Force-Feeding Gitmo Detainees is Legal, Moral and Ethical

Recently, U.S. Federal District Court Judge, Gladys Kessler, found in favor of a motion filed by attorney’s for Gitmo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab who asked that the intubation to keep him healthy and alive be stopped.

Why? The detainee’s attorney and liberal left, Islamist apologists say that force-feeding violates international law and “could amount to torture.” Although the judge stopped short of using the “T” word, she described force-feeding as “a painful, humiliating and degrading process.”

I was present when the very first two detainees at the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba were force-fed back in early 2002.

Not only weren’t these self-starving unlawful combatants not eating, they were also not drinking anything. A person can go for several weeks without eating before killing themselves or causing irreparable organ damage, but if a person were to go without drinking for just a few days there would be no turning back once vital organs, such as the kidneys or liver, shut down.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24:  Supporters of closing the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base detention facility hold signs and pictures of prisoners being held at the facility while sitting in the audience during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee July 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from a panel of witnesses on 'Closing Guantanamo: The National Security, Fiscal, and Human Rights Implications.' Credit: Getty Images

The military medical Standard Operating Procedures at Gitmo (which I helped write for the detainee mission) mentioned nothing about thirst strikes. We hadn’t thought about it. We only had protocols in place for a hunger strike. So when two hunger strikers were identified as having not had anything to drink for two days we performed an intervention, Gitmo style.

No, we didn’t waterboard them and say “suck it in!”

We appealed to their sense of religion first, if they had any. The detainees claimed to be Muslims, so we approached them with the Navy Muslim chaplain assigned to detainee operations, who spoke with the detainees through an interpreter about Allah’s instructions through the Quran that they should not willfully harm themselves.

The truth is most detainees were only pretending to be Muslims, their murderous and hateful values were acquired through Al Qaeda, the Taliban or other Islamists. In fact, the new official name for self-starvation at Gitmo is “Long Term Non-Religious Fasts.”

That failed to get the desired response, so we told them we would have to give them fluids intravenously. One detainee resisted to the point of physical refusal. We strapped him to a litter and then pushed fluids.

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA - JUNE 27:  (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission. ) A Public Affairs Officer escorts media through the currently closed Camp X-Ray which was the first detention facility to hold 'enemy combatants' at the U.S. Naval Station on June 27, 2013 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, houses the American detention center for 'enemy combatants'. President Barack Obama has recently spoken again about closing the prison which has been used to hold prisoners from the invasion of Afghanistan and the war on terror since early 2002. Credit: Getty Images

After several more days they were still not eating and refused to drink. We kept pushing the intravenous fluids, but it was becoming clear that we were going to have to intubate them and force nutrition into their stomachs before permanent organ damage, and then death occurred.

You see there are no military medical protocols that allow detainees to harm themselves, including self-starvation. The procedure for intubation, or forced feeding, is unpleasant, to be sure, but slowly dying because your body is feeding off of itself to the point of organ failure would probably be just a bit more uncomfortable, even torturous.

I pray you THINK about that for a moment. Is it absurd to tell someone to stop saving someone else’s life because it is potentially torturous to do so? We KNOW what happens to the body when it is not fed and nourished properly – it feeds on itself and then shuts down.

I know what you’re probably thinking: “So let the damn bastards starve themselves! It’ll save us taxpayers money and the bloodthirsty Islamists will get what they deserve – a painful and agonizing death! Remember Sept. 11! Remember Benghazi! Death to Akbar!”

A hooded demonstrator is seen at a protest calling for the closure of the Guntanamo Bay detention facility infront of the White House on May 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

We need to take a step back and then remember our values. We are the good guys. No matter what anyone else tells you, especially the left liberal, Islamist apologist uber-politically correct crowd who only want to manipulate American political will via self-starving unlawful combatant detainees, we have ethics and morals to uphold, even in the face of absurdity.

U.S. military personnel are trained to care for, and to treat with respect and dignity, any unlawful combatant that we detain, including those who wish to slowly and painfully off themselves. The majority of the U.S. military personnel working at Gitmo are professional, hard working, loyal and trustworthy individuals, who will never, ever disobey their orders to care for the detainees appropriately.

Because of this commitment to honor and integrity, International Committee of the Red Cross physicians with whom I worked at Gitmo and in Iraq told me, “Nobody does [detention operations] better than the United States.”

The Gitmo detainees are LUCKY to be ALIVE, as any or all of them could have been legally killed on the battlefield. They are even LUCKIER to have been captured by the U.S. rather than some other group with far less compassion and humanity (i.e. Al Qaeda, Taliban, or other Islamists); one that might, say, behead them, hack them to death, blow them up or drag them naked and lifeless through the streets, like they did to Daniel Pearl and Lee Rigby.

