Friday, May 8, 2009

Take No Prisoners

Via Steve Benen, the Republicans latest outrage is that the United States might consider moving the residents of Gitmo to prisons here in the U.S.

Today, they’re rallying support for the “Keep Terrorists Out Of America Act.” This follows up on arguments from January, and the message hasn’t improved since.

The GOP argument is that the president, by closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, may move as many as 250 detainees to detention facilities in the U.S. Congressional Republicans want to make that next to impossible, arguing that Obama would put American lives at risk by bringing suspected terrorists onto American soil.

This is a very stupid argument.

There are multiple angles to this, but let’s cut to the chase: we already lock up some extraordinarily dangerous people in maximum-security facilities. Al Qaeda suspects may be scary, but they don’t have super powers. Obama isn’t going to just drop off bad guys on Main Street and ask them to play nice.

Or, as Jon Stewart noted,

I know you guys are freaking out, but you know what we in these United States do better than anyone? Imprison people.

“We’ve got 2.3 million people locked up. Per capita, we’re #1… But these detainees are ‘the worst of the worst’; the creme de la crud; they want to kill Americans. Yeah, unlike our current inmate population of jaywalkers, cream puffs and boy scouts who only want to hug Americans [images of Charles Manson, Tim McVeigh, et al, on screen].

“Look, I know you’re Republicans so you don’t watch MSNBC, but check it out on the weekends. They have this 6-10 hour block called ‘Lockup.’ We can’t handle these piddly punks from Guantanamo? I’ll put a good, old fashioned, USA born and raised, brain0eater against any of those motherf***ers. Any of them. USA! USA!

“Let’s stop pretending these Guantanamo guys are all super villains. They’re thugs and jackasses, not Magneto. If they had mutant powers we would’ve known by now. But you don’t want them on our soil. I understand. We’re safe as long as they’re in Cuba with 90 miles of ocean between us. Yeah, nobody could ever make that harrowing journey — oh, except maybe a six-year-old with access to high-tech innertube technology. I know Janet Reno would like you to believe that Elian got here on the wings of a magical schnauzer, but no! It might be comforting to keep these prisoners in legal limbo, but the thing is they’re not actually in limbo. They still exist. So until we can come up with an actual limbo, a phantom zone so to speak, I’ll take my chances with the system that’s been able to contain the brain-eater guy.”

It’s ironic that the people who whooped us into this war and acted all butch about locking up the “enemy combatants” like they were John Wayne on crack are such big wussies about actually dealing with them. Hey, you caught them, you keep them.