OVERVIEW OF FORMER BRIGADIER GENERAL WHO OVER SAW GUANTANAMO AND HIS HEADS UP ON PRISONER RELEASE
As you know, I served in a command position at Joint Task Force Guantanamo. The detainee population was much larger when I was there, but not so large that the Command did not have a detailed knowledge base about each detainee. I could regale you with stories about many of these detainees, but that is not the purpose of this email.
Over the past several years, I have watched with disbelief as many of the GTMO detainees have been released. I can picture them as I read their names. I know their files and know what they did. I became familiar with their mindset while they were in our custody. While my memory is not perfect, I can say with some confidence that almost all of the recently released detainees had been classified as “Do Not Release”. Accompanying the recommendations were long explanations concerning their threat level (and capabilities) against the US.
Steve, you and your readers already know that over the past several years, we have been releasing men that should not have been released. Each successive release has become increasing egregious.
This is not to say that every GTMO detainee had to be locked up forever. Despite some of our early post 9-11 rhetoric, not every GTMO detainee was “the worst of the worst.” Some were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and CENTCOM did not know what to do with them, so they were sent to GTMO.
During my stint there, some of these types of detainees were cleared for release. The intel community on the island deemed them as low-threat levels---and for the most part, they were proven right. With that said, there was still a thorough vetting process. The Department of Detainee Affairs inside the Pentagon ensured there were numerous safeguards and protocols agreed to by receiving nations to ensure that “low-threat detainees” did not return to the battlefield. While not perfect, the system worked well and recidivism rates were remarkably low.
When the Obama Administration took over, there were disturbing changes in policy.
First, the former vetting process at GTMO was seemingly set aside, and it became evident that there was a shift from policy-by-procedure/results to policy-by-proclamation. For example, on one of his first days in office, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the closure of GTMO. There was, however, no coordination either within US borders, or with foreign nations, regarding what to do with the detainees.
Those of us who knew the situation were stunned. How can a president issue such an order that has no way of being executed? Why hadn’t the political piece been put into place so the military piece could then be accomplished? I soon learned that this would be the standard operating procedure of the new administration---govern by decree/proclamation--- with no coordination, accountability, or responsibility assigned….or even perceived to be needed.
Beyond this, the previous assurances of verified custody by receiving nations seemed to be absent from the new release agreements. We were now just opening the prison doors with no regard for potential future consequences. As you might guess recidivism rates soared…something the MSM has conveniently ignored.
Had it stopped at these revelations, I would have rationalized that America could handle even eight years of this nonsense. I believed America was strong enough to hold on until the next administration. As the years went by, however, I began to realize the situation was far more dangerous and insidious than mere administrative incompetence, inefficiency, and cavalier leadership style.
To my dismay, I have been witnessing what I deem to be the purposeful dismantling of the nation’s defenses…and at so many different levels.
· Spiritually, God is being removed from the military. For thousands of years, soldiers have prayed for God’s favor, yet the US has determined to go it alone. Good luck with that.
· Strategically, the purpose of the military is no longer national defense, but rather social engineering.
· Culturally, alpha-males are being bureaucratically neutered, while the organization seemingly morphs into something akin to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
· Intellectually, the military has lost focus. As our Secretary of the Army tours military installations giving speeches about transgender acceptance, the Russian, Chinese and North Korean (!) militaries are making technological leaps that most Americans cannot fathom.
· Operationally, readiness in the US military continues to degrade as units are misused, under-equipped, and assigned missions in slap-dash manner with no clear paths to victory/success.
Additionally, repair parts are getting harder to come by, and supply chains for vital equipment/resources are not necessarily under our control.
I could go on, but you know most of this and have reached the same conclusion that I have. The GTMO detainee release policy (or lack thereof) is just another manifestation of a much larger cancer that has spread through the military. Unfortunately, most Americans are ignorant of the predictable ramifications.
We are not as safe as we think we are. Americans still believe we bomb others, but no one can bomb us. I promise you, this is not true. We are far more vulnerable than we were only eight short years ago and I believe it is by design.
History will not judge us kindly. Future generations will sit back in amazement and say, “How could they not see what was happening? Why did no one stop it?” Of course, some do see it….and those who see it most clearly know the spiritual piece must be addressed first, but that is a subject for another time.
I hope this helps adds positively to the remarkable work you continue to do. There are many ways to serve your country and you are certainly doing your part.
Your friend in Christ,
Aug 23, 2016