A group of retired Admirals and Generals responded last week to a recent attempt in Congress to block the Obama Administration from bringing Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States for trial in federal courts. The group of retired military leaders stood firmly against this or any similar measure, urging Senate leaders to oppose any provision aimed at blocking the closure of Guantanamo. The Senate is expected to consider the House provision this week.
The House of Representatives included the provision in the 2011 spending bill that would bar the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States for any purpose, including prosecution. In a letter sent to Democrats in the Senate, the group of 17 military leaders urged the Senators to ensure that such reckless language would not be included in the Senate’s forthcoming spending bill. “We urge you to oppose any restrictions proposed for inclusion in the fiscal year 2011 funding bill that would put politics before American values and national security and hinder the President from bringing suspected terrorists to justice,” they wrote.
See the full letter below.
December 10, 2010
As retired generals and admirals in the Armed Forces of the United States, we urge you to oppose any provision proposed for inclusion in the funding bill for fiscal year 2011 that would obstruct the responsible closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility or the prosecution of suspected terrorists in U.S. civilian courts.
We are alarmed by section 1116 of H.R. 3082, the House version of the continuing resolution for fiscal year 2011, which would prevent the Department of Defense from using funds authorized in the bill to transfer Guantánamo detainees to the United States for any reason, including criminal trial. This provision threatens to tie the President’s hands and restrict his use of perhaps the most effective counterterrorism tool in his toolbox—the American criminal justice system. Federal civilian courts have convicted 400 terrorists since 9/11. Military commissions have convicted only five.
By trying terrorist suspects in civilian courts we deprive them of the warrior status they crave and treat them as the criminals and thugs they are. As long as Guantánamo is open it offers America’s enemies a propaganda tool that is being used effectively to recruit others to their cause and undermines U.S. efforts to win support in the communities where our troops most need local cooperation to succeed.
We urge you to oppose any restrictions proposed for inclusion in the fiscal year 2011 funding bill that would put politics before American values and national security and hinder the President from bringing suspected terrorists to justice.
General Joseph Hoar, USMC (Ret.)
General Charles Krulak, USMC (Ret.)
General David M. Maddox, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)
Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA (Ret.)
Major General William L. Nash, USA (Ret.)
Major General Walter L. Stewart, Jr. USA (Ret.)
Rear Admiral Don Guter, USN (Ret.)
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, USN (Ret.)
Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Gerry Galloway, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General David Irvine, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General John H. Johns, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Murray G. Sagsveen, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, USA (Ret.)