Escape from Guantanamo

Sounds like the title of a Kurt Russell movie, doesn’t it? But it’s not a headline you’ve yet seen, and while always possible, not one you’re likely to read anytime soon.

While advocates for the detainees beat the drum that Guantanamo was selected because it keeps the detainees out of the US judicial system, there is a far more practical aspect to selection of the isolated outpost at Cuba’s southeast corner than a mere legal subterfuge. As the old saw goes about asking directions in the country: You can’t get there from here.

Guantanamo is largely unapproachable. As I point out extensively in my book Inside Gitmo, overland approaches are guarded by Cuban military authorities who are loathe to permit demonstrations, or even access to the outer perimeter from their side. On the Caribbean side approaches to the base are guarded by the US Coast Guard whose members run constant patrols along the water access routes to the Camp Delta complex.

Such is not the case in other locales. Just yesterday al Qaeda fighters managed a jailbreak in Ramadi, Iraq that killed 13 (six guards; seven fellow prisoners) while permitting four high value operatives to slip back into the fight.

This has been a pattern throughout the history of confinement. Detainees, including the Bali Bomber, have escaped from a detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan and from several other Afghani prisons. Prisons in Yemen are a notorious sieve.

In several instances breakouts have been initiated by suicide bombers with great loss of life, including innocents in the community killed as a result of these attacks.

Relocation of Guantanamo detainees to US soil – a move seriously contemplated by several members of incoming president-elect Obama’s legal and advisory team – would make any facility to which they are moved a prime al Qaeda target. Additionally, we should expect that hundreds of activist demonstrators would take up residence around the facilities – whether Charleston, SC, Leavenworth, KS, or Pendleton, CA, or other locales. These activists would provide necessary, if unwitting, cover for any al Qaeda attacks against those facilities.

Given the mind set of the al Qaeda movement any operation is a guaranteed success, whether detainees escape or not. By bringing the fear of suicide bombers and attacks on civilians into the US, the movement will raise its status and provoke fear and further security restrictions on Americans. In their twisted minds this would be a singular victory.

As we draw closer to the day when we can expect a “Close Gitmo” edict from the incoming administration, these contingencies need to be raised and debated unemotionally and honestly.

The alternative is to sit passively and allow US towns and cities to become targets for a determined, ruthless enemy.

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One Response to “Escape from Guantanamo”

  1. sysoptions Says:

    You forget one thing. The War on terror is over. Or so the American sheep think. 9/11 was not enough for them.

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