It Is Not Because He Wants To Make The Nation Safer
By Col. Tom Snodgrass (Ret.), Right Side News
Background History To The Democrat Party’s Partisan Opposition To Gitmo Has Crippling National Security Implications
Democrat politicians’ opposition to vigorously combating and shutting down Islamic jihadists actually preceded 9/11. Beginning in Korea, it can be traced to vapid Democrat national security concepts formulated during the Cold War. As the Cold War progressed, Democrats became increasingly ambivalent about pursuing a winning strategy in warfare.
Part of the Democrats’ hesitancy to aggressively fight war was born of their fear of “provoking the enemy” and escalating the conflict to the point that existential war would become too politically risky. The political risk Democrats feared most was that energetic warfare would cause negative domestic public opinion and reaction. The crux of Democrat fear was that such domestic political discontent would eventually result in their electoral defeat.
The other part of the Democrat ambivalence to protect U.S. national interests through dynamic war strategy was born of liberalism’s fundamental depreciation of American culture and the resulting belief that America’s enemies have legitimate grievances that can and should be appeased, thus they believe in appeasement as a means of avoiding or shortening war. Consequently, Democrats, as a political party, historically have discounted or minimized foreign totalitarian threats, while sympathizing with foreign opposition to U.S. armed presence, interests, and influence abroad. “Blame America first” became the watchwords of the Democrat Party.
And as a result of Democrats’ reticence in war, Lyndon Johnson’s bloody fingerprints are all over the Vietnam Memorial Wall in the form of the 58,000+ names of U.S. servicemen who perished pursuing Johnson’s foolish, craven Vietnam strategy that squandered their lives in his nonsensical “no-win” war plan. Next, Jimmy Carter’s less bloody, but no less foolish and craven post-Vietnam strategy, which invited Iranian and Soviet aggression, is also resoundingly condemned by responsible, knowledgeable international observers and historians.
However, it was during the Bill Clinton presidency in the 1990’s that the Democrat national security concept hit its nadir by taking on the despicable approach that shamefully continues under Barack Obama to this day.
This disgraceful Clinton-Obama approach is to pretend that Islamic jihad is not real, and furthermore the murderous Islamic attacks do not actually constitute war requiring a U.S. warfare footing and strategy, but instead the hostile attacks are gang-type criminal activities that can be fought piece-meal and the perpetrators should be prosecuted in the U.S. federal court system.
Clinton established the template that fighting Islamic jihad is a police problem rather than a war, so as not to alert citizens of the real danger of the Democrat dereliction of their national security responsibilities.
As a result of this Democrat “strategy of dereliction,” Clinton purposely shut his eyes to Islamic terror attacks on the United States at home and abroad. Beginning one month after Clinton took office in February 1993, the al Qaeda organization struck the World Trade Center (WTC) for the first time with a truck bomb. The attack was masterminded by the Egyptian “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel-Rahman, and was carried out by an Iraqi intelligence operative, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, plus six Palestinian and Egyptian co-conspirators. The attack failed to bring down the WTC as intended, but instead the bomb created a crater six stories deep, killing six people, and injuring over a thousand. Furthermore, Clinton set the feckless tone of his presidency toward the Islamic jihad menace by never visiting the WTC bomb site or the wounded victims, while warning the U.S. public against “over-reaction” to Islamic jihad!
From that moral low point, Clinton’s “willful blindness” only got worse. That same year in October 1993, eighteen U.S. servicemen on a humanitarian hunger-relief mission were killed fighting their way out of an ambush by a Somali Muslim warlord. Additionally, another 80 U.S. military members were wounded in this Somali action, but Clinton immediately withdrew the remaining U.S. soldiers with no military response or reprisal! After the WTC-bombing and the Somali “Blackhawk down” shameful refusals to face and respond to Muslim provocations, the Islamic jihadist attacks on Americans and American facilities during Clinton’s administration became a litany of unanswered deadly aggressions: five Americans killed by a car bomb in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 1995; nineteen U.S. Air Force airmen killed and more than 300 wounded by a truck bomb at Khobar Towers, Saudi Arabia, June 1996; twelve Americans and 213 Kenyans killed by truck bomb at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, August, 1998; twelve dead and 85 wounded Tanzanians at the U.S. Embassy, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, August 1998; and seventeen U.S. Navy sailors killed and 39 sailors wounded in a suicide small boat attack on the USS Cole in port at Aden, Yemen, October 2000. In retaliation for the Kenya and Tanzania embassy bombings Clinton launched two pitifully ineffective cruise missile strikes on deserted al Qaeda training camps in eastern Afghanistan and also on an aspirin factory in Sudan that had been incompetently misidentified as manufacturing chemical weapons.
