I applaud the decision made by Marine Gen. John Kelly, outgoing Southcom commander, to revise and update the rules governing the visit of members of the media to Joint Task Force Guantánamo as reported in the Dec. 18 article U.S. military limits media access to Guantánamo prison.
Having served as a publica-ffairs officer with the task force, I can attest to the general’s rationale when he explains that the weekly media visits place a strain on the task force’s service members and their limited resources, in addition to providing an unnecessary distraction from their already difficult and sensitive mission.
Clarifying the parameters for interactions between members of the media and task-force service members should help eliminate the type of abusive conduct the general referred to.
Having experienced and witnessed first-hand the less than professional attitude exhibited by some journalists who visit Guantánamo regularly, I have nothing but praise for Kelly’s decision to stand up for the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and coast guard members who serve in the task force.
This new policy certainly sends a strong message of support to service members currently tasked with guarding some of America’s most dangerous enemies, and to those who will be relieving them in the future.