Bush to keep Gitmo jail open if elected

Kuwait Times - - INTERNAT IONAL -


Carolina: Repub­li­can Jeb Bush was to pledge yes­ter­day that if elected pres­i­dent next year he will keep open the dis­puted US mil­i­tary prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as long as the fight against Is­lamic mil­i­tants lasts. Bush, look­ing to show he is ca­pa­ble of be­ing com­man­der in chief in the face of mul­ti­ple threats abroad, will lay out a na­tional se­cu­rity strat­egy in a speech that he re­tooled in or­der to take ac­count of the Paris at­tacks that killed 129 peo­ple last Fri­day.


The Bush cam­paign pro­vided de­tails of his plan in ad­vance of the speech at The Citadel, a mil­i­tary col­lege in Charleston. “This bru­tal sav­agery is a re­minder of what is at stake in this elec­tion. We are choos­ing the leader of the free world,” he will say, ac­cord­ing to ex­cerpts re­leased early yes­ter­day. Bush was to vow to re­store $1 tril­lion in cuts to the US mil­i­tary that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama agreed to as part of a bud­get-cut­ting deal with Congress, which in the ex­cerpts Bush la­bels “com­pletely ar­bi­trary”. He also would add 40,000 per­son­nel to the US Army and 4,000 to the US Marines, and would bol­ster US re­la­tions with key al­lies from NATO na­tions to the Mid­dle East and Asia.

To counter Is­lamic State mil­i­tants specif­i­cally, Bush would em­bed US spe­cial oper­a­tions forces with Iraqi forces to help iden­tify enemy tar­gets. He would build an anti-mil­i­tant in­ter­na­tional coali­tion and in­clude re­gional part­ners. He is not call­ing for a mas­sive rein­tro­duc­tion of US troops to Iraq. Ac­cord­ing to the ex­cerpts, Bush traces the roots of the cur­rent Mid­dle East cri­sis to “the un­der­ly­ing con­flicts in Syria and Iraq,” which he says spi­raled out of con­trol as Demo­cratic Pres­i­dent Obama and Hil­lary Clin­ton, then sec­re­tary of state and now a Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, failed to act.

Iraq is a sen­si­tive sub­ject for Bush, given the dis­may some Amer­i­cans feel over the ra­tio­nale for the 2003 US-led in­va­sion of Iraq or­dered by his brother, for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W Bush. Bush’s plan to counter Is­lamic State in­cludes a pro­vi­sion that if elected in Nov 2016, he would main­tain the Guantanamo prison that his brother used to house ter­ror­ism sus­pects and which Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is try­ing to close by the time he leaves of­fice in Jan 2017. — Reuters

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