Irrational Fear Behind Guantanamo Detainee Decision

The manner in which grown men and women in the United States Congress are fretting over the possibility that some of the Guantanamo detainees may wind up being incarcerated in federal civilian and military prisons on the mainland, illustrates yet again how tight a grip FEAR has on public policy in post-911 America.

Earlier this week, the Senate blocked President Barack Obama’s request for $80 billion to begin the process of closing down the detention facility at Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. Six Senate Democrats voted against the president, even though those same Democrats earlier had called on Obama to close the facility. The only reason for this bizarre behavior by members of the president’s own party (and many Republicans) was the fear that some of the 100 or so detainess the Secretary of Defense said would have to still be incarcerated in facilities elsewhere would in fact . . . be incarcerated elsewhere. This lack of faith in the ability of the Bureaus of Prisons (which manages some of the most secure prison facilities in the world) and of our armed services (which maintain extremely secure military prisons as well), to safely house a small number of foreign detainees, is startling — and based on nothing other than irrational fear.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid offered the silliest rationale of all in defending the Senate’s about face. Reid explained that, “you can’t put them in prison unless you release them” and “we will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.” Say what? Simply transferring a prisoner from one facility (such as Guantanamo) to another (such as the “Supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado), is hardly “releasing” them. Every day, federal prisoners routinely are transferred from one facility to another, and no one (except Sen. Reid) considers such actions to consititute “releasing” those people.

The fact is, while the detention facility at Guantanamo offers the benefit of being located on an island off the U.S. mainland and is isolated on that island, the facility itself is no more secure than any number of other federal prisons; and is in fact not nearly as secure as many Bureau of Prison facilities, including the Supermax prison in Colorado, which already houses several convicted terrorists.

The president has made a policy decision to close the detention facility at Guantanamo. Members of Congress ought to have the backbone to vote for or against the president’s plan based on its merits, not hide behind irrational fear that somehow a super-human terrorist will be able to scale the walls of the Supermax prison and wreak havoc on a community in their district.

70 comments Add your comment


May 22nd, 2009
8:54 am

Irrational fear is the lifeblood of the republican party of late. So much tough talk, so little will to personally walk the walk. Chickenhawks disgust me.


May 22nd, 2009
8:56 am

Right on Bob, the worries about holding them in federal prison facilities is silly. They are good enough for serial killers and the likes of Timothy McVeigh, how are they not good enough for these people?


May 22nd, 2009
9:03 am

I think the members of congress are fearful the prisoners will somehow be released for some reason or other. Not of them escaping.

[...] to Congress if we’re to generate any heat. He calls such thoughts “irrational” in his morning post on The president has made a policy decision to close the detention facility at Guantanamo. [...]


May 22nd, 2009
9:14 am

Thank you, Bob, for applying plain old common sense and logic to an issue that has been grossly misrepresented. The American people are so tired of their elected officials using fear to control and gain political one-up-man-ship. This whole discussion of “releasing Gitmo detainees into our communities” is ignorant and baseless.


May 22nd, 2009
9:25 am

Reckless naivete is the lifeblood of the democrat party, PERPETUALLY. Look, the ACLU has been forthright about wanting to get terrorists placed on American soil so that they can argue for Constitutional rights for these evil combatants. It’s that old Roger Baldwin desire to use America’s own system to destroy our nation…he (founder of the ACLU) pretty much said that was the ACLU’s purpose. The ACLU wants to torpedo ALL anti-terror efforts. Getting the Gitmo terrorists here, will set up legal instruments to hobble our anti-terror programs.
Moreover, even if you keep the Gitmo detainees in separate housing, if you put ANY of them in a U.S. penal institution, that facility is going to experience radicalization of the Muslim inmates, who’ll consider these terrorists as rallying points (and Islam recruits heavily from criminals anyway). The outcome of putting Gitmo scum in our prisons, is that our prisoners are then astronomically more likely to become domestic terrorists once released.
BUT…count on the liberals of this nation to boo-hoo for religious deviants that should have zero rights (under Geneva they don’t have any by the way); as liberals care more about evil [wanna laundry list? Castro, Che, Saddam, Stalin, Mao, ect....] THAN THEY CARE FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN.