In this photo reviewed by US military officials, two feeding tubes and cans of Ensure are seen in the US Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, March 29, 2010. Detainees on hunger strikes or not eating are given enhanced nutrition via the tube. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

The irony drips, in thick globs, as our sworn enemy insists on being slowly and painfully allowed to die because the method being used to keep him alive is tantamount to TORTURE.

I wonder what George Orwell would say about this? I wonder what someone in a coma would say if they could, about being forcibly fed while medical science sorts out the cause of their coma? Did you know they also intubate premature infants? Ever hear that called torture?

Of course not! The act of self-starvation is a CONSCIOUS DECISION made for POLITICAL reasons by a desperate person, in this case an illegal combatant detainee.

Judge Kessler has ordered a temporary cease and desist to the forced feeding of Abu Wa’el Dhiab, and has forbidden his forced removal from his cell at Gitmo for that purpose.

I’d like to see her medical professional credentials, or her crystal ball, which she can guarantee no permanent or life-threatening damage will be done to the detainee during the time the restraint is in effect. The appellate court that sent the original appeal to end the force-feeding back to the District Court mentioned that the force-feeding procedure would “probably be allowed if it is just to prevent injury or death.”

People dress in orange jumpsuits and black hoods as activists demand the closing of the US military's detention facility in Guantanamo during a protest, part of the Nationwide for Guantanamo Day of Action, April 11, 2013 in New York's Times Square. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

It used to be that courts never interfered with military procedures, policies or laws. Gitmo has risen to a level of incalculable interference by the federal court system because President Barack Hussein Obama mentioned, bathed in both pre- and post-election naïveté, that he would CLOSE Gitmo within a year?

Could it be that he and U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder re-wrote the Military Commissions Act of 2006, to include rights and privileges for unlawful combatant detainees virtually identical to what you or I would enjoy in a U.S. Federal court of law?

Back to the intubation: We had the Navy Muslim chaplains and interpreter bedside with the two self-starving detainees before going ahead with the procedure, done in a private section of the detainee medical facility (an integrated and climate controlled tent system called Deployable Medical System), with low lighting and near whispering conversation.

The Muslim Navy chaplain, through the interpreter, tried to convince the detainees that their self-starvation was against Allah’s wishes, and that it would not be pleasant, and would they please reconsider.

They quietly and timidly refused, and then the Navy nurses, assisted by corpsmen, with a physician standing by, gently placed the feeding tubes through the detainee’s nostrils and then down their throats into their stomachs.

The detainees moaned slightly, winced some, and then opened their eyes wide when the nutritional liquid was slowly poured into them. So tell me, what exactly is inhumane, unethical or immoral about that?

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter @mjgranger1

Convicted Terrorists: Your Next-Door Neighbors?

Son-in-law to Osama bin Laden, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, recently convicted of providing and conspiring to provide material support to terrorism and conspiring to kill Americans, in a federal criminal courtroom in New York City, was “the most senior Bin Laden confederate to be tried in a civilian court in the United States since September 11.”

The liberal left were unabashedly gleeful at the conviction, not because justice had been done, but that the trial took place on U.S. soil rather than by Military Commission at the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Location, location, location. This mantra is not lost on liberal Islamist apologists who act as though anyone ever held at Gitmo or accused of terrorism should be freed and compensated. This is similar to the 16 British nationals, including Moazzam Begg, who were awarded nearly 1 million pounds sterling each rather then be put on trial, which the British government said would have been “extremely expensive” and may have compromised “national security,” to hell with principle and true justice.

In this undated image made from video and provided by by Al-Jazeera, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, is shown. Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman still maintains that there was justification for the September 11, 2001 attacks orchestrated by al-Qaida upon the United States. (AP Photo/Al-Jazeera)

With the conviction of Abu Ghaith, we see repetitive behavior from the Obama administration with relation to giving aid and comfort to the enemy – this time in the form of a federal criminal court which could give him a light sentence and see him free to re-join his released and never caught brothers in years to come.

According to Human Rights First, the U.S. federal criminal courts have “convicted nearly 500 individuals on terrorism-related charges” since Sept. 11, 2001, yet there are only “over 300 individuals” in federal prisons on terrorism-related convictions.

My question is, where are the other nearly 200 terrorist convicts?

Were they deported? Did they go home? Did they go back to a life of jihad? Are they in your neighborhood?

We know some of the released Gitmo detainees have returned to the battlefield, such as Abu Sufian Bin Qumu, who planned and participated in the Benghazi attack which resulted in the murders of four U.S. personnel, including Ambassador to Lybia, Christopher Stevens. But the statistics on Gitmo recidivism, now at 29 percent according to the Director of National Intelligence, belie a troubling trend; releasing the enemy does not increase our safety.

Getty Images

But because “there is no defined entity responsible for convicted and released terrorists,” no one knows how many of these released federally convicted terrorists have gone back to the fight, have turned over a new leaf, or are living in your neighborhood waiting for the next call from Allah to strike.

