Among President Obama’s quite strange statements about the foiled Christmas Day bombing attempt, the strangest of all were his comments about Guantanamo Bay.
After declaring that he will not release any more detainees back home to Yemen, Obama reiterated his intention to close Guantanamo. Indeed, he claimed that the detention center was a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda (and thus indirectly may have been a prompt for the likes of Mutallab?). This is quite silly and raises a number of embarrassing questions:
Did a nonexistent Guantanamo terrorist detention center encourage al-Qaeda’s attacks all through the 1990s that culminated in 9/11? If Guantanamo serves no useful purpose other than to encourage the enemy’s efforts at recruitment, why has Obama kept it open for a year — and why is he not likely to close it for another year? Why not simply close it now?
If Obama is really looking to identify the conditions that might have created a landscape for renewed attempts to harm the U.S. (there have been more terrorist attempts in 2009 than at any time since 9/11), he might consider his own administration’s rhetoric over the past year.
Describing anti-terrorism efforts as “overseas contingency operations” aimed at “man-made disasters”; making references to a litany of American sins; confessing to underappreciation of pseudo-Islamic accomplishments like the printing press and the foundations of the Renaissance and Enlightenment; constantly trashing a prior American president — all of this has fostered the impression abroad that America no longer sees radical Islamic terrorists as an existential threat.
If I were an Islamic terrorist, I would conclude that the present administration simply has lost interest in fighting, and that the time is ripe for a counterattack. At some point, we need an end to the three-year “Bush did it” whining by candidate and now President Obama, and a redirection of such animus and pique toward our real enemies.