May 22nd, 2009
9:41 am

You’re a fool Thogwummpy. Nowhere does the Bill of Rights say it applies to citizens only. It enumerates the rights enjoyed by all free people, not citizens. So even the most savage terrorist has constitutional protections. I know offering those to people we hate is hard and unpleasant, but it doesn’t change the fact that even prisoners get some protections under the constitution. A little 6th, 7th and 8th amendment action could’ve prevented this whole torture scandal and the gitmo scandal nicely.Besides, it doesn’t take much for the government to decide that any dissenter is a threat and then pack them off to Gitmo as an “enemy combatant” never to be seen again. You should be careful what you wish for. Oh, and the only reason that they don’t have any rights under the Geneva conventions is because we invented a term for them that defied legal definition. Like that’s not shady as hell. Finally, you’re right, I care more about the spirit of this nation and its soul than I do for “our children.” If you really cared about your children you’d do a lot more to ensure that they have the opportunity to grow up in a nation that cherishes freedom for all and truly practices what it preaches instead of the hollow tinny jingoistic crap we have to listen to now.


May 22nd, 2009
9:51 am

The Supreme Court has already ruled on all the Bush-era attempted dodges that made Gitmo so notorious:

No, they are NOT outside the jurisdiction of U.S. courts just because they’re not on U.S. soil.

No, they are NOT denied the rights and protections of U.S. law, including the Geneva Conventions.

And no, the detainees are NOT “presumed guilty” without any sort of hearing, counsel, or evidence.

Three strikes, you’re out. These are not opinions; they are rulings from the Supreme Court itself, i.e., the LAW. There’s no point in continuing these absurd claims any more.

Gitmo serves no purpose (and in fact, it never DID serve a legitimate purpose). If we have evidence that a detainee was involved in military or terrorist action against the U.S., then we have to give them a military hearing and dispense the appropriate sentence. If not, we have to release them.

That’s the LAW, and fear and revenge-fantasies have no place in a nation of laws.

J Conservative

May 22nd, 2009
10:07 am

As much as I hate to admit it, Copyleft is factually correct. The Supreme Court as ruled as he outlined. My question is why the Bush administration sat on their hands for the last six years & did nothing to resolve the issue of Gitmo? Mr.Barr what is the answer? I do not know & cannot find out.

Michael H. Smith

May 22nd, 2009
10:12 am

This president’s policy is based on fear and he is misguided in thinking the world will see his kindness and ACLU constitutionality as strength.

Some of us just do not want these terrorists in our country, based solely on what we want. Do bear in mind that our wants often become the laws of this country. In fact, our wants have been known to amend the very Constitution of this nation.

As to this president, his regrettable talks and policies have shown weakness to our enemies. Weakness that he might see as kindness will not kill our enemies or make them weak in any manner of speaking, it will only make them stronger and invite war.

Often Disappointed/Never Surprised!

May 22nd, 2009
10:18 am

I agree Mr. Barr. If we can’t manage the transfer of criminals, how in the hell are we going to ever get a grip on the situation in the Middle East. Granted, our Soldiers should never have been sent there from the very beginning, since this is an unjust war. I digress, the bottom line is this: we will either back our President or we don’t. Regardless of the Party-Association, we as Americans must develop some backbone.

Northern Sympathizer

May 22nd, 2009
10:26 am

Bob has nailed it. Irrational is the word.

Robert Bone

May 22nd, 2009
10:33 am

The rule of law is one of the most important precepts in our society. We must adhere or we are doomed to repeat the past. As evil as these prisoners are from Guantanamo, they must be moved to ultra-secure facilities in the US and then be dealt with under the mantle of our laws and judicial system. Following our laws and our legal system, as imperfect as they are, is what makes this a great nation.


May 22nd, 2009
10:35 am

Copyleft: Is this the same nation of laws that allow 20 million illegal aliens to stay in this country and have a direct influence in bankrupted California?

Is this the same nation of laws that allow the speaker of the house to wrongly accuse the cia of lying?

We are a nation of laws and must be a nation of laws. However, oneside cannot keep changing the laws to suit their agendas. Congress have not passed the laws but courts have. Is that the law of the land now? Courts make legislation!

I did not have the values that someone can nuke our country and completely destroy a city and I can not use methods to get that information beforehand. I am a realist and not an idealist.

However you may be right in that case–DEAD RIGHT!


May 22nd, 2009
10:38 am

Mr. Barr fails to recognize the flaws in his own arguement. This decision is driven not by the irrational fear of the senators, but of the voters. Repubulicans have been particularly alarmist over this matter and have inflammed public fears that these “evil terrorists” will be in a half-way house just down the street from little Johnny’s and Betty’s school. It’s not about the irrational fear of terrorists, it’s the very rational fear of not getting reelected.

