Gitmo still there By Silvio Canto, Jr. It was 15 years ago that President Obama signed an executive order to close Gitmo and keep a campaign promise. Closing Gitmo was supposed to restore our place in the halls of freedom and due process; or so we heard during the campaign of hope and change.
Well, where are we now? Many of the bad guys are still in Gitmo and you dont hear much from the former president about it. This is a trip down memory lane:
On his second full day in the White House, President Obama issued an executive order to close Guantanamo within a year.
Eight years later, that has not happened. Mr. Obama's ambition was largely thwarted by congressional restrictions, but also by the difficulty in reducing the 242 prisoners he inherited to zero. Today, 55 remain, including five accused of organizing the September 11th attacks on America.
Its now 15 years later and they are still there. Its no longer an issue. The Squad has moved on to other issues.
So what happened? I think that President Obama discovered a couple of realities. The public had little sympathy for the so-called rights of terrorists. Honestly, people are a lot more concerned about someone blowing up a bridge than a bad guy spending the rest of his life in Gitmo. The public instinctively knew that these guys would go back to terrorism if released. Many did.
The other reason is that other countries would not take the prisoners back. They loved giving speeches about the evils of Gitmo, but did not want their nationals back. This is an example from the diplomat under President Obama charged with closing Gitmo:
Early in my tenure, I went to breakfast with a foreign ambassador I had known for some time. He opened the meal by graciously offering on behalf of his country to take up to 20 Guantanamo prisoners. I was ecstatic. By the time the meal was done, it was clear that the offer was contingent on the sale of highly advanced military hardware. No deal.
Some leaders liked Obama personally and agreed to take detainees as an act of personal goodwill. I caught a plane to one country after receiving an email from the national security adviser, who had briefly discussed resettling detainees with that countrys president on the margins of a conference. As this president walked me into his offices, he said: So this is important to President Obama? When I confirmed that it was, he said: If it is important to President Obama, it is important to me. We will do it. The rest of the meeting consisted of pleasantries. Easiest deal I ever did.
No kidding. Lots of talk but no action. Gitmo was a talking point for foreign leaders, much like supporting sanctuary cities was for Democrat mayors or governors. In the end, no one wanted the terrorists from Gitmo just like no one wants the migrants who crossed the border.
Gitmo was never closed. Its operations may cease someday, maybe when you can persuade voters that terrorists can be rehabilitated, and have chosen a different way of life.
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