“……..They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured……..” This is part of the argument made today by President Obama about why Gitmo needs to be closed. This quote makes some assumptions that just don’t exist in my opinion. The people we are fighting now have no respect for their own lives let alone ours. The Taliban and Al Qaeda are perfectly happy to die. The very worst thing that could happen to them is to be captured.
Many of the points in the speech today just don’t seem to jive with the historical records. On the day of 9/11 I clearly remember watching citizens across the Middle East in the streets handing out treats and cheering. His statement makes it seem like we were loved before Gitmo opened. Sadly, that is just not the case. After all, we never would have a Gitmo prison if we were not attacked on 9/11.
I agree with the President that much was done out of fear. The problem with his assessment of that is he isn’t the one that had to make these decisions the days, weeks, and months directly after the attacks. It is very easy to look back almost eight years after the fact and dissect the mistakes that were made. Fear for the safety of the American public was a natural reaction. Personally, I feel that if our leaders didn’t fear for my safety after 9/11, they should not be in a position of authority.
I am very interested to hear how he would have handled the prisoners who were picked up within months of 9/11. Especially, how he would have handled the interrogations of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Monday morning quarterbacking is easy. We now know that we have not been attacked for almost eight years, at the time we didn’t know when the next attack would be coming or if it would be even more deadly. As Dick Cheney stated today, he was the one in the underground bunker at the white house watching 3,000 innocent people being murdered. President Obama was not.