Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A bad case of NIMBY regarding Guantanamo

For the last eight years, conservatives and liberals alike had been opposed to the neoconservatives' Guantanamo Bay policy, in which captured enemies have been held in some type of no-man's land (Cuba) in an effort to skirt both domestic law and international treaty obligations.

With the election of Barack Obama, it initially appeared that Guantanamo imprisonment was on the way out. However, the next roadblock was thrown up by...the Democrats:

President Barack Obama's allies in the Senate will not provide funds to close the Guantanamo Bay prison next January, a top Democratic official said Tuesday.

With debate looming on Obama's spending request to cover military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the official says Democrats will deny the Pentagon and Justice Department $80 million to relocate Guantanamo's 241 detainees.

The presumed reason for this opposition? While many have demanded that the imprisonment of people at Guantanamo be stopped and that the captured people be treated under U.S. law, apparently some of them are just realizing that if Guantanamo is closed, that whole "treated under U.S. law" thingie means that the prisoners will be brought to...the U.S. And while people are willing to defend the civil rights of the possibly innocent prisoners, they're also afraid of letting these criminals into our own backyard. NIMBY at its finest.

And it's not just the Democrats:

Republicans are poised with an amendment by James Inhofe of Oklahoma that would block any of the 241 Guantanamo detainees from ever coming to U.S. soil to stand trial or serve their sentences.

In essence, there is a bipartisan movement that is claiming that the Guantanamo prisoners are likely to break out of U.S. prisons and terrorize the populace. Alex Knapp isn't buying it:

This is just plain stupidity. The idea that somehow domestic prisons aren’t up to the task of handling these detainees is ludicrous. Get them into the system. Get them hearings. Release the innocent ones. This is a no brainer. The camps in Guantanamo Bay have become a stain on America’s reputation, a betrayal of her principles, and a rallying cry for her enemies. Close them down.
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