The United States is at war. I know that’s not news to anyone, but it’s important to make sure that everyone understands the context for which about 460 individuals are being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
These individuals have been captured on the battlefields of the war on terror, undergone an “in theater” review to ensure that they were actually our enemy and went through a “Combat Status Review” when they got to Gitmo. They also receive a subsequent yearly review to ensure no mistakes were made. Of about 10,000 folks captured on the battlefield only 460 (the exact number is classified) have made it to Gitmo. And now, we have the 14 highest value detainees like the “mastermind of 9/11” – K.S.M.
Deputy Secretary for Detainee Affairs Cully Stimson told me that the “engine of Al Qaeda” is now being held at Gitmo awaiting prosecution through military commissions.
I’m glad that these dangerous individuals are being held “inside the wire,” and not out killing Americans as their newly anointed Al Qaeda leader in Iraq called for today in a new tape on the internet. But I am even more impressed at what I saw down at Guantanamo yesterday – the American standard of treating people.
“There has never been a single incidence of torture or inhumane treatment ever substantiated,” said JTF-GTMO Commander Admiral Harry Harris. Yet the world continues to decry the place to be an international disgrace.
Does soccer, basketball, volleyball, ping-pong, 24-hour medical and dental care, Ramadan specific 4700-calorie daily diets and Harry Potter books sound like torture to you? Because I saw those things and felt proud that despite what the anti-American crowd says, we are treating some of the most despicable humans on earth to a life far better than they deserve.
And did you know that Al Jazeera has made three separate trips down to Guantanamo since it opened in 2002 but there hasn’t been a negative story to grab headlines? Or that the images we continue to see of the infamous “Camp X-Ray” with the detainees outside kneeling with hoods and orange suits has been closed since 4 months into 2002 and is now overrun with weeds taller than me?
There is an international disgrace – it’s that the most transparent detention center in the world is continuously accused of being exactly what it is not.
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