First Commanding Officer of Guantanamo Statement on Sixteenth Anniversary

Washington, D.C.Sixteen years ago today twenty prisoners were sent to the  Guantanamo Bay detention facility. To mark this anniversary, Major General Michael Lehnert—the first commanding general of Guantanamo—released the following statement:

“As we reflect on the legacy of Guantanamo Bay, I urge our leaders to recognize the tragic shortfalls of Guantanamo and the torture and lawlessness its operation fostered, and to resolve to never again allow our great nation to be tarnished by illegal and inhumane acts. We must recommit ourselves to fighting terrorism while upholding American ideals, as it is both a moral and national security imperative.

If President Trump truly wants to be tough on terrorism suspects, Guantanamo Bay is not the answer. Thankfully, the president heeded the calls of national security and military leaders in November when deciding to indict the perpetrator of New York’s tragic attack in federal court. Federal courts provide swift justice for victims, families, and loved ones. Guantanamo does nothing but embolden our enemies and undermine the United States’ moral leadership.”


Published on January 11, 2018


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