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Marine Major General Michael Lehnert. (AFP Photo / Peter Muhly)
The American general in charge of opening the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba has come out in favor of closing the facility, declaring, “the entire detention and interrogation strategy was wrong.”
Writing in the Detroit Free Press, Marine Major General Michael Lehnert stated the time has come to close Guantanamo, and that the prison “should never have been opened.”
Lehnert was the leader of the 2002 Joint Task Force charged with constructing a prison in Guantanamo Bay. He said the facility was created out of fear caused by the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, when the U.S. believed those detained would offer a “treasure trove” if intelligence.
Soon after Guantanamo opened, however, Lehnert decided the operation was a mistake. Most of the individuals captured did not have much information, he said, nor was there adequate evidence connecting them to war crimes.
“We squandered the goodwill of the world after we were attacked by our actions in Guantanamo, both in terms of detention and torture,” Lehnert wrote in his column. “Our decision to keep Guantanamo open has helped our enemies because it validates every negative perception of the United States.”
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