Don't back down on closing Guantanamo

Posted: Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This editorial first appeared in the Kansas City Star:

Congressional Democrats are backing away from a total blockade on bringing Guantanamo detainees into the United States, at least for prosecution.

It's about time. Still, there are concerns federal spending bills could severely limit options on moving detainees from Guantanamo.

Beyond the fight shaping up between Congress and President Barack Obama, who wants to close the place in January, is an obvious question: Why? The official answer from members of Congress is that they're trying to "keep the American people safe."

Really? Are we holding super-villains? Are the American people safer if these detainees are behind bars in Cuba than behind bars in the United States? Can they bend metal and punch holes in concrete walls with their minds?

No. The belief - and there is nothing to back up this group think - is that moving Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil creates local terror targets.

If that's the case, why are there no reports of international terrorists planning to attack Cuba? They haven't heard Guantanamo is run by the United States? This is a military prison that has given the United States a black eye internationally. Obama has correctly noted it "probably has created more terrorists than it has housed."

Obama's plan is to create a high security prison, perhaps with an enclosed terror court to avoid transportation issues. No one is talking about releasing bad guys. The talk is of actually putting these men on trial, finally, and subjecting them to U.S. law. It's a plan whose time has come. Congress needs to back away from the re-election-driven politics that is keeping Guantanamo open.

This is a nation of law, and needs to remain so. Guantanamo is not only an embarrassment, it's unnecessary.

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