Thursday, February 5, 2015

US National Security Depends On Closing Gitmo

"The President and his national security team all believe that the continued operation of the facility at Guantanamo weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies, and is used by violent extremists to incite local populations." So said Brian McKeon, a  Pentagon official responsible for advising the secretary of defense on policy and strategy, this week.

"There has never been a plan" from the White House on how to deal with the potentially dozens of detainees still incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay if the center is shut, said Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) at Thursday's hearing.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said that President Obama needed to present Congress with a solid plan that would be sufficient to deal with potential recidivism if the detainees are released. Currently, the numbers vary from an estimated 3% to 30% of those who have returned to their terrorist activities since being released.

"In my opinion, the only thing wrong with Guantanamo Bay is there are too many empty beds there now," said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas). "As far as I'm concerned everyone of them can rot in hell and if they can't do that then they can rot in Guantanamo Bay."

His sentiment is pretty much shared by four Republican lawmakers from the Armed Services Committee. Kelley Ayotte of New Hampshire, John McCain of Arizona, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have sided with a bill that would prevent the administration from closing the detention facility. The White House is angry over that.

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) had an alternate idea. His suggestion was to transfer the detainees to super-maximum security prisons not operated by the military. No terrorist has ever escaped a supermax prison, and there have been 556 terrorist convictions reached in federal courts since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but only eight trials conducted by the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals in the same time span.

My question is, how is keeping the detainees locked up less safe than allowing them to go back to their terrorist activities? Which "allies" are we offending by keeping them detained? And aren't images such as burning a man alive and beheading others not a cause for incitement by those who would be incited?

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