Stashiu Says Closing Guantánamo’s Camp Delta May Be a Good Idea After All

posted at 2:34 pm on June 30, 2007 by Patterico

Bryan posted below about the Democrats’ demand that the White House close Guantánamo’s Camp Delta detention facility. When I read stories like this, my initial reaction is anger that politicians are seemingly not treating terrorism seriously. But then I asked the opinion of my friend “Stashiu,” who has worked at GTMO. I was surprised to learn that he thinks closing down the prison might be a good idea. He explains why in this post.

First, a word about Stashiu. He is an Army psyche nurse who regularly spoke with the terrorists at Guantánamo, and came to understand something about their motivations. Last October, at my own blog, I ran a five-part interview with Stashiu, in which he discussed various aspects of Guantánamo and the people who are detained there. It was very revealing for me to get an insider’s view of the place, and I have great respect for Stashiu and his opinions, based on his experiences and character.

I recently asked Stashiu what he thought about the talk of closing down the Guantánamo prison. He said:

What everyone seems to forget is that GTMO will not close. The detainee facility (Camp Delta) may be shut down, but there is much more to Guantánamo than detainees. So, GTMO itself will not close even if detainees are relocated. Moving them out could be a smart move at this time because the facilities within the Camp will remain and could be opened again later if needed.

There are clear political disadvantages to keeping Camp Delta open, as it has become a fallback position for opposition propaganda and misinformation. No matter how many times a rumor is disproven, some politico will resurrect it as “evidence” of administration wrongdoing. The same thing applies to terrorist propaganda (funny how this is almost always identical to Democratic Party talking points), but if it wasn’t GTMO it would be some other manufactured excuse. We will never do enough to appease the terrorists because they’re not interested in appeasement. They want to convert, enslave, or kill the infidels and will perpetually feign outrage at anything that furthers this cause.

But Stashiu explained that his opinion is not based simply on the need for positive publicity. Based on his experience, he believes that keeping Camp Delta open is potentially dangerous:

If Camp Delta is not closed, here is what I believe we’ll see next and why. The belief that worldwide outcry at any successful suicides would cause immediate closure has proven incorrect. The first incident where three detainees coordinated their own deaths brought some of the attention they wanted, but the most recent suicide was barely a ripple on the news. I don’t know who the last suicide was or whether it was a political act, but since the initial report we’ve heard little. The goal of the terrorist leadership within Camp Delta is to keep GTMO in the headlines for both recruiting purposes and to divide their enemies. Now that the most recent suicide has not succeeded in generating headlines, the next step for detainees will be to capture and execute one or more of the staff (guard, medical, intelligence, etc…) This will be difficult and require a lot of planning, but that’s what I believe they will attempt. Eventually, they will succeed. Another option would be to cause a staff member to somehow be
responsible for a detainee death. The uncertainties (in their minds) of this getting out into the media effectively make that a less attractive
option.

But where to put them?

The obvious problem with closing Camp Delta is finding someplace to put the detainees currently there. Bringing them to the United States would be a huge mistake and not one the adminstration is likely to make. The circus that would generate is all too obvious. It is more likely that any detainees that could not be returned to their home country for detainment there (because they would be summarily executed and our laws prevent us from exposing them to this) would be moved to existing facilities in the Middle East.

I asked him why he thinks it would be a mistake to bring the detainees to the United States. He said:

The biggest problems with moving any detainees to U.S. soil are threefold:

First, there is the fallacy that unlawful combatants are equivalent to prisoners-of-war. This interpretation arose from the terrorists’ propaganda and our own political expediency run amok. Bringing any of these detainees to the U.S. would be similarly exploited by politicians seeking advantage and power. It would further blur the line between those who follow the rules and those who don’t. None of these detainees should be a judicial issue as the Judicial Branch has nothing to do with prosecuting a war. This is the joint responsibility of the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch. That is where the check-and-balance occurs.

The reason for this is simple: it is inherently unreasonable to extend judicial protections to an enemy unwilling to follow any rules in warfare. Any combatant who does not subscribe to the Laws of War should be not be afforded the same protections extended to soldiers following the rules, especially since they don’t extend these protections to us. If our soldiers break the rules, don’t we prosecute them within the military system? Why is prosecuting detainees within a military framework unfair if that’s what we do to our own troops? Also, I don’t understand the argument that we should extend them extra protections because if we don’t, we can’t expect them to treat our troops humanely in similar circumstances. We already know how our troops are treated if captured. And doesn’t the same reasoning apply to the people we’re fighting? If they want to expect protections when captured, shouldn’t they provide protections to anyone they capture? The fact they don’t follow any rules is what makes them unlawful. In the past they were treated as spies or criminals operating in a war zone and subject to summary execution. Aren’t we taking the moral high ground by just detaining them instead? Bringing them here just encourages the argument that they are the same as POW’s.

