Friday, May 8, 2009

Gitmo Detainees--NIMBY

The way this administration is backpedaling and frontpedaling on what to do with the residents of the Guantanamo Bay terrorist prison, the detainees in question could score some hefty frequent flier miles:
The Obama administration will not release terrorists from Guantanamo Bay into neighborhoods in the United States, Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on Thursday as he sought to reassure worried lawmakers.
"We don't have any plans to release terrorists," Holder testified at a Senate hearing on the Obama administration's budget for the Justice Department. The budget proposal released Thursday requests up to $160 million to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
But he also said some of the detainees at the facility will be let go, indicating the administration believes some held there are not terrorists. Asked after the hearing if he believes some current Guantanamo detainees are innocent, Holder did not answer.
Federal lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have made it clear--not in my backyard:
On his second day in office, President Obama ordered the Pentagon to mothball Guantanamo within one year, purportedly to reclaim the "moral high ground." That earned applause from the anti-antiterror squadrons, yet it is now causing all kinds of practical and political problems in what used to be known as the war on terror.
This mess grew even more chaotic this week, when Democrats refused the Administration's $50 million budget request to transfer some of the remaining 241 Gitmo detainees to a prison likely to be somewhere in the U.S. and perhaps to a new one built with taxpayer dollars. "What do we do with the 50 to 100 -- probably in that ballpark -- who we cannot release and cannot try?" Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently asked Congress.
The best answer is Gitmo. But the antiwar left wants terrorists treated like garden-variety criminals in the civilian courts or maybe military courts martial. The not-so-minor problem is that even states that send leftists to Congress don't want to host Gitmo-II. Think California, where Alcatraz could be an option. The abandoned San Francisco Bay prison has Gitmo's virtue of relative isolation -- but Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, claims it is a national treasure. The terrorist-next-door problem is also rising to a high boil in Kansas politics, given that Fort Leavenworth is being eyed too.
The Washington Post also chimes in on Congressional resistance:
Worried that some former Guantanamo Bay detainees may end up on U.S. soil, congressional Republicans and Democrats are sharply questioning President Obama's plans for closing the military prison in Cuba.
The Democratic-led House Appropriations Committee yesterday [May 7] passed a bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while stripping the more than $50 million that administration officials had requested for closing the prison and starting the relocation of its 240 prisoners.
Lawmakers criticized the administration for not yet offering a detailed plan on prisoner relocation.
Republicans are touting a bill that would prohibit any stateside relocation without the approval of the governor and the legislature of the affected state. Senate Republicans have also released this video preview of "coming attractions."Meanwhile, administration bureaucrats can't seem to keep track of terror suspects that are still at large:
Nearly eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI's terrorist watch list is so flawed that at least 10 people who should have been kept out of the United States were allowed to cross its borders, an internal audit released Wednesday shows.
And in yet another reversal of a campaign promise, Obama's minions must have focused-group the idea of extending amnesty to illegal aliens and did not like the results--especially with the 2010 congressional elections looming:
On the thorniest of political issues, President Obama has embraced the enforcement-first position on immigration that he criticized during last year's presidential campaign, and he now says he can't move forward with the type of comprehensive bill he wants until voters are convinced that the borders can be enforced.