The administration announced today that some of the detainees from the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will be moving to the Thomson Correction Center in Illinois. The Republican Leadership is going all out to convince the American public that:
o a US Supermax prison is not up to the task of holding terrorism suspects;
o the US system of justice is not up to the task of dealing with enemy combatants, and;
o the US cannot be made safe from Al Qaeda under any circumstances.
Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., the No. 3 House GOP leader, said moving terrorist suspects to the United States would put the public at risk.
“The Obama administration is putting international public relations ahead of public safety,” Pence said.
Not exactly the rousing speech President Bush gave from the smoking rubble at Ground Zero, but this is the new, improved and more timid, GOP.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
AP Photo, Spencer Green
Henry C. Jackson at AP shares information as to the types of detainees and outcomes that will be processed at the Thomson facility. None of these appear to include “arming terrorism suspects and releasing them into the surrounding woods”:
Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they could not yet lay out a timeframe for when a transfer of detainees from the Navy-run detention facility to Thomson. They said the administration would have to work with Congress to amend laws and secure funding before any prisoners are brought to U.S. soil.
The officials said military tribunals for potential detainees would be held at Thomson. They also said that the facility could house detainees whom the president determines must be held indefinitely but can’t be tried.
So, it appears that the administration will still be able to handle the detainees much as they have been at Gitmo, legally providing military tribunals for some, indefinite detainment for others and conceivably processing through the more standard court system for others. If we aren’t careful we might just demonstrate that the Rule of Law is the law of the land in America, and you know what sort of terrible precedent that would set.
Congressman Don Manzullo (R-CO) on CNN today tried to articulate the danger he sees looming by holding prisoners in an American Supermax prison:
It serves as a magnet. I mean, when you take a look for example there was an article in the Washington Post Saturday. Two Yemeni brothers. One has been in Gitmo for eight years, the other is in Yemen. And the one in Yemen said, “When President Obama promised to close Gitmo we thought it meant he would be releasing the prisoners, but if he decides to move them to the mainland of the US the hatred will be even greater, people will be more prone to acts of violence.”
Well, I can’t say I really care what someone in Yemen wants us to do, and I don’t support my government making decisions based on what makes Al Qaeda happy. Forgive me if I’m just slow, but if we start making decisions in attempts to do what our enemies want us to do haven’t we already lost?
Screw Al Qaeda, I don’t care what makes them and their supporters happy. I care about my country living up to its own standards.