Press Releases

Keep Guantanamo Open, Mr. President

When it comes to President Obama’s campaign promise to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention center, many supporters were quick to praise his reversal of President Bush’s policy.
How does the closure of Gitmo make Americans safer? It doesn't.

When it comes to President Obama’s campaign promise to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention center, many supporters were quick to praise his reversal of President Bush’s policy. Those champions of terrorists’ rights are singing a different tune now that they’re facing the real life implications of such an action — namely, the very real possibility that some of the world’s most dangerous and depraved minds will be relocated to their own backyards.

The Obama administration and liberal Democrat leadership claim the closure of the facility is imperative to overhauling America’s image abroad. President Obama has evidenced his desire to appeal to other countries from his remarks criticizing his own nation while overseas during his European tour. But the United States needs to ask itself why it is seeking the role of Miss Congeniality at times when actions that may (or may not) improve our global stature endanger the safety and well-being of American citizens.

How does the closure of Gitmo make Americans safer? It doesn’t. Our president plans to shut down the facility with no plan forward once the doors close permanently, except to bring some of the dangerous men currently held behind its walls onto American soil. Some critics contend that concerned conservatives are grossly exaggerating the security issue. If that is the case, then why haven’t other nations the Obama administration is so eager to please — nations adamantly decrying the existence of the facility — stepped up to help offer a solution and accept the detainees?

Because they’re not stupid! They do not want to throw out the welcome mat to trained, unrepentant terrorists who have dedicated themselves to murder and destruction. Hence our current predicament. Yet the Obama administration is so eager to win brownie points with foreign countries that it is willing to sacrifice the safety of its own. Unfortunately, this administration is so firmly plugged into campaign mode and unplugged from reality, it is not aware that a major problem in U.S. prisons is recruiting by radical Muslims within the prison system. What happens if you add to that prison system the most effective terrorist recruiters in world history? Once on American soil and in our federal prison system, their world of manipulation reopens.

During my trip latest trip to Gitmo a few months ago, I was made aware of the conniving efforts of detainees to successfully throw urine or feces onto our U.S. military guards about three dozen times a day. I was aghast, and as a former law and order judge, I wanted to know what was being done. It turns out that the soldiers are not allowed to react at all. One guard allowed his immediate anger to bring forth a retort of "You (??) terrorist," and he received an Article 15 (non-judicial punishment of restriction and extra duty). The commander said that in most prisons an inmate assaulting a guard would be placed in isolation. However, there are so many international groups whose biggest concern is that these terrorists not be placed into isolation that it never occurs. They do usually lose a couple of hours of their movie watching privileges or, if it is a bad enough incident, lose a couple of their several hours outside.

Once in a U.S. prison, these terrorists who recruit new terrorists will have a field day. What a formula for disaster! Have we so lost the stomach for defending ourselves that we have no chance of perpetuating a peaceful national existence?

Some of the most infamous terrorists captured and currently held at Guantanamo include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the driving force behind the attacks on 9/11; Abu Zubaydah, who trained three of the 9/11 hijackers; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, mastermind of the USS Cole bombing; and several others. In their unrepentant pleading, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and several other of the 9/11 masterminds currently being held at Guantanamo Bay stated:

Killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, all are considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion. These actions are offerings to God. …Our religion is a religion of fear and terror to the enemies of God: the Jews, Christians, and pagans. With God’s willing, we are terrorists to the bone. So, many thanks to God.

Just so you understand the allegedly brutal conditions at Gitmo, every day the detainees are given prayer rugs, Korans with special holders so that they’re never touched by Americans, and even an arrow on the floor that points toward Mecca so that they can offer their daily prayers to Allah. They’re granted outdoor activity time and hours to watch movies.  And it’s extremely important to note that no waterboarding has ever taken place at Guantanamo. Guantanamo Bay is the most humane facility where these terrorists can be held, but President Obama is convinced that our nation needs an image makeover to make some other countries happy.

Since the president is closing Guantanamo, the effect of his action will be to aid the terrorists in reaching their ultimate goal by getting them into the United States. Once in this country, there are judges who will let some of these men loose. The safety of this nation cannot afford that. For those terrorists found guilty, there are no detention facilities in the U.S. that will keep them away from American prisoners, and they would surely be housed near them. It is also not far-fetched to have fellow terrorists decide that the next attack needs to be in the community nearest where the terrorists are being held, demanding their release or threatening further local murder on a broad scale.

The pleading filed by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed closes with:

We have news for you, the news is: You will be greatly defeated in Afghanistan and Iraq and that America will fall, politically, militarily, and economically. Your end is very near and your fall will be just as the fall of the towers on the blessed 9/11 day.

These terrorists have declared war on our way of life and are proud of their roles in the attacks. They will not stop until they destroy us or we put them back into Pandora’s Box. It is imperative that Guantanamo stays open and these dangerous men not be brought to U.S. soil or released within our borders. America doesn’t need an image consultant; it needs a commander in chief who will ensure that these enemies are not given another chance to destroy us.

Congressman Louie Gohmert represents the first district of Texas. He is a ranking member on the Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Gohmert was a captain in the U.S. Army.