Tags: guantanamo | obama | war | terror

John Bolton: Closing Guantanamo Shows Obama 'Doesn't Understand War Against Terror'

Thursday, 23 May 2013 05:33 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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President Barack Obama's renewed call on Thursday for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison suggests he is clueless on how to effectively battle terrorism, according to John Bolton, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

"He still doesn't understand the nature of the war against terror,'' Bolton told Fox News.

Story continues below video.

"He said repeatedly he wants to detain and prosecute terrorists as if this is a normal, criminal law system problem rather than a war ... that's being waged against us."

Earlier, Bolton told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV it was a mistake for Obama in his 2008 campaign to say he wanted to shut Guantanamo, and that by doing so, it would eliminate an al-Qaida recruiting point.

"Gitmo is an excuse for al-Qaida; it's not the reason. If Gitmo did close, they'd find another recruiting tool. The facility was set up because there was no place else to put those people, and that remains true today," Bolton said.

"The notion that you let them go simply means that at least a third will return to the battlefield against us and probably much more than that. We say a third of those released have been recidivists, but those are the ones we know about."

Bolton told Fox News that since 9/11, al-Qaida "has metastasized into the Arabian peninsula, into the Maghreb, into Iraq. It doesn’t follow a corporate or government organization chart. It's a much more distributed network.

"The threat is growing, not receding. ... They did it in Boston on April 15; they did it in London yesterday."

On the subject of Obama's admission on the use of drones, Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, has mixed feelings.

"I'm glad he's defended the use of the drones to date. That helps legitimize them beyond any question, including in the elimination of Americans that have turned against their country and are waging war against it," he told Steve Malzberg.

"But to say, having declared victory now, we're going to limit our use of drones ... the president here is really saying that the tactic which formerly was a mark of their success in the war against terrorism, we're going to abandon.

"So you figure that out. This is a cause for celebration in terrorist camps all over the Middle East."

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