Furthermore, many of the detainees are not a threat at all, but the CIA keeps them so it won’t have to admit mistakes were made. Of course, all the evidence is classified so no one can objectively review these cases.


May 22nd, 2009
10:40 am

Jimbo that was one of the best posts ever.


May 22nd, 2009
10:41 am

Just as Jeffrey Dahmer did not survive in prison very long the prisoners knew what to do with him neither will a lot of these guys either. Put some of these guys in prison with the general population that might solve our problem. I doubt very seriously they will convert people in our country to blowing themselves up to get 72 virgins like happens in middle eastern countries.


May 22nd, 2009
10:45 am

I totally agree with Mr. Barr. Thank you, sir, for your wise perspective on this situation.


May 22nd, 2009
10:49 am

Most of you should have a TV–possibly history channel and such. Take a hour and stop your drive by media bursts and watch “Gang Wars”.

It talks how the gang leaders control gangs outside of prison even to the extent of murder–I said murder. Of course if you do not experiment with other than liberal posting and programs you might miss this.

One program talked how the extremist were proselytizing while confined. That has the potential to expand home grown terrorist. Did you read that in the liberal posts? There are rapes, murders, and constant drug abuse in prisons today–I said today. Where do you get that confining these people stops their influence. The ACLU will insure they have every chance to exorcise their actions against Americans.

Using the word irrational is a dirve by media outburst!
irrational: not rational: as a (1): not endowed with reason or understanding.

Liberal translation of irrational is: We understand this and you do not and we are not going to accept truth or evidence to disprove our values and stop our agendas.


May 22nd, 2009
10:55 am

I rarely agree with Mr. Barr but this time he has nailed it on the head. First of all, at this point in time these prisoners have not been convicted of anything. I suggest that the majority of them have done soemthing that warrants incarceration but until these prisoners’ cases are adjudicated we will not have a finding of guilt or innocence.

If one or more are found innocent in our civilian courts we will have to determine a protocol for dealing with that fact. Whether they had been incarcerated at Gitmo and eventually found innocent or innocent while being incarcerated here is irrelevant. Once we have adjudicated a case and the person is found innocent we will have to decide what to do. We brought them here (Gitmo on Cuba) or the U.S. Can we deport them? This will be a difficult issue but not one that is unsurmountable.

For those that are found guilty, they will be sentenced to significant terms of incarceration if not life. Our prison system is very capable of housing them and protecting the public.

As for radicalizing the rest of the population I doubt there will be much opportunity for that. Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph complains that he is in his little cell 23 hours a day. That doesn’t give him much time to radicalize anyone. This isn’t a normal prison where prisoners have significant interaction with others.


May 22nd, 2009
11:09 am

Bravo, Mr. Barr. I just wish I didn’t disagree with you on so many other issues, but for this I can applaud you.


May 22nd, 2009
11:16 am

I have to agree with Thogwummpy. I also think the torture issue is stupid. We used it on 3 people and got most of our information from it, it did work and it was legal. When I was in Iraq I was all for getting any information that could help me return home to my family. Now that I am out of the Army I am not going to forget the men who still have their lives on the line.

I do not understand why we need to close Gitmo. This is just another political football that is being kicked around. Moving prisoners will have no effect other than putting us at risk. Pay attention, while you are concerning yourself with this minutia what are the Dems and Reps doing in D.C.? While they talk to us about these type of issues they sign away our rights and future.

Joe Average

May 22nd, 2009
11:48 am

Barr is an idiot. He should house the detainees. How many of the senators that voted agianst obammie are up for re-election?


May 22nd, 2009
12:03 pm

RE Denvel @ 11:15

First of all thank you for your service to the nation. Thank you for defending America, her values and her promise. It is because of that service that I can openly disagree with your posting.

Your first point that we have only used torture on 3 detainees is factually inaccurate. 3 high-profile detainees have been identified as having been subject to waterboarding.

Other practices performed at U.S. facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq are classified under international treaties to which the U.S. is a signatory as torture. Torture is illegal under U.S. law. That matter is not subject to discussion. There are no exceptions to the use of torture under the law. Further we rendered other subjects to secret prisons in 3rd world countries where very heinous practices were used – cutting genitals with fine knives, etc. All of this was done in my name and yours. That is not the America I grew up in and used to be so proud of.

Why close Gitmo?

1. It is an American Gulag – a place where people that are rounded up are taken and held indefinitely without charge. We fought the cold war in part because our values abhor such treatment of human beings.

