Gitmo Trials and Unending Wars: PC Myths Prevail

In a recent article in the Gloucester Times, that covered a trip to the U.S. Military Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by Essex County District Attorney Jon Blodgett, he discussed the place and the current trial procedures against accused war criminals there. This is my reaction to the story.

Don’t fall into the trap of saying “We are now in a series of unending wars.” That ends the conversation.

The “war” is the point after all, the Global War on Terror, the “thing” over which all the PC talking heads cringe. They won’t say it, you won’t say it, and until we all say it and then talk about, it won’t go away.

Generals NEVER discuss a battle or war without also discussing an end state. Be it cyclical or linear, an objective is the goal. So here’s one for you: Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us we must defend ourselves. From that you can build courses of action, choose one and then close on the objective.

The problem is politics and PC rangers. Unless one’s political and military goals are the same, one CANNOT be successful in war. And, like anything else in life, if you can’t be honest about the problem you cannot possibly hope to solve it.

Winning the Global War on Terror will be measured in part by the lack of seeming random acts of terror. If the world does not come together to defend itself against the radical Islamists, perhaps like many countries did against Barbary Pirates several hundred years ago, then the war will seem endless due to it’s prolonged persistence over generations.

Decatur_Boarding_the_Tripolitan_Gunboat

One question I have is, why are so few Arab countries actively involved in the battle against ISIS, the Taliban and radical Islam? So it will take a group effort. And those closest to it must be reminded, “You are either with us or with the terrorists.”

Regarding the Gitmo trials you neglect to discuss the major difference between what’s going on there and what occurred at Nuremberg or even Washington, D.C. in 1942, when 6 of 8 dry-foot German saboteurs were executed for nothing more than breaking the Law of Land Warfare and the Geneva Conventions. Gitmo holds murderers and terrorists. The German saboteurs hurt no one and destroyed no property, yet, less than eight weeks after their capture six of them were dead. How in God’s name did that happen?

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We followed the law. Military Commissions were established – with the unanimous consent of the Supreme Court. Habeas corpus was denied. The trial took place according to the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare, giving the accused the SAME rights a U.S. soldier would enjoy in a courts martial.

Now, instead of going by the established law, we go by former President Obama’s 2009 Military Commissions Act, which gives unlawful combatants accused of war crimes virtually the SAME rights you or I would enjoy in a federal court of law. See the difference?

Lawfare is one of the techniques Islamists are taught in training if they are captured. We know this from training documents obtained from them, such as the “Al Qaeda Manual.“. They are trained to lie about their treatment in captivity, lie about their past, lie about who they are, where they are from and what they were doing when apprehended.

They are trained to demand better conditions and to demand a lawyer. And they are trained to disrupt detention operations and to threaten, befriend and wage psychological warfare on guards and others who are responsible for their fair treatment and care.

Now, sadly, we have the legal debacle on stage at the Gitmo trials.

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It’s too bad we don’t have the fortitude or courage to simply do what’s right and follow the Law of War or Geneva. It worked at Nuremberg and it worked in D.C. with the German saboteurs, and it would work at Gitmo.

Maybe President Trump will get wind of this and then erase the 2009 Military Commissions Act, simply follow the Law of War and Geneva, and then move these trials along. Maybe.

Montgomery Granger is a retired, three-times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major, and author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior.” He has made many appearances on Fox News programs discussing Gitmo and detainees.

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4 responses to “Gitmo Trials and Unending Wars: PC Myths Prevail

    • Hi Chris, thank you very much for your kind comments and for sharing your piece about detention. I enjoyed what you had to say and wish there were a way to make every citizen of the world read and understand it! Bravo! I don’t know if you have a military background, so please don’t take this the wrong way, we are a simple and direct lot; I never use the terms “indefinite detention” or “forever prisoner” or “forever war.” Using such descriptors usually has the effect of stopping thought. I much prefer simply explaining the law, like you did, that the Law of Land Warfare (Army FM 27-10) and the Geneva Conventions allow for even lawful combatant POW’s to be held without charge or trial “until the end of hostilities.” Since unlawful combatants are not entitled to extra legal privileges because they broke the law, they can be executed if their status is determined to be unlawful. Using the word “indefinite” is too open-ended, and I believe inaccurate. All wars come to an end, although the Global War on Terror may last generations, it will eventually end, and with it the license to detain suspected terrorists. Also, I am very careful about calling those at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, “terrorists,” or “murderers,” although I do slip up from time-to-time. Unless they are convicted or on trial, which would make them terrorists or suspected terrorists, I tend to refer to them as detainees or unlawful combatants. If a person’s status is in doubt (civilian or combatant) they are entitled to a battlefield tribunal with a conviction standard the same as that for an indictment in a U.S. federal grand jury proceeding: if it’s 51 percent more or less likely that a person did or did not do what they are accused of then they are or are not an unlawful combatant. If a person is wearing a uniform of a combatant country, carrying weapons openly and abides by the Law of War and Geneva, then their status is POW. If a person is wearing a t-shirt and shorts, but is openly carrying a loaded weapon that was recently fired in a combat zone he may or may not be an enemy combatant, and a hearing would take place. If a person is picked up along with other known or suspected Taliban or al Qaeda members and was concealing an AK-47 in his robes he would be considered an enemy. Again, great job! I enjoyed reading your very understandable and verifiable piece. Keep up the great work! Hooah!

      • Thank you. That’s great feedback! I don’t see a way in my essay to avoid the term “indefinite detention” though, especially as I use the adverb “indefinitely” throughout. The idea of “indefinite detention” is what angers the left simply because most of them don’t understand the rules of war. They want terrorist suspects to have more rights than POWs!

        Yes, I do strive to make my essays as clear as possible by giving definitions of key terms. The term “indefinite detention” seems widely used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indefinite_detention_without_trial

        I was an Air Cadet for a month when I was 12 years old. That’s my only active service. As an adult now, I wish I had stuck with it. But the older boys on the bus made fun of me too much, so I quit.

        Feel free to post a comment on my page as it would benefit my readers, especially since you have served in the U.S. military. You have first-hand experience and know what you are talking about!

  1. Yes, I noticed “indefinite” quite a bit as well. It’s a choice, just one I have avoided because of how the law is written. I don’t think any law would ever use that term. I’d like to send you on a speaking tour to every college and university in the country! Young minds need these facts! I am sorry about your Air Cadet experience. It would be an honor to post on your site! Keep up the great work! Hooah!

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