Inhofe on the Issues: Gitmo
As a Senior Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Inhofe is a tireless leader supporting the U.S. Military’s efforts to keep our nation safe. When President Obama signed the executive order to close Guantanamo Bay, Sen. Inhofe was the first to voice his opposition and warn against the severe repercussions it could have to national security. As someone who has visited the camp three times since 9/11, Sen. Inhofe has set the record straight on its vital function in fighting terrorism and the exceptional standards in which the detainees are held.
Sen. Inhofe is leading the fight in the Senate to prevent the transfer of Gitmo anywhere in the US:
-Feb. 2: In response to Pres. Obama’s executive order to close the prison, Sen. Inhofe led a Congressional Delegation to Guantanamo Bay to see firsthand the state of the prison operations and get the facts out about its critical role in keeping U.S. national security. While on location, Sen. Inhofe filmed a message to the public via YouTube.
-Feb. 3: Senator Inhofe introduced legislation (S.370) to prevent the detainees at Guantanamo from being relocated anywhere on American soil.
-Feb. 10: Sen. Inhofe joined Move America Forward, the nation’s largest grassroots organization committed to supporting America’s efforts to defeat terrorism and supporting the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, in calling on Pres. Obama to reverse his decision to close Gitmo.
-Feb 18: Senator Inhofe toured the Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Sill as he builds a case to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open and prevent possible relocation of detainees to U.S. soil. Link to Release.
-Feb. 20: The release of a Pentagon report affirmed what Sen. Inhofe has been saying all along: that the conditions in Guantanamo are humane and fully compliant with the Geneva Convention.
-Feb. 23: Three weeks after Sen. Inhofe’s call for President Obama and Senate colleagues to go see firsthand the facility at Gitmo, Attorney General Eric Holder visited Gitmo and said closing “will not be an easy process” and even admitted “the facility is well-run by its current military officers.” (Washington AP) Read Senator Inhofe's response.
What we know:
-As the U.S. engages in the War on Terror, the capture of terrorists is inevitable and they must be held somewhere. The detainee complex at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is the only complex in the world that can safely and humanely hold individuals that pose a high security risk to the US. It is a secure location away from population centers, provides maximum security required to prevent escape, provides multiple levels of confinement opportunities based on compliance of the detainee, and provides medical care not available a majority of the population of the world.
-On 22 Jan, President Obama ordered the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year, closed CIA facilities, and ordered that all interrogations of suspected terrorists will have to abide by the Army field manual, removing the Bush administration's approval of "enhanced" interrogation techniques, which some believed to be torture.
-President Obama's Executive Order could cause delays in the trials of: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "mastermind" of the 9/11 attacks; Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarek Bin ‘Attash, trainer of 9/11 operatives and senior al Qaeda figure connected to the USS Cole bombing and 1998 bombings of US Embassies in East Africa; and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi, the primary financial and logistical supporters of the 9/11 operatives.
-If GTMO is no longer a prison, some US domestic or overseas prison will have to house these detainees while they await a hearing and trial. Moving these prisoners to the US would increase the risk to national security and complicate the judicial process through which these prisoners are tried.
-The other alternative is the release of these terrorists which would threaten not only our national security, but the security of all our allies and our coalition partners around the world.
-Joint Task Force (JTF) GTMO holds approx 245 terrorists from over 30 countries. They are provided better care than the care provided prisoners in US prisons, including health care which provides all medical/dental services and a health care provider to a detainee ratio of 1:2 (1 health care professional for every 2 detainees.)
-US Soldiers in the battlefield are putting their lives at risk trying to secure evidence that can one day be used in a court of law to try and convict enemy combatants captured on the battlefield, often in the middle of a firefight.
-GTMO is the single greatest repository of human intelligence in the war on terror. This intelligence has prevented terrorist attacks and saved lives in the past and continues to do so today.
Growing Number of Voices Skeptical Out Against President Obama's Executive Order:
Fort Wayne News: What do we do with the detainees now at Gitmo? For one thing, let's keep them far away from Indiana.
North County Times (CA): SoCal region no place for Gitmo gang
San Angelo Standard Times: Atkinson: Obama should keep Guantanamo open
MN Daily: Keep Guantanamo open
Kansas City Star Prime Buzz: Gitmo: Not in my backyard
Wall Street Journal: Obama and Guantanamo Fighting terrorism is simpler when you're a candidate.