Wordsmith set the ball rolling today on the story that has profound dangers for Americans in the war on terror. Both he and Curt cited the Washington Post story in which reporter Dana Priest gushed:
With the stroke of his pen, he effectively declared an end to the "war on terror," as President George W. Bush had defined it, signaling to the world that the reach of the U.S. government in battling its enemies will not be limitless.
With the stroke of a pen terrorists around the world were put on notice that the most successful anti-terrorism strategy that has saved thousands of American lives and resulted in the capture of kill of thousands of terrorist scum worldwide was coming to an end.
No doubt there will be a moment of celebration in the caves of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Saudi Arabia and many European capitals tonight. Note: I didn't mention Iraq. There, we can expect our sworn ally to continue the fight as they have all these many years.
Where's the Beef?
The executive order Obama signed which attracted the most attention was his decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within one year; thus fulfilling at least one campaign pledge after breaking so many more.
And yet the order is short on details as to how exactly Obama expects to meet that deadline. At the signing ceremony he had to turn to Greg Craig ,Bill Clinton's impeachment lawyer and now White House Counsel, and confirm that the details will only be forthcoming later. Obama may need Craig's experience with Bill Clinton if things go wrong.
After years of Democrats complaining that President Bush had not adequately thought out the steps necessary to handle the problem of captured terrorists, does it not strike readers as odd that President Obama would dive into this pool head first without considering the details?
Republicans in the House Pounce
Speaking on behalf of Congressional Republicans, House Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement:
“The Guantanamo Bay prison is filled with the worst of the worst – terrorists and killers bent on murdering Americans and other friends of freedom around the world. If it is closed, where will they go, will they be brought to the United States, and how will they be secured? Will they be released by the courts, despite reports that more than 60 former terrorist detainees have already returned to battlefields to fight us again? Unfortunately, in briefings yesterday the new Administration did not have any real answers to these concerns.Along with House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was joined by Judiciary Committee Members Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) Daniel Lungren (R-Calif.), Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Ted Poe (R-Texas), Gregg Harper (R-Miss.), Howard Coble (R-NC), and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) as they introduced a bill named The Enemy Combatant Detention Review Act (H.R. 630) which establishes clear rules regarding the detention of known terrorists.
Unfortunately, House Republicans have NO power to advance any legislation in a House controlled by Nancy Pelosi and in which the previous rules enacted by a GOP majority giving the minority greater rights has been abolished. So much for bipartisanship when Democrats are in control. So much for tens of millions of Americans with a different point of view being given a voice in their legislature.
Gitmo Killers Free to Kill Again?
House Leader Boehner cited the Pentagon report which states: "61 detainees who have been held and then released from Guantanamo Bay are suspected or confirmed to be 'returning to the fight.'”
That's no surprise to anyone. I'm reminded of the story of one American working at Guantanamo Bay who got to know one of the inmates. Asked what he would do if he got out the inmate said he would kill the man's family and other Americans. But added: "it's nothing personal." It's what these monsters do.
And so many of them have done just that:
Guantánamo detainee resurfaces in terrorist groupObviously the plan President Bush had in place to process detainees had flaws. But the Obama plan promises to be much worse with immense consequences for Americans whose lives may be placed in danger.
By Robert F. Worth
International Herald Tribune
January 23, 2008
The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda's Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order that President Barack Obama signed that the detention center be shut down within a year.
The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen's capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.
Will Obama face the same accountability that President Bush did these past eight years? What if terrorists do strike the U.S. on our soil or overseas and we learn that we could have stopped the attack if Bush's policy was still in place? Will Obama attorney Greg Craig once again be called on to perform the same services he did for Bill Clinton?
A Poll for Obama Voters Only
Since Obama provided no details on how he would fulfill his campaign promise, let's ask those who voted for him what should be done with Gitmo detainees: