Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Singin' N-I-M-B-Y

The White House was handed by Congress a setback concerning the closing of Guantanamo Bay. The Senate Democratic leadership chose to strip from the administration's recent war funding proposal the $80 million the Justice and Defense Departments requested to close down the facility and relocate its 240 prisoners, joining Republicans in singing the chorus of "Not In My Backyard" as they turned their eyes towards their constituencies to make sure the voters heard them crowin' loud and clear.

The hypocrisy is staggering.

The last time anyone checked, members of Congress seem perfectly fine with allowing serial rapist-murderer sex offenders imprisoned in their proverbial "backyards." They seem perfectly content building new prisons in their districts to incarcerate first time drug offenders and brag about just how "tough on crime" they really are. But placing the Arab guy with a Muslim-sounding name who allegedly committed an act of terror (but who hasn't been charged or tried) in a maximum security prison surrounded by uniformed men with high-powered rifles is apparently akin to unleashing rabid German shepards on sick American children.

Are moms going to stop dropping their kids off at the local prison complex for playtime and soccer games because a terrorist is now fraternizing amongst the good and decent pedophiles? Will corporations stop holding their conventions in downtown detention centers because Osama bin Laden's one-time cab driver is eating his lunch gruel in the mess hall with shackles on his ankles?

Yes, the Justice Department's plan to handle detainees was bungled and not nearly detailed enough, and I expect the White House to devise what Senator John McCain (who supports the closing of Gitmo) called a "comprehensive, well-thought-out plan" to bring these prisoners to the United States, charge them, try them, convict them, and let them experience the best of American solitary confinement facilities.

But to hear Senator Reid say "I can't make it any more clear, we will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States" is immensely frustrating and disappointing. By using words like "released," Sen. Reid and many other members of both parties are distorting the issue entirely. What's worse, he's now directly responsible for obstructing progress on this issue.

Why not answer the call, accept the "burden" of housing an alleged terrorist genius mastermind (or their cab drivers) in their districts or states, and take pride in the fact that your state, or your fightin' district helped the Commander-in-Chief protect our military and our country and serve righteous, steamin' hot justice all over the faces of these jihadist bastards? Seems like it'd make a damn good re-election ad to me.

I do hope the President and his administration have learned a lesson from this and will deliver to Congress a much more detailed plan regarding the transfer of detainees. But furthermore, I sincerely hope congressional Democrats and Republicans alike tone down the singing and show some leadership by supporting what may be (curiously) unpopular but is necessary to protect this country and ensure due process of the law.

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