New reports surface weekly that remind readers of the Obama administration’s mind-numbing, even nonsensical approach to U.S. national security. The president remains determined to close Gitmo and move those prisoners to U.S. soil. He already submitted a plan to congress in late February detailing the parameters of his plan. Unfortunately for him, the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which received veto-proof majorities from both houses, contained stipulations preventing the president from using any funds for moving prisoners or closing the facility. And now the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee feels compelled to write letters to the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State concerned that the president may be holding “secret negotiations” with Cuba over Gitmo. Let that sink in. The leading member of the committee on military issues believes the Commander-in-Chief might be planning to subvert the law and circumvent congress to achieve something that can only be detrimental to U.S. national security.
Let’s be reminded as well that the supposed payoffs from closing Gitmo have yet to materialize. Reuters is reporting that the “number of former Guantanamo Bay prison inmates who are suspected of having returned to fighting for militants doubled to 12 in the six months through January.” This is a trend going back to the Bush administration. Figures from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence “showed that 111 of 532 prisoners released by the Republican administration of President George W. Bush are confirmed to have returned to the battlefield, with 74 others suspected of doing so.” It’s also worth mentioning here the Obama administration’s infamous Bergdahl swap that resulted in the release of five high-value Taliban fighters. Susan Rice claimed that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “served the United States with honor and distinction,” but now he is charged with desertion. Why not just release Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance who is currently serving a 19-year prison sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas for issuing orders that resulted in the deaths of two Afghans? The logic is bewildering.
Making matters worse, rapprochement with Cuba has done nothing for U.S. national security or Cubans’ human rights. Secretary of State Kerry recently canceled his visit to the island nation over disputes with the Castro administration concerning which dissents President Obama could meet during his March visit. Indeed, report after report continue to show how human rights violations have only worsened since the United States resumed relations with Cuba. But the Castro regime will undoubtedly crumble under the weight of American benevolence, right? Nope. The Cuban government issued a sternly worded op-ed March 9 saying the president is welcome to visit, but demanded he stop meddling in their affairs. “The Communist government had no intention of changing its policies in exchange for normal relations with the United States,” one report surmised.
Meanwhile, terrorists organizations continue to plot, maim and kill with little or no interest in Gitmo’s continued existence.
So if you are scoring at home, that’s 17 high-value militants back in the fight, an American deserter, a Chairman worried that the president is holding secret meetings with Russia’s ally in Syria, and a Cuban government that has stepped up its oppressive tactics since U.S. rapprochement. Hard not to feel safer.
We here at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) are addressing this policy issue, but we need your help. Sign our petition and tell congress to “Provide for the Common Defense, Now!”