As if Clinton’s derelictions in responding to eight years’ worth of Islamic jihadist provocations weren’t enough self-inflicted disgrace, on three occasions Clinton refused offers from the Sudanese government to arrest and extradite Osama bin Laden to U.S. or allied custody in exchange for the lifting of terrorism sanctions against Sudan. What makes these refusals so egregious is that bin Laden had already been identified by U.S. Intelligence as “the greatest single financier of terrorist projects in the world” by 1996. On another occasion when U.S. Intelligence had positively identified bin Laden’s location in rural Afghanistan and Navy Tomahawk missiles were in range and were on launch alert, Clinton dithered indecisively until the opportunity was lost.
The primary excuse offered for Clinton’s ambivalent and ineffective efforts against Islamic jihad was that the jihadists were just misunderstood and misguided Muslims with legitimate grievances that could be appeased. It was also revealed in a bombshell Washington Times report in October 2015 that the Clinton’s administration had collected enough intelligence and had actually accused Iran of being responsible for the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist bombing in a secret diplomatic message. However, Clinton’s administration had suppressed the incriminating information against Iran from the American people for fear the public would demand reprisal.
Bush Opened Gitmo And The Democrats Reacted By Putting Their Appeasement Ideology Over National Security
Nine months into the new George W. Bush administration, the 9/11 second al Qaeda attack on the WTC caught George W. Bush unprepared. While the years of planning and preparation for the four airplane attack had occurred during the Clinton administration, the Democrats were very soon blaming Bush to deflect responsibility. In truth, the eight years of Clinton’s shirking national security responsibilities and suppressing the truth about the Islamic jihad being waged against the U.S. had created a complacent and lackadaisical attitude throughout much of the U.S. Government toward countering jihadist terrorism.
Given the scale and extent of damage of the 9/11 attack, Bush completely broke from the Clinton policy of half-hearted, piece-meal response and instead instituted what amounted to semi-wartime measures. The big change was that Bush struck back at al Qaeda in Afghanistan almost immediately in the month following the al Qaeda attack as well as opening the jihadist detention camp at the U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo (Gitmo) Bay, Cuba as an internment facility in which to hold and interrogate jihadists taken off the battlefield. Gitmo enabled Bush to escalate from Clinton’s tentative anti-crime-approach to a vigorous battlefield-warfare-approach in reacting to Islamic jihad. Plus, Gitmo served the dual purposes of providing a facility for captured enemy combatants and as a symbol of the new “real war” approach to fighting jihad.
It is this second symbolic “real war” function of Gitmo that irritates Obama and the Democrats the most because it contradicts the vapid Democrat national security concept that foreign totalitarian threats are to be minimized, sympathized with, and appeased. Almost immediately Gitmo, the USA Patriot Act, and creation of the Department of Homeland Security became the focus of Democrat Party political attacks as they fought against expanding U.S. capabilities to defend the nation against Islamic jihadists. Since the majority of American patriotic citizen voters understandably approved of these increased security measures, which ran directly counter to the Democrat criminal nonchalance toward foreign totalitarian threats to the republic, the Democrats accused the Republicans of exactly what the Democrats were in fact doing – “politicizing the war on terror.” As examples of the political attacks to undermine Bush, Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Bush an “incompetent leader” and Democrat Senator Dick Durbin described Gitmo as something “done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others.”
Obama Campaigned on Closing Gitmo
Obama campaigned on closing Gitmo in order to return to the
A November 2008 Washington Post headline read: “Guantanamo Closure Called Obama Priority.” Within a day of Obama’s taking office, a January 2009 CNN headline read: “Obama signs order to close Guantanamo Bay facility.” Obama’s campaign to minimize the war has been constantly waged during his presidency, for example, on November 1, 2012 Obama said:
Thanks to sacrifice and service of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, al Qaeda has been decimated, Osama bin Laden is dead.
Also in 2012, Obama’s regime manufactured out of whole cloth an unsupported draft National Intelligence Estimate that amazingly announced: “al Qaeda was no longer a direct threat to America!” Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Michael Flynn fought hard against this Obama attempt to again mislead the American people. After his public opposition to Obama’s attempt to impose an outright lie on the U.S. intelligence community, Gen. Flynn was forced to retire a year early.
