Saturday, January 24, 2009

Reaction to Guantanamo Bay Order

Now that President Obama has ordered the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay be closed within a year, all secret CIA prisons be shuttered, and declared "without exception or equivocation that the United States will not torture,” the Republican long knives are out.

Senator Kit Bond, who has announced his retirement, has been the most entertaining. On Hardball on January 22, 2009 Bond remarked (video below) of the Guantanamo detainees:

Now, if you don't bring them back to the United States, if you release them, we know already, that's more than 60 of the people who have been released have been killing our troops, our Americans and civilians on the battlefield. If you really want to bring them back to the United States, people in Missouri and Kansas believe Gitmo is just fine. Folks in San Francisco want it closed. I'd suggest you put them in Alcatraz.

We know that some Repubs would like nothing more than setting a few hundred criminals loose on the streets of San Francisco, the most gay-friendly town in the U.S. A. Still, what a curious application of the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) concept! And Senator John Cornyn, Repub of Texas, apparently believes hey, what the heck, terrorists are a state's responsibility! He exclaims "clearly these are not the kind of people you would want to put in our city jails or our state prisons." Apparently, these guys are figuring that a terrorist, secured in a high-security prison, is going to break out, wait for the bus to take him to the bad part of town, score some drugs, catch a cab to the good part of town and break into a few homes. World Trade Center, anthrax, then burglary. Not surprising, I guess, that a guy who thinks Alcatraz is still up and running or that an Arab terrorist is going to be housed in your local neighborhood lockup don't realize that classic prisoners in high-security prisons are more skilled at breaking out of, and into, facilities and committing random acts of violence than are terrorists. As Representative Jack Murtha (D.-Pa.) noted on January 23, "There are thousands of dangerous prisoners being held securely behind bars in supermax prisons across the United States."

What will, or should, become of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay is up for debate, and study. Fortunately, the Executive Branch is now run by a team of professionals more interested in both national security and traditional American values than the crowd that had been running things.

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