Second, the “America is always wrong” crowd would turn their presence into a circus, using our judicial system. No matter how these detainees are treated, there will be someone claiming it’s unjust and wrong. The “When did you stop beating your wife?” questions will be endless because this will draw attention away from the terrorists themselves. Keeping us divided and fighting amongst ourselves helps them undermine us and our way of life. If anyone thought the current Democratic leadership in the House and Senate currently call for hearings on the most ridiculous grounds, they haven’t seen anything yet. Does this mean I equate the Democratic leadership with anti-Americanism? Only when they follow their far-left base, just as Republicans who follow right-wing extremists (abortion-clinic bombers, white supremacists, etc) are anti-American. Anyone pandering to crazies is not following American ideals.

Third, just as Camp Delta is currently used for enemy propaganda and recruiting, moving it here won’t change that, just bring it closer to home. If the idea is to fight terrorism over there so we don’t have to fight it here, why would we bring them here?

Remember, Stashiu has personally spoken at length with the terrorists at GTMO, and this contact has given him significant insight into how they use propaganda to manipulate world opinion. Given that the Bush Administration appears to be considering bringing some of the detainees to the United States, Stashiu’s thoughts are especially relevant.

There’s no question that the Democrats are pursuing the closing of Camp Delta for partisan reasons. But it still just might be the right thing to do — as long as the Administration takes appropriate steps to ensure that these terrorists don’t come to the United States and turn their situation into an even greater propaganda bonanza.

P.S. If you’re interested in reading last year’s five-part interview with Stashiu, click here.

Update: Stashiu is reading the comments. Feel free to leave him a question or comment.

[Patterico blogs at Patterico.com and can be reached at patterico -AT- gmail -DOT- com.]


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I think executing the terrorists at Camp Delta is a better idea…After all, they have no GC guarantees and they are illegal combatants (In WWII we executed illegal combatants, something we are to wimpy to do today).

Tim Burton on June 30, 2007 at 2:39 PM

Gotta see this

A childs plea: ‘Please close Guantanamo jail so I can see my daddy and give him a hug’…
from MPAC UK ….of course.

Yeah, lets let the terrorists determine how to hold them.

shooter on June 30, 2007 at 2:42 PM

Fine. Put the F- ers on Alcatraz and have DARPA release the sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads!

Stephen M on June 30, 2007 at 2:45 PM

For anyone who doesn’t frequent Patterico’s blog, the series with Stashiu regarding GTMO, detainee treatment and attitudes is a MUST-READ.

Links to the other four installments of the 5-part series can be found within the post linked above.

Freelancer on June 30, 2007 at 3:03 PM

. The same thing applies to terrorist propaganda (funny how this is almost always identical to Democratic Party talking points), but if it wasn’t GTMO it would be some other manufactured excuse.

They will always find an excuse. The terrorists and the Dems.

The US prisons are filled with killers and they would all like to kill a guard or start a riot. To literally thousands of death row inmates or lifers, this is their main goal inside, to say nothing of the gangs or hundreds of ‘b*tches’ being told what to do or die.

Stashiu has experience there, but to me, his are not good reasons. There is NO WHERE else to put them. We’ll just move the problem either closer to home or somewhere more dangerous, more vulnerable.
GITMO is perfect for these jihadists. Outside our borders, yet under US Military control.

shooter on June 30, 2007 at 3:05 PM

I’m thinking we need to hold off just a little while longer. If Hillary or Obama actually get in office we’ll see what they want to do with hundreds of cold blooded terrorists. Whatever happens with the war, whatever happens to America and American interests can be laid on them. I have a feeling that they suddenly won’t have nearly as much problem with Gitmo when it’s all on their heads.

Buzzy on June 30, 2007 at 3:15 PM

I’d ship them all but maybe the ones like KSM to a prison in Afghanistan under the “control” of the Afghan government. The guards would be families that suffered losses under the Taliban and AQ. From then on, what happens in Afghanistan stays in Afghanistan.

TheBigOldDog on June 30, 2007 at 3:32 PM

PS – I never really undesrtood why they didn’t keep them locked up there from the beginning anyway…

TheBigOldDog on June 30, 2007 at 3:33 PM

Let’s put them all in muslim cities: London and Glasgow! They’d feel right at home there.

SKY was interviewing an airport employee who said he saw the terrorists attacking police and screaming “ALLAH!” Damn those Amish! Are we suppossed to let these animals roam free?

Just load ‘em all up into the oldest Air Force C-130 we have, and half way across the Atlantic have a “mechanical problem”. The Crew bails out and gets picked up by the Navy. The Navy gets to test fire one of their shiney new anti-missile missiles. End of story.

