Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Senate Democrats use Republican propaganda as reason to not close Gitmo

It's stuff like this that makes me feel like rereading Liberty Under Siege (see here for excerpts.)

But then I read things like this:

In an abrupt shift, Senate Democratic leaders said on Tuesday that they would not provide the $80 million that President Obama requested to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

....The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, seemed to ramp up the concerns of Congressional Democrats, insisting during a news conference that lawmakers would never allow the terror suspects to be released into the United States....Pressed to explain if that meant they could not be transferred to American prisons, Mr. Reid said: "We don't want is them to be put in prisons in the United States. We don't want them around the United States."
To repeat: I read things like this. And I realize all over again just what Obama is up against. His own party won't support him against even the most transparent and insipid demagoguery coming from the conservative noise machine. The GOP's brain trust isn't offering even a hint of a substantive case that the U.S. Army can't safely keep a few dozen detainees behind bars in a military prison, but Dems are caving anyway. Because they're scared. And then they wonder why voters continue to think that a party that can be bitch slapped so easily might be viewed as weak on national security.
"We will never allow terrorists to be released into the United States," said Harry Reid, echoing Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the idiot kings of the conservative movement. As Kevin Drum noted, it's no wonder that Republicans have been so effective at defining the spectrum of political debate even as their party suffers major electoral defeats. The failure of Democrats to actually offer an opposing "frame" to the spin of Republicans has been addressed extensively by the likes of George Lakoff and Drew Westen, so I'll set aside the practical futility of this sort of rhetoric as an election strategy.

What is really so disgusting about Reid's statement is that it reflects and promotes the same lawless contempt for human rights that led to so many of the human rights abuses that have transpired since September 11. 2001 in the name of fighting "terror." The majority of individuals who have been held at Gitmo were not terrorists, nor were they picked up on a battlefield. They were not given a fair or honest system of due process. To designate those there as "terrorists" is reprehensible; nevermind the transparently idiotic notion that closing Guantanamo means terrorists would be set free in the United States.

Update: Greenwald demolishes the fear-mongering about terrorists being "released in the United States."

No comments: