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  • Morning Bell: Guantanamo Ten Years Later

    His plan was to rip apart nightclubs with explosives, unleash a wave of destruction on bridges, and open fire on police officers–all in sunny Florida. This was the murderous intent of Sami Osmakac, 25, an American citizen from the former Yugoslavia who was determined to spill blood, foment destruction, and bring terror to the United States all in the name of Allah. Fortunately, undercover FBI agents thwarted his efforts, making this the 44th foiled terrorist plot against America.

    Osmakac’s plot is a not-so-subtle reminder that terrorists lurk not only in the caves of Afghanistan or in the wilds of Africa but also inhabit our backyard, bringing their “holy war” of terror to our shores and our cities. While terrorists continue to conspire to strike the United States, the men and women of our military and intelligence community keep up their fight as well, striving to protect our homeland, identify enemies, gather intelligence, and prevent attacks. Law enforcement is an important component of that effort, but so too is the military’s ability to detain dangerous enemy combatants, as it has at the Guantanamo Bay facility for the past ten years.

    Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the first “war on terrorism” inmates at the Guantanamo prison, and the milestone was marked by protests crying out for the facility’s closure. Hundreds rallied in Washington yesterday in front of the White House and the Supreme Court, chanting “Ten years too long, ten years too late.”

    That was a policy that President Barack Obama, too, embraced and campaigned for, yet in March 2011, he resumed military trials for terrorism suspects in Guantanamo and allowed for prisoners to be detained there if they are a serious threat to U.S. security. In short, Guantanamo remains open — and there’s good reason. The facility continues to serve an important role in the war against terrorists, houses high-value terrorist detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed–the architect of September 11–keeps terrorists off the battlefield, and allows for lawful interrogations.

    Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, the Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow in Public Policy and chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, explains why the Guantanamo facility is necessary and how it has helped keep America safe over the past decade:

    Shortly after September 11, it became evident that this war would be different from all previous wars in the sense that we would need to rely more on tactical and strategic intelligence to thwart and defeat the enemy than traditional military might. To defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, we needed to know what they knew; one of the obvious ways to learn their intentions was through lawful interrogation at a safe detention facility. Guantanamo, used as a detention facility since the Clinton administration, was just such a place.

    There have been 779 detainees at Guantanamo. Today, there are only 171. But over the past decade, we have not only kept dangerous terrorists at Guantanamo and thus away from the battlefield, we have learned a great deal from them during long-term, lawful interrogations. Without a safe, secure detention and interrogation facility, we would not have gained the tactical and strategic intelligence needed to degrade and ultimately defeat the enemy.

    Protesters overlook Guantanamo’s value in protecting our homeland and preventing terrorist attacks before they occur. Instead, they argue that Guantanamo’s very existence only serves to incite our enemies to attack us, all while depriving them of their right to trial. As Meese notes, they ignore that there was no Guantanamo detention facility “when terrorists struck the World Trade Center in the 1990s or blew up the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 or attacked the USS Cole in 2000.” And they also forget to mention that the detainees are represented by civilian and military counsel, that the conditions there are safe, secure, and humane — in compliance with international law.

    While the protests against Guantanamo go on, so does the war against terrorists. Al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and others with the same murderous, anti-American agenda continue to plot the next attack against our homeland. Likewise, the United States must continue to do all that it can — within the rule of law — to prevent those attacks before more lives are lost. That includes the use of Guantanamo’s detention facility unless and until a safe, reasonable alternative is proposed.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    22 Responses to Morning Bell: Guantanamo Ten Years Later

    1. Jill Maine says:

      These prisoners are living in a country club. What's the problem? We don't need them in America thanks. I swear we are living in the upside down world of Alice in Wonderland.

    2. Charles says:

      I think some of the language is wrong in this article. If you make war on the US, and you are a US citizen, you become a traitor and treasonist, not a terrorist and not a domestic terrorist. The penalty for that is in Article 3 of The US Constitution, is not negotiable, and has nothing to do with detention in Guantanamo Bay.

      • Al Metcalf says:

        Right on the money Charles. It seems like each year we get another crop of morons within our government or in the media of one stripe or another. Treason is well established and so is the punishment. The Constitution voices it quite well. We do not need a special place to hold those guilty of treason, we only need the scaffold or the firing squad.

      • Joseph McKennan says:

        Call a spade a spade, a traitor a traitor. You hit the nail right on the head, Charles. I would not even waste money to give traitors a trial or a media driven build-up to the firing squad. Just do it.

      • Sean says:

        And what would that punishment be? The only mention of Punishment in the Constitution for Treason is that "The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason".

    3. Pam says:

      Their argument that Guantanamo invites more terror attacks is not even logical. Every country in the world has some type of place to house criminals, even places such as Afghanistan and Iran. Does anyone see the U.S. attacking those countries today? In fact, until Obama wrongly and unilaterally invaded Libya, has the U.S. ever invaded another country without a good solid reason, or without the concurrence of Congress and our allies? The answer would be no.

    4. Carl Rowe says:

      It is an inconvenient truth, but nevertheless a fact, that we are not really at war with terror, but actually at war with political Islam who uses terror as one of its day to day tactics of advancing its agenda. Either we are not recognizing it, or are unwilling to admit this fact. Look around the world! What ideology is responsible for most of the wars and acts of terror that are right now going on? Unless our leaders properly identify the enemy, there is no way we can defeat him. Unfortunately, Islam's goal is to dominate the world and always annihilates the host culture of the countries where it is allowed to grow. We fail to realize that Islam is both religious and political in nature, and that it is mostly political. Historically we tend to separate religion from politics. Hitler's "National Socialism" was political, but nevertheless had "religious beliefs" behind it and driving it. Islam puts itself forth as a religion (which we in the west naturally respect and honor), but that only masks the real political nature of the beast.