This is the epitome of left liberal Islamist apologist Pagan humanist utilitarian sentiment towards the enemy in the Global War on Terror.

Logic says that the number of terrorists caught represents only a tiny percentage of all terrorists. Imagine then if you will that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the living of the two brothers who set off the bombs in last year’s Boston Marathon massacre, had not been caught. Let’s say he was still out there on the loose, plotting his next attack.

How “safe” would you feel if you were a Boston resident knowing this accomplished terrorist was free? How safe would you feel living ANYWHERE if Tsarnaev were free?

How do you feel about nearly 200 federally convicted terrorists that are now on the loose, legally? How about the 170-plus recidivists from the over 600 released Guantanamo Bay detainees?

In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin and reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, right, speaks with lawyer and U.S. Marine Corps Major Derek Poteet, a member of his legal team, while wearing a camouflage vest during the third day of the Military Commissions pretrial hearing against the five Guantanamo prisoners accused of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has told authorities he was the mastermind of the Sept. 11 hijacking plot, wore the woodland-style camouflage vest for the first time Wednesday, a clothing choice previously denied because of fears it might disrupt the court. Co-accused Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali is seen in the background, second from left. Photo Credit: Janet Hamlin/AP

Say what you want about Gitmo, or our federal prisons, but none of the Gitmo detainees or federal terrorism convicts have been executed, beheaded, hacked-to-death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, like those of us they have caught or targeted with planes, bombs, explosive belts, vests or long knives and meat cleavers.

The fate of the likes of Daniel Pearl, Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded by Khalid Sheik Mohammad while being filmed on video, is an example of the barbarity of the Islamists who want us all dead, and are the opposite of remorseful. In fact, they consider beheading or hacking to death of “infidels” to be a religious prerogative and duty, such as revealed in the statements made by the assailants of murdered British soldier, Lee Rigbyadmitting they were “Soldier[s] of Allah,” and that Rigby’s murder was “an eye for an eye.”

So-called human rights organizations, leftist Islamist apologists, and others who believe the U.S. must be a “beacon” for human rights don’t like to talk about the Daniel Pearl’s, the Lee Rigby’s or other victims of terror. They only want to discuss how “proud” they are that “justice” was done in the U.S. criminal courts.

They don’t care about how many convicted terrorists have been released, or about how many Gitmo detainees have been released and then have returned to the battlefield, because that would ruin their fantasies about righteous humanism, which is more devoid of moral foundation than had the September 11 terrorists.

We are not dealing with jaywalkers here, or even bank robbers. We are dealing with hard, cold, calculating murderers who have declared war on western civilization, making themselves unlawful combatants.

It’s not that the Taliban and al Qaeda can’t afford uniforms of their own, it’s that they CHOOSE to not let you see them coming. The Geneva Conventions were written to protect innocent civilians and property in time of war, not to protect those who PRETEND to be civilians in order to MURDER them. They are attacking overtly and covertly in an effort to TERRORIZE “non-believers” into accepting Sharia Law, and those who oppose them are better off dead. Simply, they are terrorists and should be tried in military commissions, not federal criminal courts.

How comforting is it to hundreds of the enemy that they are released to fight again, and to perhaps run off to a place like where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found, in your own backyard?

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter: @mjgranger1

LIBERAL HOLLYWOOD TAKES ON GUANTANAMO BAY

Question: What’s green and tan and red all over?

Answer: Kristen Stewart (better known as KStew) in Army fatigues making a Gitmo movie!

Why “red all over?” Because when the whole story comes out about her new film, “Camp X-Ray,” premiering Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Sundance Film Festival, Kristen should be ashamed.

It’s not that I think that her acting will be bad; it’s the fact that the story and images will be hyped media caricatures of our military from a liberal Islamist apologist point of view.

What’s been made available publicly about the movie is slim, but there’s enough to see that the plot and portrayals will be brutal for the Army and for Americans.

Liberal Hollywood Takes on Guantanamo Bay

The synopsis reads:

A young soldier escapes her suffocating small town by joining the military, only to find that she isn’t going for a tour of duty in Iraq as she hoped. Instead, she’s sent to Guantanamo. Met with hatred and abuse from the Muslim men in her charge, she forges an odd friendship with a young man who has been imprisoned at Gitmo for eight years. While serving her country to the best of her abilities at Bravo Block, she is also subject to the attempted affections of her superior officer, Sergeant Randy without any action or sympathy from Commanding Officer Colonel Drummond at Gitmo.

There’s also a revealing interview with actor Lane Garrison, who plays KStew’s supervisor, Sgt. Randy in the film. In a radio interview, with host Artie Lang, Garrison describes his character as “a real seedy guard,” and says, “my character believes [the detainees are] all guilty of Sept. 11 and they should all rot [at Guantanamo Bay].”

Garrison also talks about how his character “sexually assaults” KStew’s character using graphic language, mentioning it took “four hours” to film the sexual assault scene. The film description suggests that KStew’s character gets no sympathy from her good ol’ boy commander, Col. Drummond, played by John Carroll Lynch.

Lang asks Garrison if his character “tortures” detainees, to which Garrison responds “Yeah, I get hard core with it, and it’s a really dark piece and Kristen’s phenomenal in it.”

Waterboarding is also mentioned, and Garrison confirms that he does that in the film, to which Lang says, “You really go into the torture thing?” And Garrison answers, “Yeah, we explore that, and we go into what happens when that one person is innocent, that’s down there, and he doesn’t get any trial.”

The film plays up myths from the imaginations of the left to the hardships of serving at Gitmo

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It is clear from Garrison’s responses that the film plays up myths and false assumptions from the minds and imaginations of those insensitive to the challenges and hardships of being a soldier on duty at Guantanamo Bay.

The Army has never authorized enhanced interrogation techniques on anyone, ever. That job is left to the CIA, who did waterboard a “’handful’ of detainees [at Gitmo], which saved many lives,” according to George W. Bush in his autobiography, “Decision Points.” Waterboarding, at the time it was performed, was an authorized “enhanced interrogation technique,” and not considered torture, even by international standards, according to Donald Rumsfeld in his autobiography, “Known and Unknown.”

As for “innocent” detainees, there are none.

Though over 600 Gitmo detainees have been released, none of those were found “innocent” or “not guilty” of anything because they were never charged with war crimes. The unlawful combatants held legally at Gitmo do not have to be charged with anything according to the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare (Army Field Manual (FM) 27-10) even lawful combatant Prisoners of War may be held without charge “until the end of hostilities.”

Liberal Hollywood Takes on Guantanamo Bay

So, until all Islamists are dead, or no longer have the means or will to kill Americans, we can legally, morally and ethically hold them at Gitmo – it’s just not politically correct or expedient to say so.

In the meantime, the U.S. has not executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up or dragged a detainee naked and lifeless through the streets since detention operations have begun at Gitmo (despite the current recidivist rate among released Gitmo detainees of nearly 29 percent); these are all things our enemy has done to us and innocent others, including Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Benghazi in part by released Gitmo detainee Sufian bin Qumu, who planned the attack.

Garrison sums up the film this way: “[The movie] is going to cause a lot of controversy; people are going to be talking about it.”

And what exactly are people going to be saying? Probably things like: “I KNEW it! I just KNEW they tortured those innocent people down there!” and, “those dirty bastards raped her, too! Sexual assault in the military is out of control!”

Appearing in the opening credits to Academy Award winning best film, “The Hurt Locker,” from Chris Hedges book, “War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning,” is this quote:

The rush of battle is often a potent and lethal addiction, for war is a drug.

The adrenaline rush one might experience in a war zone produces the fight or flight instinct that soldiers are supposed to be able to control. A person trained to cope with situations in a combat environment may not be able to easily adjust to peaceful civilian life upon their return home, but that doesn’t mean Hollywood should emphasize it, or make it appear to be the rule and not the exception.

War films, for all their glorious effort, tend to create exaggerated images of reality. War is not fun, and taking care of unlawful combatant Islamist extremists who want to kill us is securely in the “totally messed up” job category.

Liberal Hollywood Takes on Guantanamo Bay

It seems like we will get that portrayal in “Camp X-Ray,” and it appears we will also get the stereotypical politically correct soldier as victim routine, led by Kristen Stewart’s portrayal of an innocent girl thrust unknowingly into a situation she finds confusing, abusive and overwhelming, perhaps a-la “Private Benjamin,” in which Goldie Hawn forlornly asks her drill sergeant, “where are the condos?”

Soldiers pick their jobs, but not their missions. Civilian recruits dream of battlefield heroics that don’t measure up to the generally mundane hurry-up-and-wait reality of most military occupational specialties, and being a Military Police soldier can find one in myriad situations, from directing traffic to front gate security, and from personal security detail to detention operations. The latter scenario requires additional training, and has its own designation in the Army, which is the only military branch that trains for detention missions.

There are bound to be anachronisms in “Camp X-Ray,” like the misnomer title. The real Camp X-Ray was asolitary confinement detention facility hastily cleaned up from the 1990s Haitian boat crisis. The inside looked like dog kennels, with concrete slabs and six-by-eight-foot chain linked boxes. It existed as a functioning detention facility for approximately four months, from December 2001 to April 2002.

Since the synopsis available for “Camp X-Ray” the movie says that KStew’s character “forges an odd friendship” with a detainee who’s been there for eight years, I’m going to assume they either took artistic license and have Camp X-Ray still open, or they are confused about where the majority of detainees actually are today (it’s a separate camp the U.S. began constructing immediately upon getting to Gitmo, called Camp Delta).

