Filed under: Foreign Policy, Middle East, National Security | Tags: Guantanamo Bay, Terrorism, War on Terror
With an uncooperative Congress refusing to appropriate funds to close Guantanamo, President Obama didn’t really want to make a national security speech. But he was being criticized by both Democrats and Republicans who believe that bringing the “worst of the worst” detainees from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay to the United States for trial and imprisonment is a bad idea. Obama really doesn’t like criticism.
And then there is Dick Cheney — Mr. Gravitas himself. Democrats have for years attempted to portray him as Darth Vader, but it simply doesn’t work. Vice President Cheney is above all a patriot, and concerned for the welfare of his country. He has served in government in many administrations with great distinction. He is no longer in office, he has nothing to gain from speaking publicly, no favor to seek, no elections to win or lose. He is a private citizen with vast experience who wished the present administration success in the current troubled world. He does not criticize President Obama, but merely explains why, in the Bush administration, they made the policy decisions that they did. It was a splendid speech and deeply illuminating, the actions that they took carefully explained.
Well. The usual suspects (who probably didn’t either hear or read the speech) were immediately out there foaming at the mouth, calling Mr. Cheney all the usual names.
President Obama’s speech was surprisingly defensive, and deeply dishonest. But one wonders why Obama feels it necessary to constantly denounce his predecessor, who was extremely gracious to him, helping him to meet all the living presidents in private and ask their advice, making the transition easy and comfortable. I guess Obama is just another far-left sufferer from BDS. But the campaign is over. Bush has returned to private life, and Bush is not responsible for the financial problems. It’s time for Obama to take responsibility for his own actions, and deal with the problems that he finds on his plate, without whining, as all past presidents have had to do.
The necessity for closing Guantanamo is a mystery. So the French don’t like it — so what? If Gitmo, a state-of-the-art facility, is reduced to rubble and all detainees incarcerated in our maximum security prison, the French still won’t commit any more troops to Afghanistan, take any more of our prisoners, or commit any more funds. They don’t care about Guantanamo at all; it’s only the usual European demagoguery.
Attorney General Holder was in Europe recently trying to get European governments to accept some of our detainees. He was addressing a group of journalists, professors and others, and someone in the audience asked “Why can’t you just put the innocent ones in a hotel?” As if there were innocents there.
This demonstrates the problem. Those who have some foggy idea that the Iraq War was “unnecessary”, that our policies “created” terrorists, and why did we have to mess with Saddam anyway, are so far from grasping the basic nature of the problem that it is perhaps impossible to explain. Obama is beginning to grasp the nature of the detainees and to understand that there are some that, although vicious and dangerous, have not officially committed a crime. They are military prisoners, detained because in an ongoing war they cannot be returned to the battlefield to kill Americans. Of those already released, one in seven has returned to fighting with al Qaeda.
A lot of thought and study went into the construction of the facility at Gitmo. A lot of propaganda effort by those opposed to the war went into an attempt to make it appear as something evil. So re-brand it. Change the name. If we can continue the war by calling it an “overseas contingency operation”, then call the detention center the Caribbean Detainee Resort, The Reeducation College for Contingency Guests. Suggestions are welcome. No prizes.
Here is Vice President Cheney, plain-spoken, honest and full of gravitas: