When Obama occupied the Oval Office, he promised to close the military detention center at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Americans didn’t need the place to house the worst of the worst he argued. In 2009, the president even signed an order to close “GITMO.” While its still open, Obama still wants it closed. One of the big arguments is that complaining about GITMO is a big recruiting tool for the terrorists. But wait. The latest research suggests that may not be true.
Cody Poplin and Sebastian Brady on the blog Lawfare offer a rundown of what the terrorist media is whining about. Guess what? While GITMO doesn’t show up infrequently in English-language posts from the likes of al Qaeda and ISIS, they found that “other issues and grievances seemingly receive much more airtime and emphasis than the detention camp does; and Guantanamo, when mentioned, is often lumped in with other controversial facilities—like Bagram and Abu Ghraib.”
The bottom line, they argue, is that “it is hardly clear that Guantanamo’s closure would matter much, so far as concerns the contents of jihadist propaganda.”
On the other hand, there are plenty of complaints that the White House has utterly failed to counter the spread of al Qaeda and ISIS propaganda.
There is a big disconnect here from what the president’s says is important and what’s happening on the ground in the fight against transnational terrorism.