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Pentagon Fires Gitmo Commander

John Ring is out soon after hosting controversial media visit at Guantanamo
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2019 10:20 AM CDT
US Navy Rear Adm. John Ring won't finish his stint as commander at Gitmo.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

(Newser) – Gitmo is getting a new commander, earlier than expected. The Pentagon has fired Navy Rear Adm. John Ring, citing a "loss of confidence in his ability" to lead, reports the New York Times. Ring had been scheduled to rotate out of the job anyway in June, but he already has been reassigned elsewhere. Defense officials aren't providing specifics, but they made a point to say the firing had nothing to do with a recent high-profile media event hosted by Ring at Gitmo. During that event, Ring pushed for better facilities for Gitmo's 40 aging detainees. As Defense One notes, the oldest of those detainees is now 71, many are in their 50s—and the Pentagon wants a plan in place to keep the prison open for another 25 years or so.

"I'm sort of caught between a rock and a hard place,” Ring told reporters at the event. "The Geneva Conventions' Article III, that says that I have to give the detainees equivalent medical care that I would give to a trooper. But if a trooper got sick, I'd send him home to the United States." He also noted that many of the prisoners are prediabetic. "Am I going to do dialysis down here? I don't know. Somebody has got to tell me that. Are we going to do complex cancer care down here? I don't know, somebody has got to tell me that." Ring, however, won't have to worry about those logistics now. "The vast majority of commanders complete their assigned tours with distinction," says a spokesperson for the Southern Command. "When they fall short, we hold our leaders accountable." (Read more Guantanamo Bay stories.)

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