The left always claims that Guantanamo Bay is a major terrorist recruiting tool. The evidence for this is rather flimsy, as Byron York showed in his Washington Examiner piece Guantanamo and the question of terrorist recruitment:
it is the charge that Guantanamo is a terrorist recruitment tool that is the real foundation of the decision to shut the detention center down. Absent that allegation, it is unlikely that Guantanamo would be slated for closing.
But where does the charge come from? Much, although not all, of it comes from one person. On “Meet the Press” Sunday, when Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin was asked for evidence to support his claim that Guantanamo has been a terrorist-recruitment tool, Durbin answered: “Major Matthew Alexander, who interrogated the al-Qaeda suspects in Iraq. And it was his conclusion that half of them had been recruited and were fighting, trying to kill Americans because of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.” Alexander was the only authority Durbin cited.
One pseudonymous source does not constitute a solid case. Be that as it may, President Obama certainly buys that line. As the favored candidate of the anti-war left, that is not a surprise. According to Byron York:
President Obama gave two reasons for his decision to shut down Guantanamo. The first was that it has lowered American standing in the world, and the second was that it is a recruitment tool for terrorists. “Guantanamo became a symbol that helped al-Qaeda recruit terrorists to its cause,” the president said. “Indeed, the existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.”
That’s a flimsy claim at best. The existence of an America that will take the fight to terrorists on Muslim soil is far more likely to incite terrorism amongst the millions of Muslim fanatics. Parapundit’s reporting back in 2004 confirms the the invasion of Iraq led to a surge in Al Qaeda recruitment:
The Clash Of Civilizations is becoming more pronounced.
One effect has almost certainly been the recruiting of potential terrorists linked to al Qaeda, one of its branches or similar organisations. The International Institute of Strategic Studies, not an alarmist or extreme organisation, believes al Qaeda now has 18,000 potential terrorists in 60 countries and that recruiting has been accelerated by Iraq. If the institute is right, the invasion of Iraq, justified publicly as part of the “war on terror,” has actually produced more terrorists.
“Christian nations’ forcible occupation of Iraq, a historically important land of Islam, has more than offset any calming effect of the US military withdrawal from Saudi Arabia,” the IISS said. It added: “With Osama bin Laden’s public encouragement, up to 1,000 foreign jihadists have infiltrated Iraq.”
So the Iraq invasion has radicalized Muslims as many critics of the invasion predicted ahead of time. The invasion would not have had as much of a radicalizing effect had it been better planned to provide better security during the occupation. But that would have required a much larger US Army to supply sufficient number of occupation troops and also a very ambitious effort to train US soldiers to speak Arabic and to do police work. So a proper occupation force would have taken literally years to prepare. Even if the occupation planning been competent the effect of the Iraq invasion would still have been to radicalize many Muslims the world over, just not as many or to as great an extent.
Now, let’s roll forward to 2010. Nine years after 9.11 there are still no new buildings to replace the Twin Towers. The US body politic has been unable to summon the resources and will-power needed to rebuild after the worst ever attack on US soil. Yet, a radical Muslim Imam is proposing to build a $100 million mosque within two blocks of Ground Zero. President Obama chose the Ramadan Iftar dinner at the White House to announce his support for the Mosque. This is deeply offensive. The 9.11 attack was an act of Jihad. This mosque will be seen by Muslims world-wide as a commemoration of Islam’s victory over the Great Satan. It should be known as the Islamic Victory Mosque. It will surely help Al Qaeda recruit more martyrs willing to follow in the footsteps of Mohamed Atta.