Bush to keep Gitmo jail open if elected
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