Countering Obama’s Argument for Closing Guantanamo

First and foremost, the simple argument that Guantanamo (GTMO) is the number one recruitment tool for radical Islam is false. The Intelligence community does not support the idea of GTMO used as a recruitment tool. If it were true, why would this WH want to transfer the detainees to SuperMax prisons in the U.S.? If so, wouldn’t those SuperMax prisons, than become the target and topic of radical recruitment? And if not, why not. Is there a difference? They the detainee’s would still be held under U.S. control in U.S. facilities — only difference is they are being transferred and held at different location, but on the U.S. mainland. The primary recruitment for radical Islam and its ideology is fundamental Islam.

The President’s announcement was simply not factual, and in fact was and continues to be irresponsible. Fulfilling a campaign promise that he had no business making in the first place as a candidate does not have the intricacies of such an issue.

In response to Mr. Obama’s Four (4) Points on Closing Guantanamo:

  1. Safeguarding U.S. national security by coordinating with foreign countries to take on prisoners, and that Guantanamo is just as much a recruitment tool for terrorists, and more so makes those nations accomplices and targets for radical Islamic terrorism.

A). Transferring prisoners to their home, or third party, countries without assurances is an equally just as much a mistake and danger.

B). My experience as Deputy Director for Intelligence at U.S. CENTCOM are that home or third countries will not guarantee anything if terrorist detainees are returned. Most will likely be released, again there are no assurances those countries will comply and will anticipate undue pressure from groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, IS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and entities.

C). GTMO in addition to my lead comment, is not a recruitment tool, no interrogation of jihadist prisoners on the battlefield, by police agencies in Europe and by other intelligence sources have revealed that GTMO is a recruitment tool. This is a fabricated argument put in play by the Obama administration and other nations and organizations sympathetic to Islamists. It is also, and foremost, a propaganda message, initiated by al-Qaeda and other radical Islamists to influence various political groups to pressure the U.S. government, primarily the Democratic party and the Obama administration, again to release all detainees from GTMO. Furthermore, it adds credence certainly Cuba, Russia and others politically driven and international supporters to use to influence the White House and those members of Congress, that support the President, to close GTMO, and return the facility to the Castro government.

  1. Identify prisoners that pose a threat. This is essentially an issue dealing with the ‘recidivism rate of radical Islamists,’ which by the way is all of them and the rate could be 90% to 100%, vice the 30% currently used. This topic at a minimum is another topic for discussion and an issue to certainly be discussed in a separate forum. However, an Islamist Jihadist who is captured and released has no other responsibility to return to the fight … to return to Jihad. To do otherwise, is to renounce Islam and total damnation, shame and most likely death.

A). All detainees do pose a threat and identified on the battlefield as such. GTMO has been known as the Who’s Who of Terrorists, because those that have been detained there.

B). This is the only place where we can hold unlawful combatants, non-uniformed battlefield combatants and enemies of the United States as they do not represent a country. The GENEVA Conventions only applies to uniformed combatants from a sovereign country/nation.

  1. Use legal tools to process those in the middle of legal proceedings.

A). Legal tools are and have always been use.

B). Within the facility is a fully staffed United Nations office and a center for legal defenders to work.

  1. Military commissions are costly because it has been politicized by the White House.

A). These prisoners are not protected by the Geneva Conventions as the convention applies to uniformed members.

B). Bringing detainees into U.S. courts cannot apply as the evidence used for those caught in the battlefield in Afghanistan and Iraq or other countries involved in the Global War on Terror or third country, cannot be used in civilian courts.

Other Considerations:

Guantanamo Naval Base is more than a terrorist detention facility.  It is an operational U.S. Naval deep water naval port facility.

The standard process to close an overseas base and transfer it back to the country to which it exists and is located is a 5-10 year process. And that’s the process over returning military facilities to allied nations. It requires a base closure commission and authority from Congress. It involves and affects multiple agency budgets and appropriations, coordination, international legal proceedings, etc. The U.S. has been there since the late 1800’s, and as an official U.S. naval facility since 1903.

Additionally, there other external in-direct influences not related to terrorism that are affecting the Cuban Government role in lobbying for the closure and return of GTMO.

– Russia wants access to key facilities at Tartus, Syria and Guantanamo, Cuba. Note; Guantanamo is not just a terrorist detention facility, it’s a deep-water Naval Base. The U.S. has been there since the late 1800’s and as an official naval facility since 1903.

Jim Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel, serving nearly 30-years as a career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer and special mission intelligence officer with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare. He served combat and combat-support tours in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as on numerous special operations and special mission intelligence contingencies in Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. He served as a special mission intelligence officer assigned to multiple Joint Special Operations units, and with the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Task Force, as well as in international and foreign advisory positions. He served as Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) during the peak years of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Global War on Terrorism. He is a former White House National Security Council staffer and a former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. He served as a senior advisor to the Commander U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and is Vice President of the Special Ops-OPSEC -- which provides strategic and operational security analysis and assessments to governmental and private entities, as well as media organizations on national security issues, policy, and processes. He currently provides advisory and consulting services on national security, international strategic policy, and strategy assessments for the U.S. and foreign private sector and governments entities, media groups and outlets, and to political groups, forums, and political candidates. He is an author and writer providing regular commentary and opinion to national and local TV, radio networks, and for both print and online publications, as well as speaking engagements to business, political, civic and private groups on national security matters – focusing on international strategic policy and engagement, and strategic intelligence, and subject matter expertise on special mission intelligence and operations, counter-terrorism, and asymmetric warfare and conflict.