It seems convenient for Obama to order drone strikes on Islamic terrorists rather than have them captured. The need to place them at Guantanamo doesn’t exist if the terrorist is dead.
One of Obama’s top priorities since the beginning of his tenure was to shutter the naval detention center. He has not added one single detainee since he took office in 2009, and probably will do everything in his power to keep his track record.
Just last month a United States drone took out a top ISIS leader, Ali bin Tahar-Al Awni-al Harzi in Mosul, Iraq. He was a person of interest in the 2012 Libyan attack of Benghazi which left our ambassador, Chris Stevens, assassinated. The fact of his involvement in Benghazi would seem to make his capture more important than his death. His brother was also killed by a drone strike as well just one day later in Syria.
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According to an ABC report, al-Harzi had quite the resume. He was experienced in gathering weapons and transporting them from Libya to Syria. He also was in charge of recruiting fighters and providing passage for them from Iraq into Syria. With this rich expertise, knowledge and involvement with ISIS, it is a wonder we wouldn’t have attempted to bag this character instead of killing him.
General John Kelly, commander 0f Southern Command, believes capturing terrorists proves much more valuable to the fight than killing them. The intelligence gathered once they are detained is priceless. Considering the present darkness in regards to ground intelligence in Syria right now, we could have benefited from knowledge gleaned from live prisoners.
I’ve heard first hand accounts by a special operator who had been on missions to capture terrorists in Afghanistan several years ago. The prisoners were taken to Bagram Airbase, only to turn up again fighting American troops and thus re-captured. There seemed to be a revolving door at that prison. Once soldiers understood their hard work, blood, and sweat were spent for nothing, some tended to stop taking them into custody.
Obama seems to be laser focused on his promise to close Guantanamo. He has attempted this move several times over the course of his presidency, but has always met resistance.
In a recent political move he even met with Sen. McCain, R-AZ, about the matter. Apparently McCain was able to place wording into the 2016 defense authorization bill that would allow Obama to submit a plan to close Guantanamo. The bill just passed the Senate, and now will make its way to the House for approval. Fortunately for Obama, most of the attention of the American people remains on more important issues like bathing the White House in rainbow colors.
Paul Lewis, a Defense Department official, has been given the task of providing the plan and closure details on GITMO. A Defense One article describes Obama and Lewis envisioning the orange jumpsuits placed on ISIS prisoners during their executions as a reminder to shut down Guantanamo.
Once again, Obama is seen as weak to anyone truly paying attention. If all the world is a school playground, ISIS seems to play the part of the irritating bully. Obama appears to be the little skinny kid who constantly tries to appease him. Islamic terrorists demand the closure of Guantanamo, and Obama does all he can do to satisfy them.
If having GITMO open and operational makes ISIS upset, my inclination would be to fill it up and make use of our well trained interrogators. Before the addition of more detainees though, the flat screen TVs, soccer fields, play stations, x-boxes, and special hammocks for their Qurans would be removed.
The reality is Obama will not place one more terrorist in Guantanamo. He will avoid capture of any enemy combatant for as long as possible. The only known detainee in the current fight against ISIS is being held in Iraq. She was the wife of an ISIS leader, Abu Sayyaf, who was taken out by Delta Force in May.
Just last month six prisoners were released from the naval center and arrived in Oman on June 13. Coincidentally, the drone strikes on the two top ISIS leaders mentioned earlier occurred June 15 and 16. Several of the six were bodyguards of Bin Laden, others were known to have fought American soldiers in Tora Bora. Now only 116 detainees remain and 51 of them are cleared to be transferred, leaving 65 prisoners at the detention facility. Of the 51 set for transfer, 43 are from Yemen.
Look for a decision on this issue to come soon. You may want to give your congressman a call as well to make sure he/she knows of any concerns you might have about the remaining prisoners possibly being brought to our homeland.