President Obama has released a plan to close down the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and, presumably, relocate its prisoners to U.S. soil. I traveled to Gitmo last fall and saw first-hand the important role the facility plays in our military’s efforts to keep our country safe. There is simply no military, security, or other strategic reason to relocate some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists to Illinois or elsewhere in the United States.
The president’s intent is clear but he has yet to provide a specific plan for closing down the facility and ensuring the terrorists held there do not pose a future threat. What President Obama’s plan lacks in details, it more than makes up for in irresponsibility and illegality.
Reports abound of former detainees returning to the battlefield to continue their jihad against the United States and our allies. As recently as December, a former Gitmo detainee and one time ”religious leader” of Osama bin Laden’s organization, Ibrahim al Qosi, reemerged in an Al-Qaeda video.
President Obama’s abdication of global leadership has made the world an incredibly dangerous place. ISIS now controls large swaths of territory in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, just cashed a check worth more than $100 billion, which President Obama himself admits will likely be used to finance terrorism.
These emerging threats are not confined to the Middle East. ISIS-inspired terrorism devastated Paris and even reached our own shores at the end of last year with the horrific terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California. The last thing we should be doing right now is willfully bringing terrorists into our country just so President Obama can fulfill a campaign pledge.
You might be thinking to yourself – haven’t we been here before? You’d be correct. More than six years ago, President Obama tried to essentially relocate Guantánamo Bay to the Thomson Correctional Center in Carroll County. The American people overwhelmingly objected and we passed a law to make it illegal to use federal funds to bring these terrorists into the country. I voted for the bill and the president signed it into law. One would think that would be the end of the discussion, but sadly this administration has shown little regard for those pesky things called “laws.” Closing down Guantánamo Bay was a bad idea when I opposed it in 2009 and it’s still a bad idea today. The only difference now is that it’s also illegal.
This is part of a series of commentaries from individuals, guests and organizations about what’s important to the Chicago area. Read more at www.wlsam.com/wls-commentary.
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