President Obama has the perfect reason to abandon his foolish promise to close Guantanamo: The American people overwhelmingly reject his policy. Popular opinion aside, keeping Gitmo full of homicidal Muslim maniacs still makes sense.
Among 1,015 adults USA Today/Gallup surveyed between May 29-31, 65 percent oppose closing Guantanamo and moving some detainees to U.S. prisons. Only 32 percent favor this proposal. Asked if they want Gitmo shut and some detainees transferred to "a prison in your state," 74 percent of respondents disagree; just 23 percent approve.
Beyond the American public’s wishes, national security requires that Guantanamo stay open:
— Recently declassified Pentagon data demonstrate that among 530 former detainees released from Guantanamo, "27 were confirmed and 47 were suspected of reengaging in terrorist activity." These 14 percent who returned to jihad, despite being asked to sign non-violence pledges, are those we have captured. Others surreptitiously may have conducted violence, raised money, or radicalized and trained recruits. After examining news reports and interviewing Pentagon spokesmen, I estimate that among the 74 Guantanamo alumni who evidently resumed terrorism, several have attacked and killed at least 117 individuals and wounded 229 others.
— Repatriating terrorists causes endless grief. After leaving Guantanamo, Russian officials released Ruslan Odijev and six others in June 2004. He subsequently helped assault the Caucasian town of Nalchik on October 13, 2005, killing 49 and wounding 115.
Abdullah Mahsud departed Guantanamo for Afghanistan in March 2004. He then kidnapped two Chinese engineers, one of who was killed in a rescue attempt. He assisted an April 28, 2007 attack in Charsada, Pakistan that killed 31 and wounded 49. On July 24, 2007, he exploded himself with a hand grenade to avoid capture in Zhob, Pakistan.
— Monday’s protest by Chinese-Muslim Uyghur detainees that "America is Double Hetler (sic) in unjustice (sic)" was comical. Guantanamo is as far from Dachau as the sun is from Pluto. Gitmoites are getting brand-new satellite TVs and Sudoku puzzles, reports Reuters’ Jane Sutton. They already enjoy soccer, basketball, sketchpads, colored chalk, English classes, Arabic newspapers, USA Today, Islamically correct meals, and Muslim prayers — the latter five times daily.
— Why not jail Guantanamo’s 240 detainees in America? The U.S. Bureau of Prisons "has 15 high-security prisons nationwide built to accommodate 13,448 prisoners," Senator Orrin Hatch (R – Utah) wrote in the Washington Times in early April. "These prisons currently hold 20,291," 6,843 above capacity. If detainees were relocated here, critics who scream today for Gitmo’s closure would shriek tomorrow that terror suspects endure domestic overcrowding.
— Obama’s argument that Gitmo inspires terrorism falsely blames America for jihad. If Gitmo were shuttered tomorrow, and its residents flown home, those who hate America and love oppressing women and decapitating gay people would find countless reasons to arrange the downfall of our country and the destruction of our countrymen. Those who detonate girls’ schools and music stores because they demand female ignorance and mandate silence would not blink if Guantanamo were padlocked.
The 19 hijackers who slaughtered 2,976 innocents and wounded 7,356 on 9/11 were not enraged over Guantanamo. That facility did not exist then, nor when al-Qaeda bombed the USS Cole in 2000, U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, or the Twin Towers in 1993. To expect that closing Gitmo will neutralize Islamo-fascists’ venom is to believe that had FDR fired Jewish chaplains from the Army, Hitler would have scuttled the Battle of the Bulge.
Likewise, shuttering Gitmo and judging detainees in civilian courts would be like evacuating POW camps and trying SS officers before American juries, even as Hitler plotted our doom. After Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are caught or killed, and five-years have elapsed without militant-Islamic terror, America can declare victory in the War on Terror and then prosecute these killers. Until that joyous day, our terrorist enemies should remain at Guantanamo — safely encircled by armed guards, barbed wire, and sharks.
(Deroy Murdock is a columnist wand a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.Murdock(at)gmail.com)