Increasing numbers of released Gitmo prisoners returning to terrorism
The Obama administration said that the number of prisoners released from the Guantanamo prison camp who have returned to armed jihad has doubled over the past year.
Many observers have been critical of the Pentagon's methodology in determining which prisoners have rejoined the fighting, believing that the true figures are much higher.
The number of former Guantanamo Bay prison inmates who are suspected of having returned to fighting for militants doubled to 12 in the six months through January, the Obama administration said on Monday.
The increase could fuel Republican attacks on Democratic President Barack Obama's plan to close the U.S. military prison in Cuba, which has come to symbolize aggressive detention practices following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and opened the United States to accusations of torture. Most detainees have been held without trial for more than a decade.
The closure plan, drawn up by the Pentagon and which requires approval by Congress, proposes 13 potential sites on U.S. soil to hold 30-60 detainees in maximum-security prisons.
According to figures released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), as of Jan. 15 the United States also had confirmed that seven out of 144 Guantanamo prisoners who were freed since Obama took office in January 2009 have returned to fighting.
That was up from six since the ODNI's previous release last July. The ODNI report is released every six months and does not give details on where or for which groups the former detainees are confirmed or suspected to be fighting.
The ODNI figures showed that 111 of 532 prisoners released by the Republican administration of President George W. Bush are confirmed to have returned to the battlefield, with 74 others suspected of doing so. Under Bush, suspected militants were rounded up overseas as the United States became embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and imprisoned at Guantanamo.
The closure plan faces strong opposition from lawmakers who do not want detainees transferred to the United States. The United States took control of part of Guantanamo Bay in Cuba in 1903 under a treaty with the Havana government.
That opposition is bipartisan, so this is not a political issue. The polls show that a clear majority of Americans oppose closing the prison camp. So why does the president insist on shutting down Guantanamo?
The idea that the prison camp acts as a recruiting tool for terrorists is unproven and absurd on its face. There have been no "enhanced interrogations" at Gitmo for more than a decade. In fact, the prisoners have been coddled and cared for far better than inmates in U.S. federal prison facilities.
The fact that the recidivism rate for prisoners who are released continues to rise should tell us that the president's plan to transfer these terrorists to other countries isn't working. The Obama administration continues to make the startling claim that prisoners return home after the war is over, and since he has unilaterally ended conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, all prisoners except those directly responsible for the 9/11 attacks should be repatriated.
The wars are not over, and the idea of treating these terrorists as POW in the first place is idiotic. As long as Islamic extremists try to kill Americans, these prisoners should be locked up – even if it's for the rest of their lives.