Tags: guantanamo | bay | prison

US General Who Opened Gitmo Prison: Shut it Down

Image: US General Who Opened Gitmo Prison: Shut it Down

Thursday, 12 Dec 2013 10:23 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The U.S. general who opened the Guantanamo detention camp said Thursday it was a mistake and should be shut down because "it validates every negative perception of the United States."

"In retrospect, the entire detention and interrogation strategy was wrong," Marine Major Gen. Michael Lehnert wrote in a column published in the Detroit Free Press.

Lehnert, now retired from the military and living in Michigan, was the first commander of the task force that opened the detention camp in January 2002 at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.

He said the United States opened it "because we were legitimately angry and frightened" by the Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks in 2001 and thought the captives sent there would provide "a treasure trove of information and intelligence."

He quickly became convinced that most of them never should have been sent there because they had little intelligence value and there was insufficient evidence linking them to war crimes, he wrote.

"We squandered the goodwill of the world after we were attacked by our actions in Guantanamo, both in terms of detention and torture," Lehnert wrote. "Our decision to keep Guantanamo open has helped our enemies because it validates every negative perception of the United States."

Congress is debating an annual defense bill containing language that would give President Barack Obama more flexibility to repatriate or resettle Guantanamo detainees.

But the proposal maintains an "unwise and unnecessary ban" on transferring any to the United States, Lehnert said.

"Still, this is a step forward toward closing our nation's most notorious prison - a prison that should never have been opened," he wrote.

The first detainees arrived on Jan. 11, 2002, one week after Lehnert was ordered to build the first 100 cells. The crude chain-link cages known as Camp X-Ray were used for about three and a half months and replaced by a series of more permanent prisons.

The United States has since held 779 men at the facility and 162 remain. Lehnert noted that many had been cleared for transfer by U.S. defense and intelligence agencies but were "stuck by politics."

He said a handful should be transferred to the United States for prosecution or incarceration. He acknowledged the risk that some released detainees could go on to plan attacks against the United States, but said the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law trump that risk.

"It is time that the American people and our politicians accepted a level of risk in the defense of our constitutional values, just as our service men and women have gone into harm's way time after time to defend our Constitution," Lehnert wrote. "If we make a mockery of our values, it calls us to question what we are really fighting for."

He added, "It is time to close Guantanamo. Our departure from Afghanistan is a perfect point in history to close the facility."

 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Hillary Pours On the Praise For Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 22:14 PM

Possible presidential candidate Hillary Clinton couldn't gush enough Friday about bank-bashing Massachusetts Sen. Elizab . . .

Administration: Rules for Returning Ebola Health Workers Need Coordination

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 22:12 PM

Top Obama administration officials met on Friday morning to discuss potential new rules for healthcare workers returning . . .

Ebola Swat Team in New York City to Help Avoid Dallas Missteps

Friday, 24 Oct 2014 21:49 PM

A second team of federal disease fighters are flying into New York today to consult on the city's first Ebola patient, a . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved