Guantanamo: Treating our enemies better than our friends

 Kuwait is a close and faithful American ally. It remains a stable friend in a volatile, often hostile, region. Kuwait has equal, if not greater, reason than the United States to be concerned about radical groups. Yet, the United States has repeatedly refused Kuwait’s requests for the repatriation of its two citizens imprisoned at Guantanamo. If the United States is now willing to negotiate with our enemies, the Taliban, to release Taliban fighters from Guantanamo, why doesn’t the United States honor our friend, the State of Kuwait’s request through its Amir and Foreign Minister, with full assurances from the State to the United States?
 
This is even more baffling since our close ally, Kuwait, has established a state-of-the-art rehabilitation program and facility in its central prison, reviewed and approved by U.S. officials. That program was specifically designed to ensure that the remaining two Kuwaiti citizens imprisoned in Guantanamo for over ten years can be safely and successfully reintegrated with their families and Kuwaiti society.
 

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To be clear, Kuwait is not asking for its citizens to be released from detention - just returned to Kuwait where they will be rehabilitated and subject to a multitude of security conditions demanded by the United States and agreed to by the State of Kuwait.
 
Yet, the rehabilitation facility, completed more than two years ago, sits empty. This has not gone unnoticed by the Kuwait Parliament or the public of Kuwait. And it certainly won’t go unnoticed by the Kuwait Government or public that the United States is now negotiating with the Taliban about the release of certain prisoners from Guantanamo.
 
So, to again be clear, the United States Government is willing to negotiate with a known terrorist organization, with whom we remain at war, and return its prisoners, but is unwilling to repatriate two – yes, just two – Kuwaitis from Guantanamo to a detention center with ensured security measures. Is this America’s idea of sensible policy or fair treatment of a friend and ally?


Gen. Phillips (Ret.) is the former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Logistics), appointed by former President Bill Clinton. He currently serves on over a dozen boards and as an advisor for many businesses in Africa and the Middle East.