Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

What You Don’t Know About Guantanamo Bay—And What the MSM Won’t Tell You - (true story!)

Posted on 07/12/2005 2:08:20 PM PDT by CHARLITE

It is perhaps not as widely known as it ought to be—in light of the hyperventilating criticism of our alleged treatment of detainees at the U.S. military’s detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—that there has never been a single death recorded at the center known by the military as “GTMO” (pronounced gitmo).

It is perhaps also not as widely known that many of the detainees at GTMO do not complain of their treatment. In fact, many detainees report that conditions at GTMO are better than those they suffered fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq prior to their being captured: at GTMO they are guaranteed three squares a day and time to pray. On the battlefield, of course, such luxuries cannot always be afforded to the “enemy combatant.”

Be that as it may, this story is about an incident that took place at GTMO that, so far as I’ve been able to discover, went completely uncovered in the Mainstream Press.

There are reasons for this, of course. One is that MSM is not interested, in many cases, in the presentation of news that shows the U.S. military or its coalition partners in a favorable light. I do not think that the majority of members of the press are anti-American, per se, but that journalism in the United States, and in Europe, at least since the late 1960’s, is such that journalists cut their teeth in a culture that teaches them that the effort to appear unbiased is most easily won by overcompensating in criticism of the “home team”—whoever that might be. We do not expect our sports writers to be unbiased, so they do not suffer from this essentially immature method of appearing balanced. In news, however, we demand it—and the easiest way to appear balanced is to root for the underdog. Hence, Western journalism vilifies routinely the efforts of the United States and the UK and all of the Western powers standing between civilization and Islamo-fascism and simultaneously praises Palestinian terrorists as “victims” of the “aggressor” Israel—whose defensive wall is seen by the effete and the elite liberals in the West as too symbolically offensive to be tolerated.

This is a long way to say that cultures have a way of being blind to their own biases and the culture of journalism is no different.

Be that as it may, an incident at GTMO deserves attention in the interest of true balance.

On May 29th of this year, Navy Lt. Robert McGill witnessed an attack by one detainee at GTMO upon another in the recreation area in Camp One—of which area, Lt. McGill is in charge. Normal protocol in such a situation is that Lt. McGill call in what is essentially a prison “SWAT” Team to perform an extraction. The procedure is one used at many prisons in the U.S. and around the world, whereby guards are marshaled in protective gear and oftentimes with shields, gloves, and masks to move into an area, overwhelm a prisoner, and remove him or her from danger to others and to themselves. The procedure is calculated to avoid injury to prisoners and to personnel who must engage them in such instances.

The situation on May 29th, however, was extreme enough that Lt. McGill decided in the moment that the best course of action would be to order those guards with him to enter the cell to separate the two detainees and remove the injured one.

He ordered this to be done and the order was carried out.

The result was that the attacking detainee was successfully subdued and the injured detainee was removed from the area and given immediate medical attention for injuries severe enough that it was determined later that a). had Lt. McGill and those in his command not have acted the detainee most likely would have died and b). the attacking detainee was intent upon killing the man he attacked.

By his actions and by those in his command, then, Lt. McGill accomplished two extraordinary things: he prevented a murder and saved a life.

For his quick thinking and meritorious action, Lt. McGill recently received a Joint Service Achievement Medal.

In speaking of the incident, Lt. McGill was quoted as saying “I really don’t feel I did a heroic act, actually. To me, I did what anyone else would have done. The guys who actually followed the orders I gave are probably more deserving of [an] award than me. They knew it to be an unsafe situation, and they followed my orders anyway. So I think they deserve more credit.”

In his humility, Lt. McGill rightly characterizes those in his command who followed his orders as heroic and they are to be praised.

But too often, our soldiers are vilified for “following orders” and we tend to forget that our seamen, our airmen, our soldiers, guardsmen, and marines are all trained to perform heroic actions by following the orders of one who has been given the authority to make the right decision at the right time. Certainly the press is right to publicize those moments when the wrong decision is made and wrong actions lead to injustice or worse. But what of the countless right decisions that are made on a daily basis in the Global War on Terror? What of the Lt. McGills—who faithfully and fully discharge their duties under the weight of a code of honor that is routinely ignored by our enemies?

Lt. McGill exemplifies, then, what is best in our military men and women and especially in those who are put in positions of deciding what it is our fighting men and women are to do—whether it be in the field of battle, on our bases, or in a detention center like GTMO.

And, in the end, he also exemplifies what is best about Americans and our coalition partners—who, in the Global War on Terror routinely extend rights to enemy combatants who themselves fail either to recognize or to extend those rights to their very own.

When asked what advice he might give to others given what he has learned as a Warden at GTMO, Lt. McGill said “Decisions are sometimes hard to make, even though we have excellent . . . Standard Operating Procedures . . . Sometimes you have to think outside the box. You have to use your head and think with your heart and decide what the right thing to do is. Always do the right thing, that is what is most important.”

This bears repeating: "Always do the right thing, that is what is most important."

It also bears mentioning, by way of full disclosure, that Lt. McGill is a good friend of mine. I learned of the May 29th incident in one of my monthly conversations with his wife, Sue, who resides with their three children—alone—while Lt. McGill does the duty to which he and his family committed long before 9/11.

I mention this last only to say that it is a distinct honor and privilege to call not only Lt. Robert McGill my friend, but also to take this occasion to say publicly how much I admire his wife and their families—and the spouses and families of all of our military personnel—for the sacrifices they have endured to insure our freedom and security.

To my mind, it is the Lt. McGills of the world that exemplify what is best in all of us and I hope that his example inspires not only our military, but our civilians to redouble their efforts in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

Author's Note: The quotes from Lt. Robert McGill in this article appeared originally in an article by Spc. Jeshua Nace (JTF-GTMO Public Affairs Office) called "15 Minutes of Fame with Robert McGill."

About the Writer: Gregory Borse holds a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, and an MA and BA from the University of Dallas. Dr. Borse, a family man with "a beautiful wife and four beautiful children," enjoys writing, current events, media, politics, and disc golf. He is Assistant Editor at Gregory receives e-mail at

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: camp; center; detainees; detention; facility; gitmo; gtmo; guantanamo; ltrobertmcgill; treatment; usmilitary; warden

1 posted on 07/12/2005 2:08:21 PM PDT by CHARLITE
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]


That's why they say more people have died in Ted Kennedy's car than at Gitmo.

2 posted on 07/12/2005 2:17:11 PM PDT by somemoreequalthanothers
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]



3 posted on 07/12/2005 2:19:02 PM PDT by EdReform (Free Republic - helping to keep our country a free republic. Thank you for your financial support!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]



4 posted on 07/12/2005 2:23:28 PM PDT by The SISU kid (I ain't as good as I once was, But I'm as good, once, as I ever was)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


Hold it! Wasn't there a Tom Cruise and Jack Nickelson movie about a trial for the death of a Marine at GTMO?? 'A Few Good Scientologists'? You mean that was made up story ant not 100% true like his film about the college wannabe turned pimp, or fighter jock going head to head with MiGs, or Civil War vet becomming a Samuri, or dock worker battling aleins?

5 posted on 07/12/2005 2:26:45 PM PDT by pikachu (What if there were no more hypothetical questions?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson