Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

'Scaredy-Cat Nation' Risks US Security

By       Message Robert Parry       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 5/31/09

Author 1553
Become a Fan
  (85 fans)
- Advertisement -
consortiumnews.com
May 29, 2009

Some Americans may think they're looking tough by refusing to allow any Guantanamo Bay detainees to enter the United States, whether as prisoners to face trial or as people who were incorrectly swept up – like the Chinese Uighurs – and have been deemed no threat to U.S. security.

President Barack Obama and some Democrats may think they're acting smart in pandering to these fears by proposing extra-constitutional "prolonged detention" for Islamic militants (Obama) or by joining the Republican-led NIMBY chorus of "not in my backyard" (such as Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada and Jim Webb of Virginia).

But the real-life consequence of this panic is to make the United States – and President Obama – look weak in the eyes of the world, and that weakness is already having negative effects.

- Advertisement -
For instance, with Americans unwilling to let even the Uighurs onto U.S. soil, other countries are balking at requests that they take other detainees who have been judged not a threat.

"If the U.S. refuses to take these people, why should we?" said German parliamentarian Thomas Silberhorn. "If all 50 states in America say, 'Sorry, we can't take them,' this is not very convincing." [Washington Post, May 29, 2009]

Beyond exacerbating the difficulty of relocating Guantanamo detainees who have been cleared of wrongdoing, the political firestorm against accepting any inside the United States is undermining Obama's foreign policy in other ways, according to intelligence and diplomatic experts whom I've spoken with in recent days.

- Advertisement -
The image of America as "scaredy-cat nation" – and of Obama's perceived inability to get even a Democratic-controlled Congress to approve $80 million for closing down Guantanamo – have emboldened foreign leaders who have new reason to doubt the new President's toughness.

According to these sources, the undercutting of Obama on Guantanamo has had repercussions from Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is resisting pressure on settlements and peace talks, to North Korea, where recalcitrant communist leaders responded to a U.S. demand for dismantling their nuclear program by conducting a test nuclear explosion.

One foreign intelligence source said Obama would have been better off showing his command by shutting Guantanamo down immediately rather than promising to do so within a year and letting the Republicans figure out a way to turn the issue against him.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell made a similar point on CBS' "Face the Nation" on May 24, criticizing Obama for not moving faster on closing Guantanamo and "frankly giving enough time to opponents of it to marshal their forces as to why we shouldn't do this."

Media's Role

The U.S. news media also has contributed to the hysteria. The New York Times published a misleading article on May 21 about the findings of a Pentagon study, prepared in the last month of the Bush administration, claiming that one in seven of the 534 detainees released from Guantanamo have "returned" to militant activities.

- Advertisement -
While playing up the one-in-seven number, the Times buried deep in the story the fact that the Pentagon report was based on flimsy or secret evidence and that only a handful of the supposed recidivists had actually done more than talk tough or associate with undesirables.

Only five "have engaged in verifiable terrorist activity or have threatened terrorist acts," the Times reported near the end of the story. That would be fewer than one in 100, not one in seven.

After the Pentagon report was officially released on May 26, analysts Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann reviewed the data and concluded that the Pentagon's "numbers are very likely inflated" because the Pentagon included ex-prisoners who were "suspected" of having engaged in militant activity and others whose acts weren't aimed at the United States or its allies.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
(more...)
 

Robert Parry Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter

What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?

Ron Paul's Appalling World View

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

The Disappearance of Keith Olbermann

A Perjurer on the US Supreme Court