    5. Robert says:

      One of Obama's best friends for years had the same desires: mass murder. Bill Ayers would have killed many innocents and did not need Allah as an excuse. Fortunately he was totally incompetent and only blew up his best friend and girl friend as well. Due to his incompetence and hatred, they made him a college professor at U of Illinois where he shares his fine ideals with our youths, at tax payer expense. (He is still an adviser to the president.)

    6. john says:

      To solve our problems: Arrest Obama and every politician that has supported him both Democrat and Republican , lock them up in Guantanamo for a minimum of 100 years or until deceased. Because they are the real terrorists.

    7. Curt Krehbiel says:

      "There have been 779 detainees at Guantanamo. Today there are only 171."

      We are detaining these muslims at great expense to what end? Lining up five or ten each week before a firing squad would likely aid in interrogations of those remaining while reducing the expense of detention. These people are adherents to the dictates of the Koran and would likely volunteer for the weekly sessions in order to sooner meet their 72 virgins. The other pleasure they have in life is killing infidels which is also dictated by the Koran.

    8. Larry Schneider says:

      When will anyone in this country admit that Obama is Islam and providing assistance to our enemies. He helped turn Egypt and other near east countries into sanctuary for terrorists. All detainees (we should call them terrorists) at Gitmo should be executed once we have obtained any useful intelligence they may have. Problem solved.

    9. Jim says:

      with 171 detainees perhaps we could have a protestor house one of them in their home for a small sum. wonder how many protestors would take up the challenge?LOL

    10. Michael McCarthy says:

      The constitution is being ignored by our President. Both Democrats and Republicans should forget each others
      political positioning and literally storm the white house demanding that Pres. Obama adhere to the terms
      and meaning of the U.S. constitution. If the Democrats refuse to participate then the Republicans (all of them)
      should contact the citizens of each state to flow to Washington for a mass march on the White House and if
      necessary, shut off all unnecessary spending by this President.

    11. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Close Guantanimo___AFTER THE WAR ENDS!

    12. Tim Farrell says:

      "Protesters overlook Guantanamo’s value…" No, they don't OVERLOOK Guantanamo's value, they don't want that value as it doesn't play into their "hate and destroy" America ideology. They'd be just as happy if the terrorists and "wanna-be's" blew up more buildings and killed more people (as long as they are spared, of course)

    13. Paddy O says:

      Obama wants to please Europe which is where the stongest objection to gitmo comes from.
      Does obama know that Europe is loaded with islamist immigrants and does this encourage him, so he can get the Islamist vote in the american Elections? Getting re-elected is his priority. To hell with what is good for the country!

    14. David Dean says:

      Today we have a culture in America that demands all, but the complaining stems from those who choose not to sacrifice to obtain the outcomes desired. Their plates are full through the good grace of others and blood shed of the efforts of mlitary, law enforcement, and intelligence personnel who "volunteer" to step forward and defend those who want all the benefits without investing themselves. The excuse they proffer is "I pay taxes" and that in and of itself is their sole contribution at best. As a retired Army veteran for over 20 years and nearing now 20 years in civilian law enforcement, I will continue to execute "my duties" dilligence, honor, and committment to protect even those who either choose to ignore such efforts or in some circumstances disdain such endeavors to protect them.

    15. David Dean says:

      Guantanamo is what some like to define "as a necessary evil' whereas I along with many others would provide the definition that those who choose to attack us (yes, that means these people intentionally try to kill and harm us!) have chosen the punishment and that happens at this juncture to be Guantanamo. The simplistic solutions put forth (i.e. WE must address the wrongs claimed to "appease" {my definition} their complaints) merely continues to promote the atmosphere terrorists thrive within. Ignorance in this case does not solve the problems, but proactive and certain outcomes for terrorist actions will eliminate those who cultivate and foment the environment to grow more of those who continue such activities. Shaking the hand of a terrorist does not stop his/her actions, but rather it emboldens them in effect because they view it as weakness and capitulation to their perspective. Our path will not be an easy one, but it is one that only affords a position of strength if America selects the path to confront and not bow to such terroristic standards.

    16. LC Louisiana says:

      The reasons I have read to eliminate are invalid, in my opinion. It is serving an important purpose to house captured terrorists. That's where all should be sent to, a trial conducted, and, in most cases, if not all, the guilty receive the death penalty. The Best Offense is a Good Defense. Likewise, the best elimination of terror attacks is a trial, conviction, and death penalty. A strong penalty to convicted criminals can do much to eliminate crime.

    17. Doctor Dave says:

      Just shoot the prisoners or hang them rather than hope to gain more military information which is probably too old to have any value militarily. It is costing tax payers too much
      Money to keep the place open. Just start a tour business for interested tourists on the cruise lines to see the place. Keep the base open for the Castro communists to visit also.

    18. Oscar Manful says:

      America's human rights record is gradually improving…….though it had a checkered past ! Guantanamo is a necessary evil….presents a conundrum . Terrorists have to be deterred or America's ideals and principles must be upheld at all times but are they being in these detention centers ? Or must there be a re-definition of these American ideals. Torture, harassment, abuse, beating, interrogation under duress and unsavory detention conditions are some of the charges leveled against Guantanamo. As such its a situation that has to be looked at definitely.

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