The CIA has conducted 355 drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions since the targeted killing program began there in 2004. The vast majority of these -- 307 to be precise -- were carried out under Obama.
Even if you take the most conservative estimate of the numbers of people the Obama administration has killed in drone strikes in Pakistan, 1,600, that is around twice the total number of prisoners that Bush sent to Guantanamo.
7. Many of the Guantanamo detainees who have been released return to the battlefield.
The U.S. government claims that 27% of those released from Guantanamo are suspected or confirmed to have taken up arms. For security reasons the government hasn't released the names of these men since 2009, but a review of the public record suggests that number is quite inflated.
According to a review by the New America Foundation of news articles, Pentagon reports, and other relevant documents, of the 603 detainees who have been released from the prison, only 17 individuals (2.8%) are confirmed to have engaged in terrorist or insurgent activities against the United States or its citizens, while 21 individuals (3.5%) are suspected of engaging in such activities.
8. The detainees still held at Guantanamo are too dangerous to release.
Some undoubtedly are, such as the operational commander of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But contrary to the fulminations of officials such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina -- who said last year that Guantanamo detainees are "crazy bastards that want to kill us all" -- half of the men still held at the prison camp were cleared for release three years ago by a task force of Department of Justice and Pentagon officials.
To be exact, 86 of the 166 men still imprisoned at Guantanamo were either found to be guilty of nothing, or were low-level fighters who could be repatriated subject to some continued monitoring by their home country's government.
9. There are no benefits for the U.S. to release additional prisoners from Guantanamo.
Obama correctly said of Guantanamo in April, "It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed."
The cost per year to keep one prisoner at Guantanamo is estimated to be $800,000, more than 30 times the cost of keeping a prisoner in a jail in the United States. And the Pentagon is asking Congress to approve a $200 million renovation plan for the prison.
The prisoners at Guantanamo have also featured frequently in jihadist propaganda, making it a recruitment tool for would-be al Qaeda members.
There is also a way forward through Guantanamo to obtaining some kind of peace deal with the Taliban. As a "confidence-building measure" for peace negotiations, theTaliban have agreed to release the only U.S. prisoner of war, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in exchange for a handful of senior Taliban figures being held at Guantanamo, who would then be held under some form of house arrest in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. This deal is a precondition for continuing serious peace talks with the Taliban.
The 27-year-old soldier has been in captivity since the Taliban seized him on June 30, 2009.
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