September 2016 – WASHINGTON – As Barack Obama prepared to enter the final year of his presidency, he sat down for an interview with Olivier Knox to discuss a bold new policy change. He had announced a year earlier that the United States would be ending its decades-long isolation of Cuba and seeking rapprochement with the authoritarian Communists who run the island nation 90 miles from Florida. In this December 14, 2015, interview, Obama described his new approach in greater detail. The change he proposed dominated headlines for days.
There was other big news in the interview—though this the media didn’t treat as such. The president declared that he remained committed to closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, despite strong objections from Republicans and some Democrats. Obama had campaigned in 2008 on closing Guantánamo and as one of his first acts upon taking the oath of office signed Executive Order 13492 directing his national security team to shutter the facility within a year: The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.
Almost seven years later, much to Obama’s frustration, the facility remained open. Closing it had proved much more challenging than Obama had theorized as a candidate trying to win an election and a new president acting on his idealism. It turned out that the jihadists who remained in Guantánamo were there for a reason. Many of them were truly, as the cliché had it, “the worst of the worst.” Al Qaeda leaders, top Taliban officials, the men who planned the 9/11 attacks, veteran jihadists caught plotting follow-on attacks on U.S. interests, and even those al Qaeda operatives believed to be charged with carrying out the next wave of assaults on the U.S. homeland.
The news in the president’s interview wasn’t that he intended to make good on his promise to close Guantánamo, however belatedly. It was instead the president’s attempt to mislead the American people to accomplish his controversial objective. “I am absolutely persuaded, as are my top intelligence and military advisers, that Guantánamo is used as a recruitment tool for organizations like ISIS,” Obama said, endeavoring to create a national security rationale for closing the detention facility. “And if we want to fight them, then we can’t give them these kinds of excuses.” This isn’t true. There is virtually no evidence that jihadists use Guantánamo as a significant recruiting tool, and national security experts from across the political spectrum who have tested the claim have judged it false.
He wasn’t finished. “Keep in mind that between myself and the Bush administration hundreds of people have been released and the recidivism rate—we anticipate, we assume that there are going to be—out of four, five, six hundred people that get released—a handful of them are going to be embittered and still engaging in anti-U.S. activities and trying to link up potentially with their old organizations,” Obama said. That wasn’t true. When Obama made this claim, 653 detainees had been released. Of that group, 196 had been confirmed (117) or suspected (79) of returning to jihadist activity upon their release. Those numbers came from the office of the director of national intelligence and represent the U.S. government’s official count of Guantánamo recidivism. Nearly one-in-three former detainees returned to the fight, not a “handful,” as the president suggested. –The Weekly Standard
Commentary: Obama has doubled the U.S. federal debt, failed to end the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, brought thousands of questionably-vetted Islamic migrants into the U.S. , and released dangerous terrorists from U.S. custody to rejoin the ranks of radical terror groups in the Middle East. Worst, the American weapons he has peddled across the Middle East and Africa have ended up in the hands of radical Islamic terrorists who are enemies of the U.S. His drone wars have illegally violated the sovereignty of other nations. His foreign policy has contributed to the failed nation states of both Libya and Syria…and now he wants Americans to vote for Hillary Clinton to continue his legacy. What legacy we ask? His whole tenure as president of the U.S. has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster. The best we, as Americans, can hope for now is that he quietly leaves office without creating any more disasters, or international incidents and that the toxicity of his legacy as president of the U.S. is expunged from the history books so we won’t have to explain America’s decline from the Bushes, the Clintons, and by him to our posterity.
Merkel regrets migrant policy: Following a devastating defeat in Berlin state elections today, Mrs. Merkel said she accepted her share of responsibility for voters punishing her ruling Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party for her refugee-friendly migrant policy. Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, she said: “If I could, I would turn back the time by many, many years.” The German premier admitted she could have been better prepared for the influx of migrants last year. She added if she knew how people wanted her to change her migrant policy she would consider it. And she admitted Germany had not been “world champions” in integrating migrants in the past, saying it would take time to integrate them. Monday’s defeat is the second in two weeks, with the Chancellor being defeated in her own constituency in the state of Mecklenburg-Western-Pomerania.
Attacks by migrants and clashes with Germans have plagued the country over the past year as they struggle to cope with the numbers unprecedented in modern times. Sounding particularly conciliatory, Mrs. Merkel added that if the wish of the German people was for the country not to be swamped with uncontrolled and unregulated migration “then that is exactly what I am fighting for.” Right-wing party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), made big gains during the weekend’s state elections as Germans reacted to Mrs. Merkel’s policy. The German Chancellor said her party needed to reach out to AfD supporters and she is still motivated to lead the country and her party. Commenting on a recent poll showing 82 percent of voters wanted a change in her migrant policy, she added: “If I knew what change in policy people wanted, I would be ready to consider it and to talk about it.” –Express
Commentary: So let’s try and understand this, Angela Merkel is now willing to admit she would turn back the clock and redo things on her immigration policy, not after the shocking loss of life of German citizens but because her Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) party was decimated in a recent election. Are these maniacal egotistical politicians even human anymore? Only when they perceive there is a threat to their power, are they jolted back to the real world where you and I live in. This is one more horrendous example that shows you just how out of touch these politicians have become with both their constituency and reality.