2. It has become a symbol to those who wish us ill. Many of those who wish us harm idolize martyrs. Gitmo has given them another form of martyrdom and serves as another reason to raise jihad against America.

3. It has alienated our friends and allies. Regardless of what anyone things this world is highly interdependent and especially now with all of the challenges we collectively face we need to work together. The U.S. cannot and should not act alone. We need friends and allies now just as we needed the French during the war for independence.

4. No increased risk to the homeland. You do a disservice to those who man our federal prisons to assert that bringing and then holding convicted terrorists in our federal prisons increases risk here at home. Our federal prisons are very capable of holding the worst of the worst and keeping the public safe. Your assertion lacks any credible evidence.

Then you assert that our elected officials on both sides of the aisle are signing away our rights and future. That is baseless rhetoric. What rights and future are they taking away from you by agreeing to close Gitmo? If you are going to make statements like that you need to explain them. I am open to your claim but you need to explain why your rights and future are threatened because I don’t feel threatened at all by this discussion or by the pending closure of Gitmo.


May 22nd, 2009
12:19 pm

Jimbo @ 9:41 am – Great allusion to the (intentionally vague) “enemy combatant” label! Thanks to Orwellian legislation such as the (so-called) “Patriot”, Military Commissions & John Warner Defense Authorization Acts, any American labeled an “enemy combatant” will have their Constitutional rights to legal representation & trial by jury removed. The “enemy combatant” label was (intentionally) vaguely defined so it could be applied to Americans. If you doubt this, then research these 3 Acts and ask yourself why (Orwellian) DHS has been trying to label Americans (who support full Constitutional adherence, vets, etc.) as “extremists” & “potentially violent”?? These legislative acts were clearly meant to bolster the (rapidly growing) police state in order to suppress the populace (who won’t fully acquiesce to the Globalist agenda)!


May 22nd, 2009
12:27 pm

Good GOD some of you people are idiots! How exactly will we be at risk?? Because “Dick” Cheney says so? I question whether some of you who blindly follow Bush and Obama ever think for yourselves.

Ray Pugh

May 22nd, 2009
12:33 pm

Joe Average-

You possibly have the most well-chosen handle on this board; it describes your comprehension level perfectly.


May 22nd, 2009
12:35 pm

“null” – Far too many Americans are deceived by the phoney Left/Right paradigm & fail to realize that the GOP & DNC “leadership” are 2 sides for the same coin (controlled by the Globalist Elite). The GOP “Bushbots” are duped by the Neocon propaganda, whereas the “Dumbocrats” are deceived by the Marxist DNC rhetoric.


May 22nd, 2009
1:02 pm

This president’s policy is based on fear and he is misguided in thinking the world will see his kindness and ACLU constitutionality as strength.

It’s not about having the world see our kindness. It’s about having the world know we are not hypocrites who preach one thing and practice another!!!


May 22nd, 2009
1:08 pm

The Big O does not walk on water but does talk a good game when there are no consequences. With the first rejection by what had been all supporting politicians he should stifle his enormously inflated ego, claim he was unaware of many factors related to Gitmo, and say it will remain operational until plans for closure are accepted by all currently objecting parties except for those detained. Yes, Big O you are wrong in seeking to close Gitmo!!!!!


May 22nd, 2009
1:12 pm

.P.S. A talk radio personality correctly stated that Washington,D.C., is nothing more than Hollywood ugly.


May 22nd, 2009
1:19 pm

NULL: I guess you have all the information I need to keep safe and I should just ask you. I guess you have been in a shelter all your life. Did mom pick the books you read, did she select the girls you dated or boys, and did your parents shield you from the world that the rest of live.

You are right! 9/11 NEVER HAPPENED just like the moon landing. Why in the world would you accept the security information passed on by all the US security agencies. May you should talk to Prime Mistress Pelosi. She talks just like you.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 22nd, 2009
1:49 pm

Obama’s Deeds Vindicate Bush

By Charles Krauthammer

“We were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.” — Unnamed and dismayed human rights advocate, on legalizing indefinite detention of alleged terrorists, New York Times, May 21

WASHINGTON — If hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue, then the flip-flops on previously denounced anti-terror measures are the homage that Barack Obama pays to George Bush. Within 125 days, Obama has adopted with only minor modifications huge swaths of the entire, allegedly lawless Bush program.

The latest flip-flop is the restoration of military tribunals. During the 2008 campaign, Obama denounced them repeatedly, calling them an “enormous failure.” Obama suspended them upon his swearing in. Now they’re back.

