Lawmakers say the attack in Belgium just proves the folly of Obama’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay detention center.
During a hearing Wednesday, GOP members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee forcefully questioned Paul Lewis, chief envoy on Guantanamo for the Defense Department, and his State Department counterpart, Lee Wolosky.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“I think the bigger recruiting tool today is when our government, especially this administration, is perceived as being weak.”[/pullquote]
The hearing had been scheduled before Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels, which killed 34 people and wounded 270. But the attacks added urgency to the proceedings, which were called to assess a plan that the Pentagon made public last month to close the Guantánamo detention center and transfer remaining prisoners to the United States.
Lewis, the Pentagon’s point man on the military prison, acknowledged that in at least one previous instance, freed detainees had killed Americans.
“What I can tell you is unfortunately there have been Americans that have died because of [released] Gitmo detainees,” Lewis said in response to a question from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California.
After Lewis and Wolosky reiterated Obama’s assertions that U.S. allies want to see Guantánamo closed because it’s a recruiting tool for terrorists, Rohrabacher adopted a mocking, weepy tone in criticizing their concerns.
“This idea that the people of the world, oh, they’re so upset with us that it’s a recruiting vehicle that we’ve kept terrorists who murder innocent people in Gitmo — well, you know what?” Rohrabacher said. “I think the bigger recruiting tool today is when our government, especially this administration, is perceived as being weak.”
Rohrabacher suggested that the terror attacks in Paris in November and in Brussels on Tuesday might change the thinking of European partners.
“Let me suggest that that attitude of our European friends may well be changing in the next six months or so when they realize that the slaughter that’s taken place in Paris and now in Brussels is part of an international movement to destroy Western civilization and replace it with a caliphate,” he said.
(Via Miami Herald)
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