Wednesday, March 07, 2007

 

Democrats Plan To Force Closure of Gitmo

Forcing the US to treat terrorists as criminals

Democrats are formulating a plan to shut down the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:
"It sets us back in the war on terrorism to be maintaining Guantanamo," said Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who's heading an investigation of the facility for the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

"It will enhance our reputation to close it down and to apply our system of justice to all of these detainees," he added.

After two trips to Guantanamo, Moran told The Politico that he's recommending Congress cut funding to the detention center at the end of summer 2008. The men held there should then be released, tried or moved to the United States, he said.

A Democratic official involved in developing the Guantanamo strategy said the Democrats, who control the new Congress, expect Republicans to object to bringing the detainees onto U.S. soil because their attorneys would surely argue they were entitled to myriad new rights.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Democrats are planning hearings in April or May to "build a record" that closing Guantanamo would be beneficial and that it would be legal, as well as logistically feasible, to bring its detainees to the United States. The hearings would start with panels of lawyers, some of whom are convinced the plan is workable and some of whom represent detainees now at Guantanamo.

And to make the measure more palatable to Republicans, Moran said he would suggest the detainees be transferred to military bases that would allow them to be tried in federal courts under the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

(Via Drudge.)
What to do with those we capture in this war was always going to be a problem for us, especially perception-wise. Ideally, the US should still be holding these detainees incommunicado, without having revealed how many or who exactly we held. Closing Guantanamo and giving the detainees access to our domestic judicial system will transform a propaganda victory for al Qaeda and the Left into a strategic victory for both; as such, it cannot be allowed to happen. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia got it right:
"War is war, and it has never been the case that when you captured a combatant you have to give them a jury trial in your civil courts," Judge Scalia said, during a talk on March 8 at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, according to Newsweek.

"Foreigners, in foreign countries, have no rights under the American Constitution... Nobody has ever thought otherwise."

Judge Scalia said that if a foreign combatant was captured by the US army on a battlefield, a prison camp was where he belonged.

"I had a son on that battlefield and they were shooting at my son, and I’m not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it’s crazy." The conservative judge’s son, Matthew, fought in the Iraq war.

Judge Scalia also said he was "astounded" at the hypocritical reaction to the Guantanamo camp in Europe.
Mark Steyn noted (no link) a few months back that Guantanamo Bay is more than just a public relations problem for us (via Jim Lindgren; emphasis his)
If I had to summon up Gitmo in a single image, it would be the brand-new Qurans in each unoccupied cell. To reassure incoming inmates that the filthy infidels haven't touched the sacred book with their unclean hands, the Qurans are hung from the walls in pristine surgical masks. It's one thing for Muslims to regard infidels as unclean, but it's hard to see why it's in the interests of the United States government to string along with it and thereby validate their bigotry.

When I put this point to Adm. Harris, he replied, "That's an interesting question," and said the decision had been made long before he arrived. He explained that they had a good working system whereby whenever it became necessary to handle a Quran — because a weapon or illicit communication had been concealed in it — a Muslim translator would be called to the cell to perform the task. But I wasn't thinking of it in operational so much as psychological terms: What does that degree of abasement before their prejudices tell them about us?

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