February 25, 2009

Gitmo Detainees: They Are Not the X-Men

Cong. McCaul was on Fox yesterday bleating his fears that Gitmo detainees would be released into the United States. The GOP is calling Obama a fear monger, but they are the ones running around wringing their hands about the ultra dangerous Gitmo detainees, and frankly sounding like a bunch of pansies in the process. Real republicans ain't no punks, but thats exactly how we sound.

None of these guys is going to be released to roam free in the United States. Point blank. Thats simply not going to happen. Bank on that for no other reason than because Obama is a competent politician,  if you simply refuse to believe he is capable of protecting America. Obama is not going to committ political suicide by letting any of these people free on US soil.

Gitmo is being closed because you can't sustainably justify at home or abroad an extra judicial facility for the explicit purpose of detaining and interrogating people indefinitely without charge or reasonable due process.  Thats what the Bush administration created and operated in broad daylight. 

One argument Cong. McCaul makes for keeping Gitmo open is that in fact the conditions are so great, better than federal prisons in fact. Why on earth are we spending money to house terrorist non-citizens in an island prison paradise while citizen criminals stateside are housed in crappy conditions? I don't understand that logic at all.

It is also repeatedly claimed that these Gitmo detainees are hard core and extraordinarily dangerous. To Cong. McCaul and others in the GOP trumpeting this line, I say to you "grow a pair'.  These guys are not the X-Men, requiring extraordinary measures to contain lest they use their super powers to escape. These guys are not any more dangerous than the multitude of vicious criminals locked up in maximum security prisons near our communities around the country. Our prisons are home to gang networks, the mob and horrific serial killers for crying out loud, and we manage just fine. The average citizen doesn't think twice about prisoners escaping or any such nonsense. Hell, many communities lobby to have prisons placed in their area for the job creation.  

You just don't spend your average day worrying about the criminal element locked up down the road. Why? Because if you go to prison in this country, you stay there and rot, unless somebody lets you out. This is doubly true if you are a criminal deemed worthy of a home at a Supermax facility, like Abdul Hakim Murad, of al-Qaeda's Operation Bojinka or Accardo Simonelli, gangster from the New Mexico mafia and a hitman with more than 30 counts of murder, both current residents of ADX Florence in Colorado.

Gitmo, like other sites around the world, was intended as an extra judicial interrogation site that would permit the United States to hold and interrogate prisoners without the complications of the Geneva Conventions or other restrictions imposed by US law. In the earlier years of the war against Al-Qaeda, it had a certain utility but the fact is that Gitmo has largely served its purpose. Al-Qaeda has been broken as a strategic threat to the United States. Moreover, the brazen manner in which the Bush administration operated Gitmo subjected it to constant and increasing scrutiny and the administration found itself fighting a slow motion legal battle that increasingly imposed practical limits on the utilization of the facility for its intended purpose. 

That being the case, there is really little rationale to continue holding prisoners there, since it cannot be operated as it was intended from the start. In fact, the very arguments put forward for keeping it open, that it is safe and humane, conforms to the Geneva Conventions and in fact is better than stateside prisons, are all good reasons why it should be closed. Why should illegal combatants who are not citizens get a penal experience superior to that which our own citizen criminals enjoy? Glenn Beck repeatedly states that you can't send Gitmo detainees to stateside prisons because they would be killed upon release into genpop.  Oh no, that means it's likely these hard core, worst of the worst TERRORISTS would be accorded about the same level of regard in the prison population as, Oh, I don't know...... child molesters?  Is this really a problem?   

They are not the X-Men and maximum security prisons stateside are more than adequate to hold them. Gitmo has outlived its national security usefulness. Considering it is now subject to regular inspection by the Red Cross to verify that its conditions are humane, it is no longer viable as an extra judicial interrogation site, its intended use. If nobody is getting tortured at Gitmo, then really, whats the point? No reason to leave it open.