Liberal Hollywood Takes on Guantanamo Bay

For the record, U.S. Army Military Police lived in austere conditions during that time, having set up a tent city on higher ground above Camp X-Ray. When the detainees were moved to Camp Delta, U.S. personnel also got an upgrade to living in Sea Huts, or plywood dwellings with air conditioning, in a place called Camp America, which was adjacent to the detention facilities.

“Camp X-Ray” the movie probably won’t go into much detail about the oath Army recruits and officers take upon enlistment and commissioning that requires them to follow all lawful orders of those appointed over them, or the fact that all troops assigned to Gitmo are NEVER to fraternize with detainees.

So if KStew’s character has a relationship with a detainee, she is breaking her oath and is violating the regulations and committing a crime. I doubt that will be stressed. She will be sexually assaulted, which will further portray her as a victim, and she will get no sympathy from her superiors, which will make her character even more hurt puppy-like, and make the Army seem more the villain.

In the end, we will be getting a point of view shared by the majority of citizens at large from the images and sound bites spoon fed by a liberal media for consumption by those who already see the male dominated military as unfair, brutal and sexist.

That is not what your military is all about: 99.99 percent of those who serve do so with loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Every American can be proud of all but a very few who serve at Gitmo.

The few who broke their oaths and fraternized with the detainees? They are out there, and apparently KStew is now one of them.

 

RELEASING GITMO DETAINEES IS NO GOOD FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

Some say that President Obama is closer to closing the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba because of pending approval for changes in the law that would allow detainees to be transferred back to the countries of their origin.

But closing Gitmo should not be anyone’s goal. Closing the facility would only play into the agenda of al Qaeda, the Taliban, Islamists and their apologists. Gitmo is a result of a need to keep captured enemies safe and secure in order to obtain valuable information that may save many lives, to prosecute suspected war criminals, and to keep known Islamists who want to kill Americans on the battlefield and in the streets.

Releasing Gitmo Detainees is No Good for National Security

Furthermore, closing Gitmo will not end the Global War on Terror, nor will it make Islamists want to kill us less. But it would pose a grave danger to Americans and our allies. More than 600 detainees have already been released. None have been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets – things our enemies do to us.

According to the Director of National Security already more than 28 percent of released Gitmo detainees have returned to the fight, including Abu Sufian bin Qumu, the mastermind of the Benghazi attack.

Gitmo is in fact the finest military detention facility in the world, and is a necessary and important part of keeping us safe. I worked at Gitmo with an International Committee of the Red Cross physician who told me, “no one does [detention operations] better then the United States.” Gitmo is in fact the furthest thing from being a “gulag,” an unearned tag pinned on by a liberal media and Islamist apologists.

Until Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us, we must defend ourselves.

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Even though military operations are winding down in Afghanistan, we still have troops in over 150 countries world wide defending us in the Global War on Terror. Until Islamists are all dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us, we must continue to defend ourselves. That means we need a safe and secure location for unlawful combatants who are not killed, and who may have valuable information which could save many innocent lives, including yours.

The Geneva Conventions were written to PROTECT innocent civilians during war, not to protect those who PRETEND to be civilians in order to murder them. Our enemies choose NOT to wear uniforms – not because they can’t afford them, but because they don’t want you to see them coming.

Releasing Gitmo Detainees is No Good for National Security

They won’t stop if Gitmo closes. They won’t stop if we leave Afghanistan, or bring all of our troops and planes and ships home. And we cannot stop doing what’s necessary for our survival and that of our great experiment in democracy.

Some argue that repatriating Gitmo detainees back to their countries of origin is illegal and cruel if there is likelihood that the detainees would be killed or tortured. If that’s the fear, then retain them “until the end of hostilities,” just like the Law of Land Warfare and the Geneva Conventions stipulate even for lawful combatant Prisoners of War.

There should be no sense of urgency about repatriating unlawful combatants when there is a good chance they will return to the battlefield. Political expediency is no excuse for recklessness with the safety and security of innocent people, namely U.S.

