Politics & Policy

Expand Gitmo!

Anything else is embarrassing, and potentially fatal.

President Bush and his administration should yank their tails from between their legs, stand up, and fight for Guantanamo.

While suspected al Qaeda associates deployed their Mercedes-Benz bombs in London last week, Congressional Democrats announced plans to chop Gitmo’s funding in half. On June 29, as alleged Muslim terrorists prepared to ignite their Jeep Cherokee bomb the next day at Glasgow’s airport, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear fresh lawsuits filed by the boys of Gitmo.

While human-rights groups holler for Guantanamo’s closure, the Bush administration whispers the same message.

“The president said he wants to close Guantanamo,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told journalists hours before the Glasgow attack. “Obviously a lot of people on the Hill want to close it. We want to close it as a detainee facility.”

This is pathetic, embarrassing, and potentially fatal.

President Bush and his appointees should stop cowering beneath their desks and return fire. Bush should start by uttering a simple sentence: “I am proud of Guantanamo.”

I am proud of Guantanamo, as every American should be. Here’s why:

First, Guantanamo keeps bloodthirsty terrorists surrounded by armed guards, ringed by barbed wire, and encircled by the shark-filled Caribbean. Muslim zealots who escape are welcome to swim to Haiti — 110 miles away. Securing crazed killers there prevents them from coming here.

Second, interrogating those at Gitmo has yielded priceless intelligence that has foiled conspiracies to murder innocent men, women, and children. Al Qaeda bigwig Abu Zubaydah kept mum until American officers played him the Red Hot Chili Peppers — at high volume. After they turned down the stereo, Zubaydah unmasked al Qaeda agents Omar al-Faruq, Rahim al-Nashiri, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh. After questioning, they, in turn, exposed more terrorist scum.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s lips were sealed until he experienced a few minutes of unpleasant but non-fatal waterboarding. Then he wouldn’t shut up. With his guidance, counterterrorists nabbed accused Islamo-butchers Majid Khan, Bali bomber Hambali, Rusman “Gun Gun” Gunawan, Yazid Suffat, Jose “Dirty Bomber” Padilla, and Iyman Faris, who plotted to plunge the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River.

Third, Guantanamo’s conditions are beyond humane. Detainees enjoy soccer and volleyball, face Mecca five times daily on taxpayer-funded prayer mats, and eat Allah-ready meals, adding ten pounds to the typical combatant’s physique.

On Tuesday, camp commandant Navy Rear Admiral Mark Buzby announced that well-behaved detainees would see a new movie each week. As the Associated Press reports, Guantanamanians care for a new vegetable garden and enjoy episodes of Deadliest Catch, a Discovery Channel program about Alaskan crab fishermen.

While indicting American medicine, rabid Bush hater Michael Moore inadvertently shatters Guantanamo’s image as “W’s Dungeon.” Moore’s new movie, SiCKO, vividly documents Gitmo’s high-quality medical care.

“We’ve created a population health database so that we can track those detainees to make sure we’re seeing them frequently, monitoring their labs and their overall health,” Navy Commander Cary Ostergaard said in June 29, 2005, House Armed Services Committee testimony cited in the film.

“The health personnel-to-detainee ratio is 1 to 4 — remarkably high,” then-Senator Bill Frist, M.D. (R., Tenn.) said in a September 12, 2006 Senate speech shown in the movie. Frist added that after visiting “the doctors, and the nurses, and the psychologists, and the psychiatrists, I left with an impression that health care there is clearly better than they received at home and as good as many people receive in the United States of America.”

The Weinstein Company, SiCKO’s studio, furnished this excerpt from a September 14 Pentagon fact sheet on Guantanamo.

“Detainees receive medical, dental, psychiatric, and optometric care at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. In 2005, there were 35 teeth cleanings, 91 cavities filled, and 174 pairs of glasses issued.”

Guantanamo is not the Hanoi Hilton.

The president of the United States constantly should explain why Guantanamo must remain open. In fact, he should announce its EXPANSION. Gitmo should grow into a global destination where foreign countries may deposit terror convicts and suspects for safekeeping. Call it al-Qatraz.

Keeping Muslim radicals under U.S. supervision will prevent the outrage whereby at least 157 convicted or accused Islamic terrorists have engineered at least 17 escapes from custody since September 11 in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, and Yemen. These murderers, most of whom remain at large, collectively have killed at least 328 individuals and wounded 518 more.

In June, Jordanian Maath Braizat and Iraqi Saad Nuaimat slipped Jordan’s Juweida prison. Braizat was serving ten years for endeavoring to kill Iraqi police trainees. Nuaimat was doing life for attempting to bomb Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport.

“The scale and frequency of these escapes reveal a dangerous weakness in the ability of foreign states to detain terrorists securely,” says Bryan Hill, research associate at the Center for Security Policy, who helped marshal this evidence. “We have a vital, vested interest in making sure these figures cannot break free and continue their menacing, violent behavior.”

The Bush administration also should stop releasing detainees from Gitmo.

“Reports indicate that at least 30 former Guantanamo detainees have taken part in anti-coalition militant activities after leaving U.S. detention,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Commander J.D. Gordon tells me. “Some have subsequently been killed in combat in Afghanistan.”

“These former detainees successfully lied to US officials, sometimes for over three years. Many detainees later identified as having returned to fight against the U.S. with terrorists falsely claimed to be farmers, truck drivers, cooks, small-scale merchants, or low-level combatants,” Gordon continues. “Other common cover stories include going to Afghanistan to buy medicines, to teach the Koran, or to find a wife. Many of these stories appear so often, and are subsequently proven false, that we can only conclude they are part of their terrorist training.”

“They gave me a good time in Cuba,” Mohammed Ismael told journalists after his 2004 release from Guantanamo. “They were very nice to me, giving me English lessons.” Four months later, Ismael was caught attacking U.S. troops near Kandahar. The Afghan carried a letter certifying him as a respected Taliban member.

After eight months in Guantanamo in 2002, Maulavi Abdul Ghaffar was freed. He soon became Taliban commander of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan and Helmand provinces. Government forces killed Ghaffar and two comrades on September 25, 2003 as they planned to strike Afghan cops.

So, what should America do with these detainees? The term “Texas hold ’em” comes to mind.

“When you capture a lawful enemy combatant and hold them as a prisoner of war,” Pentagon detainee affairs chief Alan Liotta recently told journalists, “you are entitled, under the laws of war, to hold that individual until the end of the conflict. And the reason for that is because you’re trying to diminish the enemy’s capacity to fight.”

Since terrorists deliberately target civilians, wear no uniforms, and belong to no country, they are entitled to less, not more, protection than if they were uniformed national soldiers covered by the Geneva Convention. Thus, if the Geneva Convention lets America keep uniformed soldiers until hostilities end, the U.S. should detain these detainees at least until the War on Terror concludes.

And when does that happen? Ask Osama bin Laden and his pals when they plan to neutralize their guns, disable their car bombs, and stop taking flight lessons.

Closing Guantanamo buys President Bush nothing. American and global Leftists still will hate his guts, and enemy Islamofascists still will want him and his 300 million constituents dead. So, Bush might as well expand Guantanamo so he can padlock more Muslim fanatics — even if liberals scream.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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