Don’t close Gitmo: Expand it!

President Bush and his appointees should yank their tails from between their legs, stand up, and fight for Guantanamo.

While suspected al Qaeda associates deployed their Mercedes-Benz bombs in London last week, Congressional Democrats announced plans to halve Gitmo’s funding. On June 29, as alleged Muslim terrorists prepared to ignite their Jeep Cherokee bomb the next day at Glasgow’s airport, the Supreme Court announced it would hear fresh Gitmo lawsuits.

While human-rights groups holler for Guantanamo’s closure, the administration whispers the same message.

“The president said he wants to close Guantanamo,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates told journalists hours before the Glasgow attack. “We want to close it as a detainee facility.”

This is pathetic, embarrassing and potentially fatal.

Team Bush should stop cowering beneath its desks and return fire. Bush should start by uttering a simple sentence: “I am proud of Guantanamo.”

I am proud of Guantanamo, as every American should be.

First, Guantanamo keeps bloodthirsty terrorists surrounded by armed guards, ringed by barbed wire and encircled by the shark-filled Caribbean. Securing crazed killers there prevents them from coming here.

Second, interrogating Gitmoites yields priceless intelligence. Al Qaeda bigwig Abu Zubaydah kept mum until interrogators played him the Red Hot Chili Peppers — at high volume. After they turned down the stereo, Zubaydah unmasked al Qaeda agents Omar al-Faruq, Rahim al-Nashiri and Ramzi bin al-Shibh.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed switched from taciturn to talkative after a few minutes of unpleasant but non-fatal waterboarding. With his guidance, counter terrorists nabbed accused Islamo-butchers Majid Khan, Bali bomber Hambali, Rusman “Gun Gun” Gunawan, Yazid Suffat, Jose “Dirty Bomber” Padilla and Iyman Faris, who conspired to plunge the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River.

Third, Guantanamo’s conditions are beyond humane. Detainees enjoy soccer and volleyball, pray to Mecca five times daily and eat Allah-ready meals, adding 10 pounds to the typical combatant’s physique. They also receive medical care that even Bush hater Michael Moore praises in his new movie, “Sicko.”

Bush constantly should explain why Guantanamo must remain open. In fact, he should announce its EXPANSION. Gitmo should become the global depository where foreign countries may harbor terror convicts and suspects.

Call it al-Qatraz.

Keeping Muslim radicals under U.S. supervision will prevent the outrage whereby at least 157 convicted or accused Islamic terrorists have engineered at least 17 escapes from custody since Sept. 11, 2001, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and four other countries. These murderers collectively have killed at least 328 individuals and wounded 518 more.

In June, Jordanian Maath Braizat and Iraqi Saad Nuaimat slipped Jordan’s Juweida prison. Braizat was serving 10 years for endeavoring to kill Iraqi police trainees. Nuaimat was doing life for attempting to bomb Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport.

“We have a vital, vested interest in making sure these figures cannot break free and continue their menacing, violent behavior,” says the Center for Security Policy’s Bryan Hill.

“Reports indicate that at least 30 former Guantanamo detainees have taken part in anti-coalition militant activities after leaving U.S. detention,” says a Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon. “Some have subsequently been killed in combat in Afghanistan.”

After eight months in Guantanamo in 2002, for instance, Maulavi Abdul Ghaffar was freed. He soon became Taliban commander of Afghanistan’s Uruzgan and Helmand provinces. Government forces killed Ghaffar and two comrades on Sept. 25, 2003, as they planned to strike Afghan cops.

So, what should America do with these detainees? The term “Texas hold ’em” comes to mind.

“When you capture a lawful enemy combatant and hold them as a prisoner of war,” Pentagon detainee chief Alan Liotta recently said, “you are entitled, under the (Geneva Convention), to hold that individual until the end of the conflict.” Although these non-uniformed detainees fall outside the Convention, America should detain them at least until the War on Terror concludes.

And when does that happen? Ask Osama bin Laden and his pals when they plan to neutralize their guns, disable their car bombs and stop taking flight lessons.

Closing Guantanamo buys Bush nothing. American and global leftists still will hate his guts, and enemy Islamofascists still will want him and his 300 million constituents dead. So, Bush might as well expand Guantanamo so he can padlock more Muslim fanatics — even if liberals scream.

(New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a columnist and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.murdock(at)