“Fair” Trials for Terrorists Threaten Americans

Abu Anas al-Libi, suspected Al-Qaeda leader, was grabbed in a military raid in Libya on Oct. 5. He’s due to stand trial as an accused civilian criminal in a Manhattan Federal Court, where he has been under indictment for more than a decade on charges he helped plan and conduct surveillance for the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998, in which 212 people were killed and over 4,000 wounded, including 12 Americans KIA.
When, as an Army Reservist I was activated for duty in 2002, 2003 and 2004, my military orders included the phrase “in support of the Global War on Terror,” and mentioned the atrocities on 9/11/01. Our history of prosecuting war criminals from our first war, through the Civil War and WWII, have been clear and simple, and for over 100 years supported by international law (Geneva Conventions) and our operative version of Geneva, called The Law of Land Warfare, or the modern Army Field Manual 27-10 (http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/DR_pubs/dr_a/pdf/fm27_10.pdf). These documents give guidance and regulation to how we treat enemy Prisoners of War (lawful combatants and protected persons), and are clear about not giving legal privileges and protections to those who do not follow the law (unlawful combatants). These documents inform repeatedly that those found in violation of the law can be “prosecuted” and then “executed.”
The Geneva Conventions were written in part to protect innocent civilians in time of war, not to protect those who PRETEND to be civilians in order to MURDER them. It’s not that the Taliban and al Qaeda can’t afford uniforms of their own, one of the requirements in lawful conflict, it’s that they don’t want you to see them coming, and want us to believe they are merely innocent goat herders. It’s as if they want to be able to run onto the ball field from the stands at any time, murder an opposing player, and then disappear back into the crowd. And when security comes to take them away they say “it wasn’t me!” They lawyer up, play the system, and then go back to killing Americans.
Human Rights First (http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/USLS-Fact-Sheet-Courts.pdf) brags that “Federal civilian criminal courts have convicted nearly 500 individuals on terrorism-related charges since 9/11.” And that “Federal prisons hold more than 300 individuals convicted of terrorism-related offenses.” But they don’t mention what happened to the other nearly 200 convicted terrorists! Can we assume they are free on American soil? If prosecuted and then convicted, could al-Libi be set free someday on Main Street U.S.A.?
At least the over 600 Gitmo detainees who’ve been released so far are not suspected of being on our shores, but the over 28% combined recidivism rate amongst these released Gitmo detainees (http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/09/september-2013-guantanamo-recidivism-report-from-dni/) is no comfort, especially to the loved ones of those killed in the Benghazi attack (led by former Guantanamo Bay detainee Sufian bin Qumu), which left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
When I was deployed to Guantanamo Bay in early February 2002, just months after 9/11/01, my Army Reserve enemy prisoner of war liaison detachment was prepared to participate in military tribunals to determine the status of Gitmo detainees fresh off of planes from Afghanistan, where most of the first detainees had participated in a deadly but failed prison uprising which claimed the first American life in our retaliation for 9/11, CIA operative Johnny Michael Spann. Instead, the principle of “lawfare,” or the exploitation of the American justice system by detainees, their lawyers, sympathizers and apologists in order to manipulate American political will (which also caused disruption of U.S. military detention operations), took hold.
Today, the Military Commissions Act of 2009, the current legal policies governing the prosecution of accused war criminals in the Global War on Terror, affords unlawful combatant Islamist detainees virtually the SAME RIGHTS as you or I would enjoy were we in a Federal Court of Law (http://www.mc.mil/ABOUTUS/LegalSystemComparison.aspx). Even though the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare, created to protect innocent civilians during war, offer NO extra-legal privileges for those who break the law.
The Obama administration has taken the disposition of Global War on Terror suspected war criminals to an absurd level, not only allowing them to remain in the stadium, but giving them luxury boxes and rain-check tickets for a repeat performance, and are continuing to put American lives at risk by bringing the latest and greatest al Qaeda suspect to U.S. shores, when he should be at Gitmo receiving a professional interrogation from our best and brightest.
Urban myths about the treatment of Gitmo detainees are now vernacular, especially amongst the “low information” crowd who rarely dig deeper than their news feed sound bites provide, but the truth is that although over 600+ Guantanamo Bay detainees have been released, none have been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets. In contrast, the only U.S. prisoner held by Taliban or al Qaeda believed not to have had his head slowly removed from his body by a long jihadi knife, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, missing since June, 2009, remains a mystery. Where are Amnesty International, the ACLU and other so-called “human rights” organizations on Sgt. Bergdahl? Why won’t the mainstream media or Barack Hussein Obama even show his face or demand his release?
I know from my 22 years as a military member and over 9 years of service as an Army officer with an enemy prisoner of war liaison detachment, the best way to obtain valuable information from enemy suspects is to convince them that unless they cooperate they will remain in detention. Which, according to the Geneva Conventions is legal. Even lawful combatant POWs may be held, without charge, “until the end of hostilities.” This is not “indefinite detention,” as some would complain; no more indefinite than a baseball game in extra innings. In theory, the game could go on endlessly, but it never does, and neither would unlawful combatant detainees be held “forever.” We need to redouble our efforts to take away our enemy’s means and will to fight and kill us. Until then, the finest military detention facility in the world is ready, willing and able to take care of and provide opportunities for unlawful combatants to help end the Global War on Terror.

Releasing The Enemy Won’t Help Win Our Struggle Against Islamists

There has been criticism of the military medical staff at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, over the ordered release earlier this month of Ibrahim Idris, a native of Sudan who has been held as an unlawful combatant at Gitmo for over 11 years.

Idris was captured with al Qaeda fighters in 2001. Shortly after arriving at Guantanamo in 2002, he was diagnosed by a U.S. Army psychiatrist as being schizophrenic. Islamist apologists are seizing on this gesture of humanitarian compassion and practical military efficiency by saying Idris should have been medically released soon after his diagnosis.

