Gateway Pundit links to a BBC report of his remarks:
But Mr Obama said the camp would still be shut, “in a manner that keeps the American people safe and secure”.
“Make no mistake, we will close Guantanamo prison, which has damaged our national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for al-Qaeda,” he said.
“In fact, that was an explicit rationale for the formation of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.“
Gateway Pundit points out that:
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula first came to prominence in Saudi Arabia in May 2003. There is absolutely no proof that Gitmo had anything to do with the group’s formation. The first operational leader of AQAP was killed in June 2003.
President Obama may think Gitmo is “a tremendous recruiting tool for al-Qaeda” and he is exactly right for exactly the wrong reasons. The hyper-PC Bush Administration made Gitmo into a tropical paradise for hardened terrorists. The terrorists soon learned that if they could fake repentance, they would be released and shipped back home, where they could resume their terrorist careers. That’s exactly what happened.
Career criminals compare the relative merits of the prisons where they serve time. Some are easy, some are hard. Terrorists do the same. Gitmo is easy time. That’s why it is a recruiting tool. If a terrorist gets sent to Gitmo, he gets better health care than most American citizens, absolute freedom to practice his terrorist version of Islam, early release if he pulls a few strings to get some of Eric Holder’s former partners to represent him pro bono, and pretty good Halal food. Compare that to getting caught by Egypt’s security forces. I suspect the terrorists they capture do not fare well. One could imagine an al-Qaeda recruiting campaign that tells potential recruits that Gitmo is just like Paradise without the virgins.
The real problem is that Gitmo is not nearly tough enough. None of the terrorists held there have been executed. All of them have free access to their version of “Mein Kampf”. Hundreds have been released and some have promptly returned to Jihad. Americans have been killed by former Gitmo detainees.
If President Obama had any courage, he would make Gitmo a place that tried unlawful enemy combatants and executed those found guilty in short order. President Roosevelt would likely approve.