Gitmo and Promises

NASSAU, Bahamas — While taping and broadcasting our live syndicated radio and TV show from Nassau for a few days, it seems as though the people here can't talk enough about President Obama and the closing of Gitmo.

Did anyone notice the irony this week surrounding the potential closing of Guantánamo Bay and the subsequent relocation of the detainees (we call them terrorists where I come from) to our nation’s shores? I laughed out loud at how quickly Senate Democrats ran from their president when it came time to cast their lot for his half-baked idea to close the prison. Should it have surprised anyone that Obama didn’t have a plan? It certainly didn’t faze me or anyone on these islands …

Back in South Carolina, where I grew up, folks would always say, “Make sure you support the politician whose campaign promises last longer than their bumper stickers!” Well, I think I can safely state that President Obama’s campaign pledge surrounding the detention of terrorists is crumbling all around him.

Let’s rewind. Barely two days have passed since his swearing-in, and Obama proudly signs an executive order effectively closing the prison. Never mind that he had no sense of where he’d actually send the prisoners; he just wanted the darn thing closed! Heck, over 60 percent of the country agreed, citing “human rights abuses.” Only after Americans realized the terrorists could end up in their own backyard did policymakers in Washington decide it was wise to pump the brakes on this public-relations charade.

I’m sorry, but I think most of the blame for the knee-jerk, populist move by Obama lies at the feet of the American public. In the wake of Abu Ghraib, no one could forcefully defend torture and the seemingly endless detention of terrorists. But that argument is one-dimensional and misses the mark. We’re talking about holding some of the most ruthless fighters in the world, people hell-bent on destroying Western civilization. Irrespective of how you felt they were treated, Obama’s unilateral, short-sighted decision gave no thought to what he was actually going to do with the prisoners once he closed Gitmo. He just wanted the photo-op. That’s the sign of a bush-league president. And many Americans, in an effort to ease their own consciences, went along with the half-cocked idea.

I’ve said it before: This is a dangerous world we live in. It’s only because of the eternal vigilance of our law enforcement and intelligence agencies that we sleep so soundly at night. I wish more of my neighbors and fellow American friends would keep that in mind the next time they get swooned by a catchy bumper-sticker policy touting, “Be humane. Close Gitmo!”


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