What the al Qaeda fighter’s apologists and sympathizers don’t realize is that two entities must recommend release of a detainee who may be suffering from a medical condition which may render him less of a threat to repeat his aggression against the United States, one is the medical command (not just at Gitmo, but at the highest levels of the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD)), and the other is the intelligence command.

Back in 2002, when I was serving at Guantanamo Bay as the ranking AMEDD officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group (JDOG), Joint Task Force (JTF) 160, I was selected to participate in the very first repatriation of a Gitmo detainee, an Uzbek Afghani national named Abdul Razeq.

We nicknamed Razeq “Wild Bill,” due to his bizarre behavior in Camp X-Ray, where he would take bites out of his flip-flops, hang objects from his genitals, and generally cause frequent verbal disruptions. Eventually, the military medical staff diagnosed Razeq as schizophrenic, but, by his own admission to me, during a long break in his release journey to the Leeward airport at Guantanamo, Razeq offered another source for his symptoms.

Razeq admitted to being a heroin addict who had picked up an AK-47 in the fall of 2001 for the Taliban in order to sustain his habit. Some of the bizarre behavior, as it turned out, was due to his violent withdrawal from his heroin addiction.

But this behavior and diagnosis alone were not sufficient to get him a trip back to Afghanistan. He had to be declared not only a low risk of returning to the enemy, but also had to be determined not to be of any further intelligence value. Lastly, even if these two criteria are established, the country from which the detainee originated, or his national country of origin, must be able and willing to take him back.

The Sudan, in Idris’ case, was not a stable enough place in the past for him to be returned to, and still may not be. The Geneva Conventions stipulate that even lawful combatant Prisoners of War (POWs) may be held without charge, “until the end of hostilities.” During WWII the U.S. held over 400,000 German and Italian lawful combatant POWs without one call for extra legal privileges for them, or for medical releases back to their countries of origin. Even now, with a combined 28.9% recidivism rate (reported by the Director of National Intelligence, September 2013 http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/09/september-2013-guantanamo-recidivism-report-from-dni/) of confirmed and suspected recidivists amongst released Gitmo detainees, it may not be wise to release any of the Gitmo detainees who aren’t facing war crimes charges in the Military Commissions there.

How much more blood on his hands will it take before the domestic threat of Islamist terror hits home for Barack Hussein Obama (Boston, Ft. Hood, 13 defeated terror plots on Manhattan alone)? How many more recidivists (Abu Sufian bin Qumu, alleged mastermind of the Benghazi jihadi attack, and former Gitmo detainee) will it take before he realizes we are in a war with Islamists who want us all dead and not in a game of “Capture the Flag?”

Idris may be harmless now, and I appreciate why he was released, but why take that chance while the Global War on Terror (GWOT) still rages? This fantasy that Islamist terrorists should be treated like common criminals and then arbitrarily released is literally killing us, and feeding the flames of Arab uprisings and civil wars (Egypt, Syria, et. al.).

Giving up the high ground in the GWOT by abandoning Iraq, in the face of overwhelming success of keeping the peace by keeping troops in the countries we liberated and defeated in WWII, was perhaps the President’s most myopic and deadly foreign policy blunder to date, which has grown from ripples of internal Middle East strife, into a tsunami of destabilization in the region today.

Today, we have troops in over 70 countries in our struggle with Islamists who want to kill us, including Germany, Japan and Italy, countries we defeated in WWII and who are now world economic leaders, peaceful, and prosperous because we stayed, economically and militarily. Leaving Afghanistan would seal the fate of that region to the Iranians, Taliban and al Qaeda, just like throwing Iraq to those wolves has done.

When will we learn from our past in a way that teaches every new generation that the only way to truly defeat an enemy is to take away the means and will for them to fight? Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War,” said, “100 victories in 100 battles is not the most skillful, subduing the enemy’s military without battle is the most skillful.” We cannot hope to influence the enemy “without battle” if we are not willing to remain close enough to him to do so. And we certainly can’t hope to do that by releasing more than 600 from our military detention facility, only to meet them again on the battlefield and on our streets. “Until the end of hostilities,” is soon enough for me.

