Just last spring President Obama defended his decision to close the Guantanamo prison camp by saying it “became a symbol that helped al-Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause… It is a rallying cry for our enemies,” Obama declared in a speech at the National Archives.
A rallying cry for our enemies… to turn their eyes towards little Standish Michigan? Simply change “Guantanamo” to “Standish” and you will see the net effect of a mere geographical relocation.
Certainly other prisons in the United States are already successfully housing some pretty terrible terrorists. That said, a few convicted violent Jihadists who are locked up in various facilities here and there across the country simply do not have the star-power of the 150-plus Guantanamo detainees — those who collectively represent the international symbol that President Obama referred to.
They include the masterminds of 9/11 and USS Cole, and many dozens more of the world’s most high-valued terrorists — all concentrated into one comparatively small yet extremely powerful population. These are not “lone wolf” crazies who operated independently: the Gitmo detainees include the most influential, idolized, and well-connected organizers and respected figures of the twisted violent fundamentalist movements reaching across the globe.
Their unique symbolism and stark differences from terrorists who were caught, tried, and convicted is magnified when one remembers that as a group, they have not been convicted of anything. Nonetheless, the current administration realizes that it would be too dangerous to simply let many them go, they must be confined to prevent them from carrying out repeated promises to kill Americans.
No, these are not at all like the handful of other terrorists already held here in this country.
Poor Standish – once a destination for tourists, hunters, fishermen, and outdoor activities – will overnight become Amnesty International’s new “gulag of our time” and a magnet for demonstrators, detainee-chasing attorneys anxious to make their bones, and perhaps committed fundamentalist terrorists eager to make an attack that will shock and stun Americans.
During our whirlwind tour we therefore sought to further explain that while the detainees may be properly secured at the prison, planting such a powerful symbol of international terrorism in a small community could inevitably attract “lone wolf” Jihadists bent on making a name for themselves, or even orchestrated acts of terrorism by organizing zealots intent on scoring points for their cause.