jeffpickering12

Major General Douglas Stone’s Policy that Changed Gitmo

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2009 at 11:29 PM

My friend Brandon, attended S.C.O.N.A. (Student Conference on National Affairs) here at our school, Texas A&M University. The following is what Brandon learned. It’s interesting and I feel it important enough to share, so enjoy…

The theme of this years conference was U.S. Intervention in Problematic Areas around the World. Brandon heard a speech by Major General Douglas Stone of the Marine Corps. Major Gen. Stone serves as the head of the Marine Corps Reserve and the Marine Corps North. In his speech, Stone talked a lot about his time at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.

Stone spoke to a room of approximately 150 people with about 75% being members of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, a majority military crowd.

When Major Gen. Stone was assigned to Guantanamo, he realized he needed to establish credibility among the Muslim detainees. So he studied Islam. Stone has read the Koran and various other holy books of the Islam faith from cover to cover. In his speech he discussed how the common conception of Islam today is not the real Islam. From his studies, extremism is not what being a Muslim is all about. Nowhere in the Koran is there anything about killing infidels.

He then spoke about the “two phases of Guantanamo” There was the “before Gen. Stone” and “after Gen. Stone” He was very confident that the Detention Center genuinely changed after they implanted a new policy.

The new policy was, instead of interrogating/torturing, they decided to  listen to & then educate the detainees. They gave all the prisoners a copy of the Koran and once they convinced them it was not changed for an American perspective, the detainees accepted the books. They taught the prisoners the truth about what their faith was actually about.

Our brave men and women of the Marine Corps then turned this failure of a dentention center into a facility as nice as any normal American prison… with bonuses. The detainees were allowed to play and interact, attend daily classes, and eat good food. Our military then began to bring in the prisoners families from the middle east.

One cool story Brandon heard, then passed onto me was that of Gen. Petraeus’ visit to the facility. A person in the Middle East is brought up to hate the U.S. President and General David Petraeus; he is the one guy they would love to kill. Well, Major Gen. Stone decided to bring him in to Gitmo and introduce him to all the detainees. So Petraeus came and interacted with everybody. He sat with them and learned with them Then at the end of the day, the prisoners began chanting his name, “Petraeus! Petraeus! Petraeus!”

Now here is my friend Brandon’s perspective… “A lot of people might think that Major Gen. Douglas Stone came and simply fabricated all of this with the intent of improving public opinion. But my question is, why would a United States Major General tell a blatant lie to an audience full of this country’s future military?”

The following are my thoughts on all of this…

Yes, Guantanamo has improved. And Yes, I still believe it should be shut down.

Sometimes in order to change the overall direction of a policy you have to take big steps. Closing Guantanamo is a big step toward our new direction for defeating terrorism. I believe that even though it isn’t as bad as it was, America will be better off once it’s closed.

We must learn this lesson… The United States of America is and always will be amendable. If our government is functioning well, “We the people…” must work to make it better. If our government is functioning unconstitutionally or poorly, “We the people…” must work to make it better. Circumstance should make no difference in our desire to work and make America better.

So may we continue the virtuous work of ending abortion, bringing Africa to it’s full potential through continuing creative aid, and guiding Guantanamo Bay detention center to it’s end.

May “We the people…” stand for human rights no matter how young or old, location or circumstance.

May we all be eagerly ready and vigorously involved in the hope that transcends generations; the hope that is God blessing America.

Prustice.

The Resurrection of Military Tribunals

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2009 at 8:21 PM

Senator Barack Obama critized Military Tribunals. Prustice.

Now, unfortunately, rumors have it that President Barack Obama is considering bringing them back.

This Saturday, Fox News reported that the White House is now looking at the possibility of reviving the Military Tribunals to try some of the most dangerous detained at Guantanamo. Just to clear up any confusion, the Detention Center is still being shut down. It’s closure was secured by one of the President’s first Executive Orders. That’s not changing.

Now one of my (and Sen. Obama’s) biggest problems with Gitmo was former President Bush’s decision to use these unconstitutional, un-American Military Tribunals. (Go back and read The W. Presidency: What Bush Did Wrong)

Mitt Romney commented on all of this, “President Obama is learning, now in office, a number of things he campaigned for is wrong.”

Apparently President Obama, after reviewing the files, thinks M.T.’s might make sense. He is worried that those accused of September 11th could have an easier case if they were tried in courts outside of Guantanamo’s M.Ts. Our Attorney General, Eric Holder has openly said all of this.

I believe that former President Bush’s Military Tribunals were flawed and an enormous failure. I hope I don’t have to say the same thing when Mr. Obama is a former President himself.

We must trust our values.

Gitmo Going Across the Pond?

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2009 at 12:09 PM

“The story of the last half-century is one of each side of the Atlantic turning to the other for help in times of need, and today is no different,” says U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder as he reasoned his plea for Europe’s aid in the shut down of Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.

Mr. Holder’s speech was given at the American Academy in Berlin Wednesday night. It was there that he announced that the Obama administration have deemed 30 detainees, out of the 241, ready to be released.

Continuing his rationalization, the Attorney General said, “I know that Europe did not open Guantanamo, and that in fact a great many on this continent opposed it. To close Guantanamo, we must all make sacrifices and we must all be willing to make unpopular choices.”

According to the AP Newswire… Germany’s former justice minister, Herta Daubler-Gmelin, said she expected Germany would eventually be one of the countries that accepts Guantanamo detainees. French President Nicolas Sarkozy already has made what was seen as a symbolic gesture of agreeing to take one Guantanamo detainee. (one detainee… I find that funny) Several other European nations, including Portugal and Lithuania, have said they will consider taking such detainees.

This speech, being in front of a select group of about 100 policy experts, academics and journalists, could generate large amounts of influential talk because these are the people who spend their lives talking, spreading information and guiding opinions. Once the doors in Cuba close, we’re going to need help. Let’s hope this works.

AP Newswire Link: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_HOLDER_GUANTANAMO?SITE=DCSAS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2009-04-29-11-36-36

To view Mr. Holder’s entire speech: http://www.americanacademy.de/home/must-views/audiovideo-archive/video/268//us_attorney_general_eric_holder/