America Loves Defending What’s Right In A Fight

Barack Hussein Obama began his speech on national security by saying “Americans are deeply ambivalent about war.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In defending what’s right, Americans love a good fight. It’s what makes us who we are. The “ugly American” abroad has always come through on the battlefield, and it’s only been politics and the media who have defeated the greatest fighting force the world has ever known. In his speech on May 23, at the National Defense University, the President wanted us to believe that we could win the War on Terror simply be staying the course, wrapping up here and there, and that everything would be as it was “prior to 9/11.” Really? And prior to 9/11 we were safe? Whilst Islamist extremists, especially al Qaeda were strengthening, and we were turning a blind eye to multiple attacks on our ships, embassies and personnel, the threat grew. I have never doubted that the “tip of the spear” in the Global War on Terror has been our special forces & the CIA, our Shadow Warriors & Spooks, as it should be. But these bravest of Americans need a support system. We need the power and influence to suppress adversaries, and we need it close to where the bad guys are. We needed to keep bases in Iraq, instead the President threw that country to the wolves – Iran, al Qaeda and other Islamists – who are now supporting the Assad regime in Syria, and further destabilizing Iraq. We need to maintain bases in Afghanistan, which is poised to rise as the regional leader in democracy, long into the future. We need better relations with Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, and other countries in the region so as to maintain the pressure on Islamist groups there and in surrounding areas. Our forces need logistical power projection platforms from which to launch and then support freedom-fighting missions. The President failed to mention we have troops in 70 countries, CIA operatives in over 90 countries and Diplomatic Security Service agents in over 200 countries world wide, all with one thing on their plates: defend the interests of the United States of America. The days of huge battlefields and tremendous casualties and destruction are virtually over. The fight is now played out on the Internet, in remote locations, and in limited ways on the streets of our great cities. Saying we should be concerned about a “legacy problem” instead of turning up the heat on our adversaries speaks only to our president’s desperation to build his own legacy, not that for our children. Saying the military detention facility at Guantanamo “has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law,” and that “our allies won’t cooperate with us if they think a terrorist will end up at Gitmo,” is cheap brinkmanship about a place and process that, before his meandering legal giveaway to unlawful combatants of extra legal privileges they did not deserve in the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2009, is completely legal, moral and ethical. The same laws, policies and procedures that were in place at Gitmo when it opened in late 2001 – early 2002, were virtually unchanged since the Second World War, when from capture to execution it took the government about four weeks to prosecute 8 German saboteurs caught dry-foot on U.S. soil, using a Supreme Court approved Military Commission and having suspended habeas corpus for the enemy. In WWII, the U.S. held over 400,000 lawful combatant POWs without one call for extra legal privileges for them, and they were all released, as per the law, when hostilities ended. The same happened in 1991, when after a brief but hard fought First Gulf War against Iraq, we released thousands of lawful combatant Iraqi POWs within days after the end of hostilities. The Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare were written to protect innocent civilians in time of war, not to protect those who would pretend to be civilians in order to murder them. The laws still apply, but because of the 2009 MCA all detainees enjoy the same legal protections you or I would have in a Federal Court of Law. Detainees charged with war crimes enjoy the presumption of innocence, and the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of conviction. Non government organizations count higher body counts of civilians killed in war, by conventional as well as by drone technology, because our enemies don’t wear uniforms, rank, or carry their weapons openly; they are in effect “civilians” to anyone who lays eyes on them. But the reality is they are unlawful combatants, flauting the rule of law and manipulating it and those who sympathize with them in order to bend the political will of the Unites States and anyone else who will listen. The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is not a person. It is a place, and no matter how hard they try, Pagan utilitarian humanist Islamist apologists and terrorists cannot change the fact that it is also legal, humane and ethical. Self-starving Gitmo detainees are using a known al Qaeda detention disruption technique in an effort to manipulate U.S. political will. There are no U.S. military medical protocols that authorize us to allow detainees to hurt themselves. And in fact, they will tell you that the point of their self-starvation is not to die, but to gain sympathies, and these sympathies are aimed at manipulating U.S. government political will in order to effect their release so that they can get back into the fight. There is a documented recidivism rate of released Gitmo detainees of at least 27%. One of these recidivists, known as Bin Qumu, led the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This is unacceptable. Knowing this, and knowing the probability that many of the current Gitmo detainees “cleared” for release will return to Islamist extremism once let go, doing so would be tantamount to giving the enemy aid and comfort – treason. The comments from the President on Guantanamo are misguided at best, and treasonous at worst. Not only do we have to fight and stay one step ahead of an insidious enemy, but we must do so with one hand tied behind our back because of our President’s relentless assault on our proven, legal, moral, and ethical operation at Guantanamo Bay. Gitmo needs to remain open as long as we continue our struggle with Islamist extremists. We need to maintain as many bases around the world as is necessary to support our clandestine and overt operations. We need to take and then hold the high ground in the Global War on Terror, such as maintaining good working relationships for military bases (back) in Iraq and in Afghanistan; like we still have in countries we defeated in WWII, such as Germany, Japan, and Italy. We are strong, we are winning, and now we need to close the battle with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and groups that support and mimic them. Keeping Gitmo open and then using the base to prosecute through military commissions those who are suspected of war crimes, and to keep other detainees out of the fight until hostilities end, just like the International laws on warfare stipulate we may do even if the detainees were lawful combatant POWs, will allow us to live in peace. Americans love defending what’s right in a fight, but even more, we love to win!