrorists? YOUR neighborhood?
Closing Gitmo would do absolutely NOTHING to help win the War on Terror. Only those who want us dead and who are drinking the President’s “close Gitmo” Kool-Aid want it closed. The majority of Americans understand the need for Gitmo and want it to remain open. As long as our legislators, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) see a need for Gitmo it will remain open.
So, if you feel safer with detainees IN instead of OUT of Gitmo, let YOUR representatives and senators know how you feel TODAY.
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). Blog, Facebook, and Twitter @mjgranger1.
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