MY SAY: A misleading and one-sided "report" from a Muslim perspective courtesy of .@Georgetown believe it or not.
Here is my email to the Project:
Dear Mr. Esposito and Colleagues,
I read your "report" on Guantanamo Bay. I found it incomplete and misleading, although many facts you present are correct.
To suggest that "boys and men" were incarcerated there is misleading. Very few if any minors were ever in Guantanamo. I witnessed nearly all of the second wave of detainees brought to then Camp X-Ray in early 2002, and the lowest age I remember being mentioned but not confirmed was 14. You list the youngest at 15. I also met a young man who claimed to be 17 upon entry. These are not "boys." These are young men, responsible for their thoughts and actions.
You claim "comprehensive" information about the US military detention facility (not "prison") at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, yet I read not one mention of the joint US military task force deployed there for the care and treatment of detained unlawful combatants, who were treated with dignity and respect, their wounds of war treated and their broken bodies healed.
Only a handful of the "worst of the worst" were ever waterboarded, which yielded critical information that saved many lives, according to George W. Bush in his memoir, "Decision Points."
In fact, DoD personnel, military and civilian were never trained in nor performed Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) on detainees. Only the CIA were trained in or performed EIT.
In the beginning, January 2002, the military mission was split into two purposes, the detention operation (Joint Task Force 160), and the intelligence mission (Joint Task Force 170).
Later in 2002, the task forces were joined into the current Task Force Guantanamo (GTMO).
I was attached to JTF 160, Joint Detainee Operations Group (JDOG) as the ranking US Army Medical Department Officer in charge of detainee and US personnel medical, preventive medical and environmental services.
I observed all detainee incoming from the airport to the inprocessing, to their cells. I also observed every transfer of detainees from Camp X-Ray to the new Camp Delta in April of 2002. All accomplished humanely, with dignity and respect, at least US personnel to detainee. Many of the detainees threw Gitmo cocktails of human bodily fluids onto guards, insulted them, threatened them and their families - frequently.
Even still, over 731 detainees were RELEASED, and NONE were beheaded, executed, blown up, hacked to death, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, drowned or burned alive. All things our enemies did to US and/or our allies. There is no moral comparison between Gitmo and how our enemies treat their captives.
Detainees at Gitmo received FREE Qurans, prayer rugs/beads, white robes, beards, halal and special Muslim holy holiday meals including baklava and lamb, services of US military Muslim chaplains, directions to Mecca on cell floors and guard towers, world class health, dental and vision care, recreation, library, books, TV, DVDs, computer games, sports and MORE.
I was involved with the very first repatriation mission from Gitmo of a schizophrenic former heroin addict. The detainee was diagnosed, his story vetted, and then he was released back to Afghanistan where he was treated for his illnesses. This scenario was repeated over and over again 731 times; vetting and then repatriation.
You mention detainees were held without charge or trial, but fail to mention that the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare do not require charges or trials for even lawful combatant POWs, who may be lawfully held without charge or trial "until the end of hostilities."
Although not entitled to the protections of Geneva, unlawful combatant Islamist detainees were treated within the spirit of Geneva. Quite frankly, US troops are not taught how NOT to treat detainees any other way - to the standard of treating captives as if they were US personnel, and with dignity and respect.
Those of us who worked at Gitmo and are serving there today take great pride in how we performed our duties, which I describe in my memoir, "Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay," an emotional trainwreck.
Yes, we the guards and caretakers have feelings and standards of humanity which you fail to even look at.
There is a whole other side to Gitmo you refuse to acknowledge because it does not play into your narrative of "US bad and evil, accused terrorists good and victims."
No mention of the atrocities of 9/11/2001, which changed my life forever.
Very little mention of the International Committee of the Red Cross or the empathic US and international mainstream media, who fed into the myths of abuse and torture that just never took place.
I worked closely with ICRC physicians, who told me, unsolicited, that "No one does [detention operations] better than the US," both at Gitmo and later in Iraq, when I performed similar duties there. The ICRC were given carte blanch access to detainees, their living quarters, medical, interrogation and other access. We worked beside them, listened to their comments and suggestions and were dedicated to improving the mission daily.
Was there abuse at Gitmo? Yes, but it was minor abuse and dealt with swiftly and severely. Offending military personnel were sent home, demoted, disciplined harshly as examples to the rest that anything but exemplary behavior towards the detainees would not be accepted.
99.9 percent of all those who worked at Gitmo were the finest, most dedicated, honorable and professional military personnel one could find. Leaders were demanding and by-the-book." It was one of the most disciplined operations I have ever been a part of.
Perhaps you might be interested in a real comprehensive project? Perhaps you would like to speak with me and more of the dedicated US personnel who served there? Remember, there are three sides to every story. Yours, mine and the truth.