As long as you’re at war, you must keep enemy fighters off the battlefield. However, this simple premise of prosecuting combat is something our country’s leadership does seem to not understand. Furthermore, when the enemy forces are non-state, non-uniform belligerents captured on the battlefield, they are classified as unlawful enemy combatants. And finally, it is a proven fact that the recidivism rate of those released is somewhere close to 30 percent.
Therefore this recent news about freed GITMO detainees is not surprising to me. According to Fox News, “As many as 20 to 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees — some of whom were released within the last three years — are suspected by intelligence and Defense officials of having joined forces with the Islamic State and other militant groups inside Syria, Fox News has learned. The development has cemented fears that the U.S. military would once again encounter militants taken off the battlefield. The intelligence offers a mixed picture, and officials say the figures are not exact. But they are certain at least some of the released detainees are fighting with the Islamic State, or ISIS, on the ground inside Syria. Others are believed to be supporting Al Qaeda or the affiliated al-Nusra Front in Syria.”
Even if the number were one, it would be one too many and the lesson must be that we don’t need to shut down GITMO — keep these unlawful enemy combatants off the battlefield. We already know the five senior Taliban leaders who President Obama unilaterally released — in violation of US Code and Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution — will be free to depart Qatar, an Islamic terrorist supporting emirate, and return to Afghanistan.
Fox says, “A number of former detainees also have chosen to help these groups from outside the country, financing operations and supporting their propaganda campaigns. Of the 620 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay, 180 have returned or are suspected to have returned to the battlefield. Of those 180, sources say 20 to 30 have either joined ISIS or other militants groups in Syria, or are participating with these groups from outside countries. Officials say most of those 20 to 30 are operating inside Syria. The development underscores just one of many long-running complications for efforts to shutter Guantanamo Bay, a promise President Obama made within hours of taking the oath of office in 2009.”
There is always an intersection between campaign politics and reality – and this is a prime example. You cannot lead a nation based on campaign promises or political ideology when it comes to national security and foreign policy, and eschew the fact that your enemy has a vote.
If there’s one thing a shrewd adversary will exploit, it’s is a predictable leader — one who telegraphs his intentions and demonstrates inflexibility in shifting and adjusting to changing global situations. It seems this is where we are in America, and if there’s one thing any U.S. president should maintain — regardless of political party – it is the fundamental policy and principle of safeguarding the American people. That is after all the preeminent responsibility of the federal government — to provide for the common defense.
However, what happens when “detainee rights” become a political football and special interest groups induce pressure — illogically — for political action on something that logically makes no security sense whatsoever? You release terrorists to return to the battlefield — and this is a bipartisan issue, as the Bush administration also released this scourge.
Such is the case with the current leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who vowed that “we shall see you in New York” — and so last week two NYPD officers were attacked by an Islamic jihadist. And has anyone kept up with Ali Musa Daqduq, whom we have reported on here, the Lebanese Hezbollah operative guilty of kidnapping, torturing, and murdering our soldiers in Iraq? He was released by the Obama administration to the Iraqi government who eventually released him.
In addition, we need to consider, as we draw down and transition from a combat role in Afghanistan (which is really ridiculous because if your enemy hasn’t surrendered they’re still fighting you), what happens to the unlawful enemy combatants apprehended by our troops? Are they simply going to be released?
The problem is, we simply don’t want to see this as a war, but rather a conflagration against Islamo-fascism and jihadism as some police action. This is not about bestowing constitutional rights on these barbaric savages. They get two choices: be killed on the battlefield or kept detained until the day comes when Islamic terrorism is defeated — and we know the latter ain’t happening anytime soon.