In May 2013 Obama made a speech at the National Defense University in his continuing effort to deceive the public that a war footing was not necessary and that he Democrat anti-crime-approach was all that was required. To support his deception, Obama asserted a large number of the following revealing claims that demonstrate his unceasing attempt to mislead and diminish people’s perception of the Islamic jihad threat:
We ended the war in Iraq, and brought nearly 150,000 troops home. . .. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts. . .. Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the path to defeat. . .. So that’s the current threat — lethal yet less capable al Qaeda affiliates; threats to diplomatic facilities and businesses abroad; homegrown extremists. This is the future of terrorism.
I intend to engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing. . .. The AUMF is now nearly 12 years old. The Afghan war is coming to an end. Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States. . .. So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.
As President, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries or imprisoning them here in the United States. . . . These restrictions make no sense. . . . And given my administration’s relentless pursuit of al Qaeda’s leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should have never have been opened.
In a January 2014 interview with The New Yorker Obama was asked about the Islamic jihadist black flags flying over Fallujah, Iraq and other locations in Syria. The New Yorker questioned, given these jihadist gains, if Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign assertion that al Qaeda had been “decimated” was wildly wrong? Obama responded by saying:
The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.
This New Yorker article characterized Obama’s analogy as “uncharacteristically flip.” And in keeping with Obama’s baseless cavalier attitude, in September 2014 he made yet another claim that was to quickly proven as delusional:
This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.
Very shortly after Obama made his preposterous claim that his counter-jihad strategy was successful, this headline appeared four months later, “War on Terror in Yemen Collapses; Libya in Shambles”; and then this one appeared eight months after Obama made his baseless declaration of success, “Somalia in turmoil”. Consequently, in view of Obama’s deliberate and habitual understatement of the Islamic threat and deceitful and false proclamations of success, Obama has zero credibility when he speaks about the risks posed by Islamic jihad and his strategy to deal with it.
Considering False Arguments For Closing Gitmo
As is usual for Obama, he supports his policy on closing Gitmo with a lie. In his January 2016 State of the Union speech, Obama put forward this false logic as the primary reason for his closure:
“I will keep working to shut down the prison at Guantanamo. It’s expensive, it’s unnecessary and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies.”
However, Obama is contradicted by empirical information about how Guantanamo is actually portrayed in jihadist propaganda.
Guantanamo has never played a big role in any terrorist group’s propaganda compared to the issues that really animate those groups. So while it’s easy to find examples of terrorist leaders mentioning and denouncing Guantanamo, these were never the major themes of jihadi propaganda but were, at most, supporting arguments.
Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton summed up Obama’s deceit succinctly:
“To say that [closing Guantanamo] is a security decision based on propaganda value that our enemies get from it is a pretext to justify a political decision.”
Other Democrat objections to Gitmo are equally vapid. The function of Gitmo, incarcerating enemy combatants, will not change regardless if Gitmo remains open or not. The undeniable requirement for a prison facility to house and interrogate the illegal enemy combatants is indisputable. Consequently, regardless whether or not Gitmo is closed, the unsubstantiated and disingenuous complaints from the Islamic world will not cease.
Irrespective where facility is located it will remain an enemy propaganda target because we will still have to maintain custody of captured jihadists (at least hopefully under a new president). Obviously, releasing the detainees while they continue to make war against us is not a logical or prudent course of action. It makes no sense, as these captured jihadists are an acknowledged threat to the U.S., to turn these dangerous individuals over to other nations where we have totally relinquished our ability to control their renewed murderous jihadist activities against us! Obama’s Gitmo prisoner release policy is particularly nonsensical, if not treasonous, when it is proven that more than a quarter of those jihadists already released have returned to the battlefield against us.
Many of the legal complications and the dishonest “moral” objections about holding illegal enemy combatants could be alleviated if congress were to declare a state of war is in existence. There is no question that under international law enemy combatants are held until the conflict is concluded.
Every time Obama lies to the American people in his vain attempts to spin away the clash of civilizations caused by Islamic jihad, the continuing jihadist aggression reveals that Obama is mendacious, or that he is buffoon who doesn’t understand the international arena in the least, or that he is most probably both.
Given the Democrat Party’s obsessional commitment to appeasement as the main pillar of their national security strategy and Obama’s single-minded, dogmatic dedication to that Democrat appeasement, which avoids coping with international reality, it is impossible to conclude that Obama is anything other than a mendacious buffoon. When Obama is understood in his proper mendacious characterization, and his obsession with closing Gitmo is put in the Democrat ideological appeasement perspective, it all negates his unsubstantiated objections to Gitmo