Tony737 on June 30, 2007 at 3:35 PM

Diego Garcia? What other base do we have that could afford the security that Gitmo has?

TBinSTL on June 30, 2007 at 3:35 PM

The p.o.s. Democommunists, and their pillow biting ilk, are demanding the POTUS close down the Gitmo detention facility with much fanfare and a letter signed by 145 Democommunists (and one RINO), along with cutting off funding… after (i Viva !)EL Presidente’ Jorge Boosh previously suggests shutting it down.

Your elected United States government representatives hard at work, putting justice and truth ahead of partisan positioning… but don’t question their patriotism!

Why is Jorge Boosh even considering closing it down? Is he still trying for a positive legacy? His craptastic Shamnesty overture sunk like a lead weight. I question his timing. Was closing Gitmo a back-up plan of sorts? Is he still trying to do something “popular” for the benefit of the liberal thumb suckers? I disagree with the belief that the Gitmo facility should be closed, for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, there has been many detainees already released from Gitmo only to resurface in Afghanistan killing and kidnapping again. Move them to American soil, and it will be a political and judicial nightmare with the end result being huge numbers being released only to return to terrorism. Who knows how many more innocent people will die once they return to their terrorist enclaves. So much for the “global war on terror”.

Closing the Gitmo facility is NOT the right thing to do for many different reasons. That was obvious enough years ago.

http://www.heritage.org/Research/NationalSecurity/wm763.cfm

This is a good read too. Short and to the point: http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry200506140758.asp

SilverStar830 on June 30, 2007 at 3:41 PM

I say put them in with the general prison population with murderers and rapists and have the guards turn the other way.

William Amos on June 30, 2007 at 3:44 PM

Of course if we put them in Prison and they get raped will hear them say

“Bubba pinned me down and told me. “You might get 72 virgins in heaven but until then your arse is mine !”

William Amos on June 30, 2007 at 3:46 PM

Just make sure there is a strong AB(Aryan Brotherhood) presence, where ever we put them. Oh yeah, and make it Pay-Per-View.

TBinSTL on June 30, 2007 at 4:14 PM

Send them back to Afghanistan. To keep it legal have the Afghan government check a box on a form that the prisoners will not be summarily executed. I will volunteer to write what the definition of “summarily” is is.

Hey, if checking a box is good enough for undocumented Americans it’s good enough for the terrorists

TunaTalon on June 30, 2007 at 4:58 PM

The only people at GTMO we could bring to the US are those who have committed crimes in the United States, like Khalid Sheik Mohammed. We can prosecute him for being part of a terrorist attack in the US, just like the FBI wants bin Laden.

However, most of the guys at GTMO do not fall into this category. They have not committed any crime in the US, they are not US citizens, the American legal system has no authority to prosecute them. What would be the use in bringing them to the US? These are war criminals caught in the theater or war in another country – not criminals we can prosecute in our civilian legal system.

It would set a new dangerous precedent if these guys were given the rights of American citizens and tried in the US. There’s no reason why they cannot be tried by a military court just like our own soldiers. You know, other than trying to make political hay out of the issue by pretending these guys have habeas corpus rights and the whole package.

Seixon on June 30, 2007 at 5:11 PM

Question them, when done, shoot them. No problem!

xplodeit on June 30, 2007 at 5:48 PM

What other base do we have that could afford the security that Gitmo has?

Wake Island

Pablo on June 30, 2007 at 6:53 PM

Stashiu has experience there, but to me, his are not good reasons. There is NO WHERE else to put them. We’ll just move the problem either closer to home or somewhere more dangerous, more vulnerable.
GITMO is perfect for these jihadists. Outside our borders, yet under US Military control.
shooter on June 30, 2007 at 3:05 PM

I would agree that from a containment perspective, GTMO is nearly ideal. When you factor in the political considerations, the balance is changed. How far it tips is open to debate, but that it tips at least a bit is pretty clear. If I were a politician instead of a soldier (albiet retired now), I would want it moved. Detainment facilities exist in Afghanistan and Iraq that could absorb them adequately. As a soldier who was there and knows the standards under which GTMO truly operates, I would want to keep it open. I just recognize that my priorities are different than those of an elected official.

As a functioning member of a free and democratic society I would never condone harming them (or allowing them to come to harm through deliberate inaction) once they are captured and detained, unless they receive some type of due process. Either restore the practice of summary execution on the battlefield (unlikely for political reasons), or give them a trial through the military system. But even talking about raping or murdering them is beneath us as a nation. We’re better than that.

Stashiu3 on June 30, 2007 at 7:27 PM

Guantanamos Camp Delta Detention Facility,
needs to close long after the dust settles,
and the WAR IS WON.

canopfor on June 30, 2007 at 7:57 PM

At this point, I’m about of the opinion that we might as well bring them to the U.S.

As long as we do it like this:

Divide them up equally among the politicians (and journalists) that have been complaining about Guantanamo. Make them keep them in their homes, and be personally and financially responsible for their charges. Get them all teams of lawyers… and make their hosts pay for those lawyers.

And if their ‘guests’ do anything bad while in their custody, the hosts will get the same punishments that their guest terrorists get.

If these mollycoddling whiners really believe what they say, then they are hypocrites and worse if they don’t accept direct responsibility for their idiotic notions.

LegendHasIt on June 30, 2007 at 8:07 PM

The moment you bring them on U.S. soil, the ACLU will erupt, spewing hundreds of lawyers to their defense. Totally NOT an acceptable idea.

Stashiu3, good of you to drop by, and thanks for the clarifying comment. Maybe some of the more rabid will pull back from the edge.

Freelancer on June 30, 2007 at 8:30 PM

Bring the Islam Nazis here?

Hey, no problem!

We can put them right next to Ted Kennedy’s home.

We can put them in Crawford, TX (maybe they can hook up with the Bush twins!)

Maybe they can work in Nancy Pelosi’s vinyards and move into that house next door.

San Francisco where Diane Feinstein hangs out!

Etc., etc., etc.

The False Dervish on June 30, 2007 at 10:05 PM

Put them in the bellies of hungry, underprivileged sharks.

Pussyfooting loses wars.

profitsbeard on July 1, 2007 at 12:12 AM

My conclusion has been stated several times, but not explicitly the reason for it. We should indeed interrogate, then execute, those things down there. The more cooperative they are, the nicer their life while there and the nicer the execution (there are many ways to die).

But the true justifying–in fact, compelling–factor is simple justice. Those things are not worthy of consideration as humans. They simply do not count. They have made themselves enemies all good, and enemies of the country set to hold hegemony over the world. Simply put, they have set themselves to be deserving to die.

Their “human rights” are forsaken by their own choice, if they ever had them to start. Personally, I “care” more about the welfare of my new kitten than I ever will the welfare of those things or their families. In fact, I will care more about the welfare of the first mouse it kills than their welfare.

Tommygun on July 1, 2007 at 12:54 AM

Why do we have to spend tons of money to move them somewhere else? They need to stay where they are for as long as possible.

Stashiu claims it is a “fallback position for opposition propaganda and misinformation.” Maybe the other side needs to do a better job of countering that.

Prisoner suicides and attacking guards happen in every prison. The guards need to not become complacent and stay on guard at all times. When they start trusting the prisoners and believing their stories is when they get into trouble.

But as Stashiu said, “if it wasn’t GTMO it would be some other manufactured excuse”, so why waste taxpayer money to close GTMO and set-up some other place.

pugsly on July 1, 2007 at 10:14 AM

Stahiu,
It’s always nice to read your well-considered opinions.

X_LA_Native on July 1, 2007 at 11:14 AM

Stashiu3, good of you to drop by, and thanks for the clarifying comment. Maybe some of the more rabid will pull back from the edge.

Maybe.

Put them in the bellies of hungry, underprivileged sharks.

My conclusion has been stated several times, but not explicitly the reason for it. We should indeed interrogate, then execute, those things down there. The more cooperative they are, the nicer their life while there and the nicer the execution (there are many ways to die).

But the true justifying–in fact, compelling–factor is simple justice. Those things are not worthy of consideration as humans. They simply do not count.

Or maybe not.

Patterico on July 1, 2007 at 11:32 AM

Stashiu3 on June 30, 2007 at 7:27 PM

You’ve been there and done that, so to speak, you know these animals better than any American politician and better probably than anyone posting on this board. As for me, what ever recommendations you make, sound like the right course of action.

GTMO has become a very serious propaganda thorn in our side that we can well do without. Personally I think it is a damn shame that summary battlefield executions are off the table, but be that as it may we are left making the best we can out of a very bad situation.

The reasons you give for closing GTMO are I think excellent reasons to deprive those seeking to harm us of fuel. Fires only go out when they have no more fuel or oxygen to burn.

Deprive the enemy of a powerful propaganda tool and deprive the corrupt politicians willing to sacrifice America for power fuel and oxygen and perhaps we can eliminate one of the propaganda thorns in our side that is hampering our efforts to successfully prosecute this war.

I thank you for your courageous service to this great republic and for your insightful perspective on how this thorny issue should be resolved.

doriangrey on July 1, 2007 at 12:47 PM

Gitmo should remain open for business. Closing it only encourages more slander to drive our policy. I only support bringing the terrorist prisoners to America from Gitmo if they swim here.

Tantor on July 2, 2007 at 2:14 AM