Friday, January 22, 2010

One Year After Executive Order To Close GITMO

Today marks the date that President Obama, in his first big sweep of the Presidential signing pen, declared that GITMO would be closed.

Executive Order 13492 ¶ 3, January 22, 2009: “The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order.”

“Today I call on the President, with the benefit of one year’s worth of hindsight, to reconsider his ill-conceived campaign pledge to close GITMO. This will restore a needed sense of seriousness to our nation’s counterterrorism efforts and send a powerful message to al Qaeda and its allies that the safety of the American people is more important than world opinion and left-wing handwringing.” - Senator John Cornyn, R-TX.

We see the reversal of boldly, aggressively fighting the war on terror. We see an administration hell bent on burying its head in the sand and naively hoping if they change the name, it will all just go away. The bad guys will love us. Let's just act like each attack and attempted attack is an 'isolated incident' and that there are no dots to connect.

President Obama decreed that GITMO be closed for political points, the ever campaigning pol that he is. He was determined to be the un-Bush. But, he had no plan for the terrorists or alleged terrorists being held at GITMO. He didn't want to dwell on the part about President Bush stating that he, too, wanted to close GITMO but had no way of doing so yet. And John McCain was on board with that, too. Closing GITMO is a goal, not a reality.

By rushing back to the past, the Obama administration heads back to the Clinton model of treating terrorists as criminals, not enemy combatants. This makes sense, given that old Obama pal Eric Holder is the Attorney General. Holder is an old fan of such a mode of operation and learned at the feet of the likes of Janet Reno and Jamie Gorelick. Gorelick was the one responsible for the policy of the wall of silence and noncooperation between intelligence agencies. We can connect those dots all the way to 9/11/01. But, why do that?

This week brought about a Senate hearing on the decision to treat the underwear bomber of Christmas Day as a common criminal. Turns out, the administration also has no plan in place to handle a terrorist caught in the act within the boundaries of our country. According to Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, this act of handing Abdulmutallab into the civilian system "the government all but slammed the door on its ability to interrogate him thoroughly." That quote from The Wall Street Journal.

Blair referenced a unit created called the High-Value Interrogation Group (HIG) that was to "make a decision on whether a certain person who's detained should be treated as a case for federal prosecution or for some of the other means." "We did not invoke the HIG in this case; we should have," Mr. Blair said. "Frankly, we were thinking more of overseas people and, duh, you know, we didn't put {in action} here."

This is the last paragraph of The Wall Street Journal article: "Mr. Blair's testimony was almost instantly disputed by an anonymous Administration official, and he later issued a statement saying his comments had been "misconstrued." We think we heard Mr. Blair right the first time, and his departure from script reveals the dangerous folly of the Administration's policy of treating terrorists like common criminals."

Some members of the Senate have been trying to get to the bottom of exactly who issued the order to give Abdulmutallab over to the FBI. Yesterday Press Secretary Gibbs said he thought it was Eric Holder himself.

This is the statement released by Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, a member of the Senate Judicial Committee. He, along with others Republicans on the committee, has signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder in pursuit of the name of the person in Holder's office who made the decision to treat Abdulmutallab as a common criminal and not as an 'unlawful enemy belligerent'.

“We believe the Department’s hasty decision to pursue criminal charges against Mr. Abdulmutallab deprived our intelligence agencies of a critical opportunity to interrogate an al Qaeda-trained terrorist who was fresh from training in Yemen,” Sen. Cornyn said.

“Had Mr. Abdulmutallab been transferred to military custody as an unlawful enemy belligerent, our government would have had more time to gain an understanding of the terrorist training and recruiting network on the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the activities of al Qaeda in Nigeria,” he added.

And today from a joint statement to President Obama issued by Senators Cornyn and Hutchison:

“Nevertheless, there is still time for you to override this reckless decision. Abdulmutallab must be placed in military custody and systematically interrogated. Doing so would leverage this rare opportunity to gain significant knowledge of modern-day al Qaeda’s current tactics, techniques, and procedures. Protecting the American people from further attack at the hands of al Qaeda must remain the highest priority here,” Sens. Cornyn and Hutchison also wrote.

This administration loves nothing more than pointing fingers at other people, at the previous administration, for political expediency. They do not look serious and far more incompetent than those who governed before them. For them to claim otherwise, well, they have to earn that right.

This afternoon there is word that the U.K. has raised their terror threat level alert to "Severe". None of this is going away in our lifetimes. Time to rise to the occasion. The first responsibility of the oath of office taken by this President, as with all the others before him, is to protect the American people. He should take it to heart before it is too late.


nicholas said...

There is certainly a lack of seriousness on the part of this president, which is a party wide trait when it comes to questions of national security. Part of the problem is the intrusion of politics into a national threat, thus there are now "good positions" (diplomacy is much better than the use of force, Iraq was an unnecessary war fought to preserve the Bush Cheney shares in the oil futures market, Gitmo is a psuedonym for abuse of power and so forth), and their are "bad positions" (the Patriot Act and other measures were reasonable for the protect American lives, Terrorists are treated as enemy combatants and can be interrogated and detaiened as long as necessary, etc.) from the narrative of the left and the national news media.

This kind of splintering for the sake of political gain will result in the loss of American lives. And that loss will result in more finger pointing on the part of the president, while claiming at the same time that the buck stops here. Not good.

Excellent post.

Z said...

And now Biden's saying he wants the Blackwater exonerations revisited..the Iraqis aren't happy.
This is one of the scariest things about this administration; They'll err on anybody's side but America's.

Great post, Karen...
And I think Nicholas' comment is also amazingly well thought out.
Talk about OIL FUTURES...when do we GET SOME? :-)

蒜泥白肉Lynn said...