The terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is frequently referred to as a major public relations problem for the United States. Pundits, politicians and President Obama have referred to Gitmo as the “number one” recruiting tool for al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, but research on the subject proves the contention false.
First of all, even if Guantanamo Bay was being used as a major recruiting tool, I certainly would not suggest the facility be closed simply due to propaganda published by sworn enemies. Really now … do you think if we shut down Gitmo and moved the 150-plus detainees to the cool climate of Indiana, U.S.A., al-Qaida would send a note of thanks? Hardly, they would just replace references to Gitmo with the name of the new facility and keep going.
Even if we did not have a facility at all … terrorists would claim we had secret facilities around the world and use that propaganda as a recruitment tool.
You don’t expect them to tell the truth do you?
As recently as Dec. 22, Obama referred to the Gitmo “problem” in a news conference. My emphasis in bold.
Question: But it makes me wonder where you are, sir, at about the two-year mark on Guantanamo, when closing it was one of your initial priorities, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Obviously, we haven’t gotten it closed. And let me just step back and explain that the reason for wanting to close Guantanamo was because my number one priority is keeping the American people safe. One of the most powerful tools we have to keep the American people safe is not providing al Qaeda and jihadists recruiting tools for fledgling terrorists.
And Guantanamo is probably the number one recruitment tool that is used by these jihadist organizations. And we see it in the websites that they put up. We see it in the messages that they’re delivering.
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air points us to a Weekly Standard post highlighting a study of messages and interviews by terrorist leaders. Will the White House step up and show us their own study concerning the messages they are delivering? Emphasis in original.
If Guantanamo is such a valuable recruiting tool, then why do al Qaeda’s leaders rarely mention it?
THE WEEKLY STANDARD has reviewed translations of 34 messages and interviews delivered by top al Qaeda leaders operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan (“Al Qaeda Central”), including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, since January 2009. The translations were published online by the NEFA Foundation. Guantanamo is mentioned in only 3 of the 34 messages. The other 31 messages contain no reference to Guantanamo. And even in the three messages in which al Qaeda mentions the detention facility it is not a prominent theme.
During these infrequent interviews and communications, we must figure the recruiters are crafting their messages in a way that will garner results – more recruits. So, what are they using in their messaging?
By way of comparison, all of the following keywords are mentioned far more frequently: Israel/Israeli/Israelis (98 mentions), Jew/Jews (129), Zionist(s) (94), Palestine/Palestinian (200), Gaza (131), and Crusader(s) (322). (Note: Zionist is often paired with Crusader in al Qaeda’s rhetoric.)
Naturally, al Qaeda’s leaders also focus on the wars in Afghanistan (333 mentions) and Iraq (157). Pakistan (331), which is home to the jihadist hydra, is featured prominently, too. Al Qaeda has designs on each of these three nations and implores willing recruits to fight America and her allies there. Keywords related to other jihadist hotspots also feature more prominently than Gitmo, including Somalia (67 mentions), Yemen (18) and Chechnya (15).
To the point, closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility was and continues to be a political tool used by Obama’s political wing to build favor with the left. Certainly, closing Gitmo seems very important to lefty groups like Code Pink, but not so much for the terrorists.
I’ll go back to my question for the White House which will most likely be ignored, but maybe someone in the “real” media can ask the question. Will the White House step up and show us their own study concerning the messages terrorists are delivering?