National Security Network

Guantanamo

Guantanamo

Military

NSN Daily Update: Ten Years is Enough: National Security Leaders on Guantanamo

Report 9 January 2012
Ten years after the opening of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, political debate rages on. But the military who run it and security officials who tracked its inmates have a surprisingly united view: the facility should be closed and as many of its inmates as possible tried in U.S. courts.  With David Petraeus pointing out that "the enemy continues to beat you with them [Guantanamo conditions] like a stick," and retired officers from four-star Marine generals to the prison's first warden calling for it to be closed, it is time for Congress and the administration to work together to craft a solution based on effective counterterrorism, not fear-mongering. 
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Diplomacy

Misleading from South Carolina

Report 14 November 2011
As Republican candidates for president debated foreign policy in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) laid down lines of attack in the conservative National Review. Many of his attacks were echoed on Saturday by the candidates, who used the piece as a sort of playbook to fill in for a lack of experience and ideas in the field. Missing, in the debate and the article, was strategic thinking - China, for example, is mentioned only once in the piece, in relation to sanctions on Iran - as well as an understanding of the connection between the foundations of our strength at home and our power abroad. Also missing was awareness of how extreme conservative views clash with the advice of military leaders and nonpartisan national security experts. When Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), for example, was asked about her support for torture techniques that our military opposes, she said: "I'm on the same side as Vice President Cheney on this issue" and against Colin Powell and John McCain. Below, NSN explores how the topics covered in Graham's article stack up against expert advice. Graham's words are in italics.
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Terrorism & National Security

How We Got Him

Report 4 May 2011

The story we know so far of Osama bin Laden's tracking and killing reflects success in intelligence reform, interagency coordination and old-fashioned intelligence-gathering.  Well-informed sources from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to former Guantanamo interrogators to the White House have insisted that information gleaned from "advanced interrogation techniques" - or torture - played little or no role, or was actually counter-productive by generating false leads. National security and military leaders have long argued that torture is not only an ineffective tool for extracting information, but it is also harmful overall to counterterrorism efforts. In fact, experts have made clear in recent days that the information that led to bin Laden's whereabouts was the result of years of hard work and deep investigation. As Graham said, "I do not believe this is a time to celebrate waterboarding, I believe this is a time to celebrate hard work." 

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Diplomacy

Advancing a Principled American Foreign Policy

Report 14 December 2009
The Obama administration has made it clear that in order to successfully advance American security and interests in the world, U.S. foreign policy must be grounded in America’s best principles. This is a positive break from the previous Bush administration, which too often defined American principles as values to be put to the side in the pursuit of a narrowly defined set of ambitions that often undermined American security.
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Terrorism & National Security

Bringing Terrorists to Justice

Report 4 November 2009
Since 9/11, American courts have convicted and imprisoned nearly 200 terrorists. In the same time period, the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has convicted only three detainees, while undermining the international respect and partnership we need to fight terrorism around the world. By closing Guantanamo and bringing terror suspects held there to America for prosecution, the Obama administration is attempting to succeed where the Bush administration largely failed: bring prosecutable detainees held at Guantanamo to justice. America’s justice system has a long history of successfully holding and trying terrorist suspects. From the mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack to Zacarias Moussaoui—the “20th Hijacker”—to the shoe-bomber Richard Reid, our prison and court systems have a long track record of keeping our communities safe while bringing dangerous terrorists to justice. The Obama administration is applying the same record of success to detainees held at Guantanamo. Today more than 120 national security and political leaders, from retired generals and former prosecutors to GOP strategist Grover Norquist, released a letter supporting this approach – because it will not only bring terrorists to justice, but also make America safer.
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Terrorism & National Security

Administration’s Vigilance Against Terrorism Makes America Safer

Report 6 October 2009
Today President Obama will visit the National Counterterrorism Center to review its operations, especially in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region. While much of the attention of the media and the public has been devoted to issues such as health care, the economy, dealings with Iran, and the war in Afghanistan, the Obama administration has maintained its vigilance in the struggle against transnational terrorism. The President’s approach to counterterrorism has made America safer and significantly weakened terrorist groups like al-Qaeda.
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Diplomacy

"Frenemies" not Enough for U.S. and Germany

Report 5 June 2009
As President Obama stops in Germany briefly before heading to France for commemorations of the 65th anniversary of D-Day, all is not well in the U.S.-German relationship. Even as Obama is tremendously popular personally in Europe, there are indications that diplomatic missteps in both Washington and Berlin, as well as frustration over policy differences on the economic crisis and Afghanistan, have led to tension in the U.S.-German relationship.
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Terrorism & National Security

Guantanamo Makes Us Weaker and Must Be Closed

Report 21 May 2009
Today President Obama spoke at the National Archives where, surrounded by the documents that contain the principles that founded America, he confirmed the need for America to return to these principles and values by closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
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Diplomacy

The Conservative Party: Like It's 1999

Report 11 May 2009
After eight years of reckless saber-rattling and an almost exclusive focus on the military – conservatives still oppose reasonable and tough diplomacy.
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