Guantanamo is a dandy club in partisan hands

President Barack Obama will expand today on his plans for the inmates at Guantanamo as he spars with Congress over his intention to close the prison in Cuba before the end of the year.
Republicans, with Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas in the forefront, have raised a stink about the possibility of moving some or all of the re-maining prisoners to prisons in the U.S. while bringing them to trial and determining their long-term future. Sen. Brownback has pledged never to allow any to be housed in the disciplinary barracks at Ft. Leavenworth — or anywhere else in the country.
This week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, moved over with the Republicans and agreed to strip a military funding bill of $80 million requested by the president to pay for Guantanamo’s closing and disposition of its in-mates.
Sen. Reid said the money wouldn’t be appropriated until Obama presents a detailed plan for the closing that is acceptable to Congress.
Ironies abound.
First, consider that the so-called terrorists in the prison have not been tried so the facts justifying their capture and imprisonment have not been been publically documented. The rule of law hasn’t been applied. Meanwhile, the United States continues to keep a trade embargo in place against Cuba — largely because the Castro dictatorship imprisons political opponents, also without a fair trial, not that far from Guantanamo Bay.
Next, let us recount America’s core values: Fair and open trials; the right of the accused to competent counsel; ad-herence to the Geneva Convention; agreement that everyone is equal before the law.
Our country captured most of the roughly 250 inmates of Guantanamo, accepted some from other captors and, by im-prisoning them on the U.S. naval base, became responsible for their humane treatment under international law and our own statutes.
Under these circumstances, it is difficult to justify policies that forbid transporting any of them into the United States, or, for that matter, would prevent releasing those who are found innocent of any crime against the U.S.

THIS REVIEW does nothing to defuse the emotional arguments made by Sen. Brownback and repeated by so many others. He warns that putting them in a U.S. prison would make that prison a target for terrorist attacks. Does he mean our military prisons cannot be defended or are any less secure than the prison compound in Cuba? Why were there no attacks there? Surely it would be a snap to recruit anti-American commandos among the followers of the late Che Guevara.
Facts don’t matter much in this discussion. All those who are using Guantanamo to bash Obama must do is raise the awful specter of terrorists running amok in Leavenworth, Ft. Riley or wherever, and their argument is won. Not in my backyard graduates to not in my country, not anywhere here.
It isn’t necessary to prove that each of the 250 prisoners is, in fact, a dangerous man bent on killing Americans. All that is necessary is to label them “terrorists” (boogy men) and cry havoc.
This hasn’t been our finest hour.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.