Friday, October 16, 2009

Republicans fail to stop Gitmo transfers into US.

Obama has won a partial victory in his attempt to close down the US facility at Guantanamo Bay with the Democrats voting to repel a Republican effort to make transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the US mainland illegal.

Instead, by a 224-193 vote, the House stood by a Democratic plan to allow suspected enemy combatants held at the controversial facility in Cuba to be shipped to U.S. soil — but only to be prosecuted for their suspected crimes.

Democratic leaders had to push hard to win the vote because many Democrats two weeks ago had cast a nonbinding but politically safe vote against any Guantanamo detainee transfers. But several Democrats from swing districts said they saw little political risk on Thursday's vote.

"It's a non-issue. Inside the (Washington) Beltway stuff," said first-term Rep. Dan Maffei, D-N.Y. "People care about jobs, the economy, health care."

One of the things I most loathe about the Republicans is the fact that they play the fear card at almost every opportunity and they also appear to assume that the average American voter has the mental capacity of a four year old.

Why would anyone fear any prisoner being housed in a high security facility from which no-one has ever escaped? And yet that was the card that the Republicans chose to play here.

Rep. Jerry Lewis of California spells out the Republican case:
"Terrorists should not be treated like common criminals in federal court," Lewis said. "These detainees are enemies of the state, and should be treated as such by being held and brought to justice right where they are — in Guantanamo Bay."
I think everything which is wrong about the Republican position is in that statement. Terrorists are common criminals, nothing more. It is giving them far more credit than they are due to refer to them as an army or any actual military unit. And there is certainly no need to make changes to the criminal justice system in order to deal with such people. The system has already shown itself capable of dealing with murderers, rapists and serial killers; it is more than capable of dealing with delusional people who think that they can bring down empires from the caves of Afghanistan.

The Republicans think that they are talking tough, but all I can smell is their fear. What is the point of our system and our values if we are going to trade all of that away simply because we are threatened by a hidden enemy?

Now is surely the time to do the very opposite of what the Republicans propose; now is the time to show that our system and our values work.

And we do that, not by changing the system or housing these people on islands off of Cuba, but by bringing them through the criminal justice system and proving that they are guilty of crimes.

That system has proven itself over hundreds of years, there really is no reason to change all that now. Indeed, to do so compliments the terrorist in a way which they really don't deserve.

So, I am pleased that Obama has won this partial victory, but I am more pleased that the only way he will be allowed to transfer people is if he is prepared to prosecute them for suspected crimes.

This nonsense has gone on for far too long. Obama should prosecute those people he has a case against and he should release those for whom he has no case.

That should not even be a controversial statement. After all, that is the foundation of the entire criminal justice system. And that system has proven itself to be pretty robust over the past couple of hundred years.

Click title for full article.


theBhc said...

"they also appear to assume that the average American voter has the mental capacity of a four year old."

Actually, what they assume, rightly so, is that their base has the mental capacity of a four year old. And they are right to assume that, because that is exactly to whom they are appealing. And the GOP knows their base.

Kel said...

Nice to have you back, Bhc.