Friday, June 24, 2005

the real getmo

Sunday, 06/19/05

Up close, these are the nastiest of prisoners

John Krenson is a deacon at The Cathedral in Nashville.

He is married and is raising two small children.

And he loves his country and state so much that he volunteered 19 years ago to serve in the Tennessee Army National Guard. There, he has risen to the rank of major and returned from a year in Afghanistan.

And as an intelligence specialist, he came face to face with the kind of men incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay.

This weekend, the big news media outlets will continue to beat the drum over Gitmo and seek out more congressmen and women to say the facility should be closed. More critics will be given a forum to call Gitmo "a gulag" even though that definition requires thousands to be killed. And comments by Illinois' Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin — comparing our soldiers at Gitmo to Nazis — will be amplified.

Yet someone such as Krenson will not have a broad forum to tell the truth about the war on terror, the circumstances in Afghanistan from which these terrorists came and to defend the good name of our men and women in uniform.

"I worked with people who had worked at Gitmo earlier, I worked with people who worked at the primary detention facility in AFG, and I visited that facility many times. I saw detainees (many times on their prayer rugs, other times reading, other times talking when they were not allowed to). I saw the interrogation rooms. I worked with the soldiers and the leaders who ran this place.

"I know those operations fairly well, and I got to know the people who ran those operations — both active duty and reservists. They are normal Americans. They are good decent people who believed in what they were doing. Americans — including Sen. Durbin — can be and should be proud of them.

"Be assured the worst of the worst detainees are the ones at Gitmo. It took a lot of effort to get a detainee shipped over … . They are no victims. … Their victims are most often Afghan villagers who have risked their lives simply to vote or are construction and aid workers from around the world who are assisting Afghanistan to modernize and develop. The detainees at Gitmo are the ringleaders and verified trigger-pullers in these incidents.

"This is serious business with tens and hundreds of thousands of lives at stake. People have already lost lives because we've released Gitmo detainees. I read those reports, when they were captured — a second time. I can't print the words we used in AFG when we found out a soldier died at the hands of a terrorist released from Gitmo. Gitmo didn't make them want to kill again. Their release allowed them to kill again."

In the war on terror, information saves more lives than tanks. Krenson said he just helped brief 100 Tennessee Guardsmen who will be advisers and trainers to the Afghan National Army throughout Afghanistan and be a big part of election security for upcoming parliamentary elections.

"I saw their bus pull out when they left their families behind, and it took me back to that day when I boarded a bus to leave my family. This time, I knew where those guys were going and what they would be doing. I was proud of them. They are us. These men on that bus were local business owners, school teachers, neighbors, you name it."

Gitmo terrorists want these Guardsmen stopped before more democracy takes root. And their compatriots who are still free would like to kill these Guardsmen without adhering to Geneva Convention rules for combatants to identify themselves and not target civilians. Information from Gitmo terrorists who know these compatriots and their organizations can prevent more deaths.

Americans trust our military to do the right thing — at Gitmo or wherever — in balancing the need for information and also be humane. A recent Gallup poll showed 74% of Americans surveyed expressed trust in the military. That's because the military is us. And more John Krensons returning home alive as deacons in their churches, fathers in their families and heroes in their communities is most important — not the political agendas of U.S. senators and big media. •



Blogger yochanan said...

This is what you will not hear about in liberal blogs or the t.v. not mention dicky durbin

4:27 PM  

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