President Obama never had a plan to close Camp Delta, the detainee facility for the worst of the worst terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Like many liberals, he felt it was the right thing to do, made a big deal about the issue during the campaign, and kicked off his term by committing to close the facility in one year. Epic Fail.
On Jan. 22, I wrote about Obama’s plan to close Gitmo without a plan. The rhetoric and language was beautiful, but reality quickly slapped the president in the face in May when the Senate voted 90 to 6 declining Obama’s request to provide funding to close the facility. (Speaking of not-so-grand plans, ensure you read the update at the bottom of this post.)
In late September the administration admitted the base would not be closed up, and the way I figure, the base has about 230 detainees and the president has only been able to off-load 17 of them.
What’s next? Let’s have the administration start pointing fingers to deflect the blame. First of all, this base is an unfortunate reality in the War on Terror and the Obama administration is finally realizing the problem. American’s do not want them here in prisons – although I think a community or state will soon be bought off to take them – and other countries won’t commit to taking them in unless the United States agrees to put terrorists on American soil.
Hence the problem.
Onward to the blame game from Josh Gerstein at Politico, with my emphasis in bold.
Greg Craig, the top in-house lawyer for President Barack Obama, is getting the blame for botching the strategy to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison by January — so much so that he’s expected to leave the White House in short order.
But sources familiar with the process believe Craig is being set-up as the fall guy and say the blame for missing the deadline extends well beyond him.
Instead, it was a widespread breakdown on the political, legislative, policy and planning fronts that contributed to what is shaping up as one of Obama’s most high-profile setbacks, these people say.
Let’s just be clear here. Obama was the one who took the lead to close the facility and made a big deal about it. Whether or not you think Camp Delta should be closed and the terrorists moved elsewhere is really irrelevant when measuring the success of the Obama administration.
He promised to close the base. He made it a campaign cry. He did it to “help” improve relationships with other countries. He did not realize terrorists held in the camp want to kill Americans – or did not care – and now he’s realizing if he cuts them loose, many will return to the fight (many have already) and kill people.
Leave Camp Delta open.
Update: As a companion note, it looks like another Camp Delta detainee – who was released to Saudi Arabia and bolted back for his buddies in al-Qaida – is a dead tango as of some time in September.
A former Guantanamo detainee has reportedly been killed in a shootout between the Yemeni Army and Houthi rebels in northern Yemen. The former detainee, Fahd Saleh Suleiman al Jutayli, was captured in Pakistan after fleeing the Tora Bora Mountains in 2001. He was repatriated to his native Saudi Arabia in May 2006.
According to the Yemen Post, two other former Gitmo detainees – Yusuf al Shehri and Othman al Ghamdi – called their families to tell them Jutayli had been killed in the fighting and asked them to inform Jutayli’s family.
Earlier this year, the Saudi government included all three of these former Guantanamo detainees – Jutayli, Shehri, and Ghamdi – on a list of the Kingdom’s 85 most wanted terrorists. After being released from Guantanamo, the three graduated from Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation program and joined eight other former Gitmo detainees in fleeing south to Yemen. All eleven joined al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Yusuf al-Shehri, a former Gitmo detainee, reportedly informed his family of Jutayli’s death. Photo courtesy of the NEFA Foundation.
The escape of the eleven former Gitmo detainees from Saudi Arabia was reportedly organized by still other Gitmo veterans.