It seems that there are those in Congress who object to moving the worst of the worst terrorists from Guantanamo to “the American heartland,” as Liz Cheney referred to the planned new facility in Illinois. The New York Times reports:
“The administration has failed to explain how transferring terrorists to Gitmo North will make Americans safer than keeping terrorists off of our shores in the secure facility in Cuba,” Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader, said in a statement. Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, told reporters he would not vote to “spend one dime to move those prisoners to the U.S.”
And even the Obami realize that “the move would require Congressional approval, since Congress now bars Guantánamo detainees from being brought onto American soil unless they face prosecution, and some of the detainees may be indefinitely confined without being tried.” The Obama administration is banking on Democrats in Congress “to lift that restriction if the administration came up with an acceptable plan for closing the military prison at Guantanamo.” This should make for an interesting debate. But as with the original plan to close Guantanamo, there are many questions, and the whole endeavor feels as if they’re winging it.
The administration confesses that it doesn’t know exactly how many would be transferred. (So some will remain in Guantanamo? What’s the point if the Obami can’t achieve their pipedream of closing the maligned facility?) And the administration concedes that some of those going to Illinois would be in the category of “indefinite detainees.” But what if a federal court orders them released? Well: “Addressing critics’ concerns that those prisoners could be freed inside the United States, administration officials said that if any of the habeas appeals succeeded, the detainees would be transferred out of the country or brought to trial.” Huh? The Obama administration is going to bring them to the U.S.., confer full rights and access to the courts, and then whisk them away if they’re ordered released? It frankly defies logic and belies the notion that the Obami are practicing some more principled version of justice.
This is not solving anything, even from the perspective of the loony Left. The ACLU piped up: “The only thing that President Obama is doing with this announcement is changing the ZIP code of Guantánamo.” You see, what they object to is permanent detention of enemy combatants. So long as we’re holding terrorists, the Left won’t give up, and the supposed propagandistic value the Obami hope to derive (from the salons of Europe? from the netroots? from would be terrorists?) will be, as it has always been, unattainable.