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JANUARY 30, 2013 2:28PM

In Defense of Gitmo: Drone Strikes, Intel & Repeat Customers

Rate: 2 Flag

For MEB, forever. 

In a way, President Obama got hoisted by his own petard on Gitmo, since it was easy as a candidate to say to just close that etc..., although to be fair, he was a law professor, and there is no question it raises difficult issues.

What people on the Left who scream at Obama over the failure to close Gitmo don't seem to understand are the actual issues.

Shall we give the jihadists milk and cookie and say, "What's your major malfunction, Jihadi?! Didn't your mommy and daddy show you enough love and affection?!"

The issue is this: If one encounters people planning violent activities overseas opposed to what is perceived as general American interests, whether those violent attacks are planned on directly American targets or not, but say "just" those of a relatively friendly government, what does one do?

Give them milk and cookies and say "What's your major malfunction?!" 

Not likely. 

Now, one could merely collect intelligence to observe, and see what happens.

That of course allows people to die one might not like, but has some case for it, rarely however raised by those screaming about Gitmo, who's main motive almost seems to be to just reflexively oppose any thing our government does without having any seemingly obvious alternative policy except the military defeat of the United States and domestic revolution, almost treason.

That's a little harsh, treason, as naivete and stupidity don't a traitor make.

As to collecting intelligence and doing something with it, usually shared with the host government, that is done all the time, if it makes for bedfellows one might not like.

Then again, as to the progressive critics, were the Taliban a good thing, for women, because that is often the nature of the replacament, as in Mali now.

As to the use of Gitmo for intelligence collection, there is much to be said for that, plus just taking people out of the jihad game, a sort of penalty box for jihaddists.

That's actually more humane than the most direct measure, a drone strike, if it reveals often why Gitmo is useful too.

Take the latest drone strike in Yemen.

The victim, or lawful target, was a former Gitmo resident, before that an Afghan veteran, the real deal, all the usual places on the Jihad World Tour, Chechnya, Somalia, Bosnia, because he was "Have gun, will Jihad."

They let him loose, like the Progressive critics of Gitmo wanted, and what happened?

What happened is what happened in a lot of cases of Gitmo detainees released, namely, he escaped from Saudi Arabia, probably with local assistance of some form, fellow-travellers, and went to Yemen to take up arms in some sense again; hence the drone strike.

Maybe we should just throw all the inmates into the ocean, as that would definitely solve the repeat customer problem. 

The bad news of the drone strike is the defense of Gitmo: intel.

You don't get intelligence from a drone strike target, hopefully, as they are vaporized. That's the point of a drone strike. If that is harsh, and does kill civilians, it kills fewer civilians than a B-52 strike. 

The real criticism as to the mode of killing is what John Paul Vann said about counter-insurgency, that the best mode of killing is with a knife in such things, easier however said than done. He would like drone strikes to a point, although the COIN objection in terms of "hearts and minds" has soem force, even as COIN advocates sometimes understate the amount of killing in any war. It's still more humane than a B-52 strike. 

Again, as to the issues, there is an argument against drone strikes, in terms of COIN theory of low intensity conflict, and alienating more people net than you kill.

If that is Progressives real issue, how about say so, but with no naivete either? 

Moreover, to be fair to the progressive critics of Gitmo and drone strikes, such as one can with a certain amount of naivete, stupidity, and more fundamentally anti-Americanism,  there is the question of American allies.

Take Yemen in the drone strike above.

Is that a good ally or not?

It's not the best government in the world, although there is no reason to believe at all that if there were a jihadist takeover it would be anything but violently opposed to the United States, and Israel, and would of course implement full sharia, with implications for women's rights etc... .

Of course some want to destroy Israel on the far left, usually on the theory of anti-Americanism that anything that hurts an American ally is bad for America, and therefore good, if that's sort of treasonous too, unless you think we are evil. 

Fair enough, if that is mainly the author thinks rather obvious naive and stupid. 

Now as to the Usual Suspect Theory involved here, so naive in the author's view, maybe it is the case that if Israel were to do a deal with the Palestinians that was more generous than realities of power in the short-run would require, or security might suggest from an Israeli point of view, the world would be as right as rain.

Maybe the jihadists cry crocodile tears for the Palestinians too.

More likely in terms of COIN theory and the general theory of diplomacy, it would help, but only somewhat, not make everything right as rain. 

So, if you don't like Gitmo, how about at least be open about what the real issues are, including what is the actual character of Islamic fundamentalism, surely not very friendly to women's rights as we have the privilege of experiencing in the West.





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Money and Failure - come to mind here - creating demand for hardware. prisons, intel and ....oil is An American invention - but the Saud learned well. Fund them today to fight them tomorrow. Breed them to bleed them. Train them to maim them. So long as the money rolls in. Radical Islam has made her parents even richer - big oil and all the makers and sellers of things that kill.

Failure - Our failure to look beyond the symptoms - gitmo, drones, and see through the corrupt fog of never ending war for what it is a scam that draws our attention away from the money
She has a point about a different COIN theory, if COIN usually means killing some people.
As to alliances, that's fair game, so long as people are realistic about probable alternatives, if sometimes people might underestimate how bad they are too. Maybe that in the end will be what saves Egypt from disaster, that the Brothers moderate some types of enthusiasms, as would need to be the case of the Nasserists on the Left of the Student Union as seen at Pt. Said lately, if also some neo-liberal enthusiasms to a point too. The Brothers are Brothers, but also business people too.
And as to the al Saud, you could do much, much worse, as to the Wahhab who almost surely would replace them, not to mention the shock effect of a civil war in the oil fields. It's easy to criticize the al Saud, if I think a careful reading of their history demonstrates you could do a lot worse, and that patience with them is usually best.
I do not suggest we get rid of anyone - or replace anyone anywhere. I am not anti Saud. They are what they are - but it is impossible to seperate them from Big Oil or Big Oil from Saud anymore. As far as the Brotherhood - they have been around and know how to play the game, but they are still pawns. I do not see an Egyptian life has having any greater value than a Syrian. A slow burn produces higher yeilds and is easier to manage circumstances than does a big boom. If a high body count is what the big boys want you can rest assured we will see one.
I think we are trying to manage conflicting considerations, in which even if there were no oil companies, we'd reinvent them, or people in Western Europe and Japan would walk a lot more, among other considerations, and be dependent on Russia and China a lot more than traditionally we have wished to be the case.
I agree - I have to pull away from culture to stay the least bit sane. Humans are ok until they bite the hook and refuse to let it go, and I only get hurt when I get in the middle.