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Déjà Vu All Over Again

By Skip Ash1456335300000

O to have a President who gets it! Just as the news is reporting that another former GITMO detainee has rejoined his jihadist colleagues to battle the good guys, the President of the United States vows to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (a.k.a. GITMO). Mr. Obama continues to assert, among other things, that continuing to operate GITMO “weakens our national security by furthering the recruiting propaganda of violent extremists.” What rubbish!

It bears pointing out again that radical Islamic jihadists had the U.S. in their sights well before GITMO was ever even conceived of by the Bush Administration. Remember, the attacks on our embassies in East Africa, our forces in Saudi Arabia, our destroyer in Yemen, the Twin Towers in NYC, and the Pentagon in northern Virginia all occurred before there was any GITMO to serve as an alleged recruitment tool for jihadists. There were jihadists aplenty well before GITMO was established, and I dare say that radical Muslim jihadists have more important contrived grievances in their heads than to fret over the fact that we have detained a few hundred odd jihadists at GITMO.

Let’s also keep in mind that under the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC), enemy fighters we capture on the battlefield may be held until the war is over. We don’t owe them lawyers, notification of charges, trials, or anything similar. Under the LOAC, they are in preventive detention, not punitive detention. In other words, they are being detained to prevent them from returning to the battlefield, not to punish them for any alleged wrongdoing. Could we try some of them? Sure! We can always put on trial those who have violated the LOAC, but it’s our choice—both whether to do so and, if we do, as to timing. They only get access to lawyers, charge sheets, and other formalities if, and only if, we decide to try them.  Despite incessant whining from those on the Left and some of our allies, detainees at GITMO are being well cared for. And, let’s not forget, the detainees at GITMO are being treated far better than they would treat Americans in their custody, if the shoe were on the other foot.

Now, let’s look at Mr. Obama’s plan to close GITMO. First, trying to make oneself look good in the eyes of future historians is never a sufficient reason to risk national security. Second, as already noted, closing GITMO will have zero – ZERO – impact on recruitment of radical jihadists. Radical jihadists already consider the United States to be the root of all evil. Third, what closing GITMO will actually do is require that the most dangerous detainees be moved from Cuba to the United States mainland—in clear violation of U.S. law. Admittedly, violating U.S. law seems to be no impediment to this Administration, so I don’t hold out much hope that such an argument will forestall the President’s hand for long. Fourth, and perhaps more important, placing such detainees in U.S. penitentiaries may well violate the LOAC, since the detainees have not been tried and convicted of any crimes. Under the LOAC, such persons are to be held in separate installations under military control, not with common criminals as would be the case in U.S. penitentiaries.

I can also foresee the ACLU and similar leftist groups having a field day over the injustice of incarcerating “those poor, misunderstood fellas” in the United States. In my view, such groups don’t always have America’s best interests at heart.

Hence, now is the time to contact both of your Senators and your Representative and urge them to do the right thing by opposing President Obama’s proposal to Congress. No to closing GITMO! No to bringing the worst of the worst radical Islamist detainees at GITMO to the U.S. mainland! Stand tall and be counted!

Don’t Close Gitmo and Release Terrorists

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