On Wednesday I tweeted that nobody would any longer be calling for the US prison at Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) to close down. I wrote it in response to reports that one of the attackers of the US embassy in Libya last Tuesday on the anniversary of 9/11 was a former detainee at that prison. In a sane country I would have been correct. But I really ought to have learned my lesson by now never to be shocked by the Obama administration. It seems I let my guard down, however, and I experience shock yet again.
Nobody wants GITMO to close? President Obama has proven me incorrect, as he plans on releasing a minimum of 55 detainees. one of whom was a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden. For now he appears to have nixed his former idea of releasing them into American prisons, but where these prisoners ultimately settle remains to be determined. No country wants them except the ones they came from. Maybe the US should build a prison in the middle of the ocean after they close down the current prison in the middle of the ocean.
One of the most common criticisms leveled at Obama during this first term of his has been that he failed to keep his campaign promise to close GITMO. Presumably he broke this promise because once he became President and was given security briefings, his naiveté on the matter was scrubbed away, and he realized there were actually reasons for there being prisoners at GITMO.
But now, security be damned, he’s releasing one-third of the prisoners.
What I am wondering is how, after receiving news that one of the embassy attackers two weeks ago was a former GITMO detainee, could any American president with sincere concern for the safety of his citizens even contemplate releasing more of those barbarians into the world? This on top of the fact that, according to the Pentagon, one in seven detainees who have been released in the past have returned to wage jihad against Americans. Why are these actions of Obama’s acceptable?
Of course this decision of the President’s is based not on national security, but on politics and concern with his re-election. It is an attempt to re-energize his disillusioned base. “See, I kept my promise, kind of.” As we’ve seen for the past four years, politics comes first in Obama’s mind. “I’m from Chicago,” he once said while campaigning in 2008. “We know how to play politics in Chicago.”