Of course, Obama will never admit in word what he’s doing in deed. As in his rhetorically brilliant national-security speech on Thursday claiming to have undone Bush’s moral travesties, the military commissions flip-flop is accompanied by the usual Obama three-step: (a) excoriate the Bush policy, (b) ostentatiously unveil cosmetic changes, (c) adopt the Bush policy.

Cosmetic changes such as Obama’s declaration that “we will give detainees greater latitude in selecting their own counsel.” Laughable. High-toned liberal law firms are climbing over each other for the frisson of representing these miscreants in court.

What about disallowing evidence received under coercive interrogation? Hardly new, notes former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy. Under the existing rules, military judges have that authority, and exercised it under the Bush administration to dismiss charges against al-Qaeda operative Mohammed al-Qahtani on precisely those grounds.

On Guantanamo, it’s Obama’s fellow Democrats who have suddenly discovered the wisdom of Bush’s choice. In open rebellion against Obama’s pledge to shut it down, the Senate voted 90 to 6 to reject appropriating a single penny until the president explains where he intends to put the inmates. Sen. James Webb, the de facto Democratic authority on national defense, wants the closing to be put on hold. And on Tuesday, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, no Gitmo inmates on American soil — not even in American jails.

That doesn’t leave a lot of places. The home countries won’t take them. Europe is recalcitrant. Saint Helena needs refurbishing. Elba didn’t work out too well the first time. And Devil’s Island is now a tourist destination. Gitmo is starting to look good again.

Observers of all political stripes are stunned by how much of the Bush national security agenda is being adopted by this new Democratic government. Victor Davis Hanson (National Review) offers a partial list: “The Patriot Act, wiretaps, e-mail intercepts, military tribunals, Predator drone attacks, Iraq (i.e. slowing the withdrawal), Afghanistan (i.e. the surge) — and now Guantanamo.”

silent jay

May 22nd, 2009
2:05 pm

Right again, Bob.

There are more dangerous killers in cells on the top floor at Rice Street.

Any government that will build special prisons like Git for terrorists will eventually jail its own people in them.


May 22nd, 2009
2:19 pm

There’s nothing wrong with being fearful of killers. And anyone who thinks otherwise has been brainwashed by the liberal media. Barr’s piece is a good exaample.


May 22nd, 2009
3:31 pm

Jack, there’s a problem with irrational fear. Irrational fear is foolishness. Let me help you with a comparison:

“There’s nothing wrong with being fearful of guns. And anyone who thinks otherwise has been brainwashed by the gun lobby.”

You’re more likely to be killed on the road this afternoon than be killed by one of these guys in a federal prison (unless you’re a prison guard and then I’d still probably bet dying on the road is more likely).


May 22nd, 2009
3:33 pm

You hit the nail on the head Thogwummpy! Great comment!


May 22nd, 2009
3:52 pm

I like to see the Republicans being called out for what they do so well – play the fear card. Here’s another conservative columnist – this time David Brooks – saying essentially the same thing. Red his recent column at



May 22nd, 2009
3:53 pm

Phyllis Bearden

May 22nd, 2009
3:55 pm

Politicians have no spines. Bob Barr is just talking common sense.


May 22nd, 2009
3:59 pm

PB&J @ 15:52 – Brooks is another Neocon/RINO mouthpiece spouting the Machiavellian rhetoric to the sheeple. The GOP propagates this fear-mongering to justify the growing police-state. However, the (also Globalist Elite controlled) DNC is just as guilty. Note Orwellian DHS Sec.Napalitano’s labeling of Americans (who support full Constitutional adherence) as “potentially violent extremists”. It’s all to empower the police state so any dissension can be quelled accordingly!


May 22nd, 2009
4:38 pm

Just stay under your bed williebkind. You’ll be safe there.


May 22nd, 2009
4:43 pm

I guess I’m setting myself up to be called “idiot” or told to do something to myself in capital letters, but I can’t understand why it will take 80 billion just to start the shut-down process. That’s a lot of money per detainee when some good training exercises for all military branches would get them here with some left over to house them in federal prison for a long time.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 22nd, 2009
4:54 pm

PB&J, the NYTimes is headed for bankruptcy. The democrap party is folding fast. President Teleprompter’s poll numbers are headed straight downhill and Nancy Pelosi is headed for the unemployment office. It didn’t take 6 months for the democrap party to implode.


Che was a homicidal maniac

May 22nd, 2009
4:57 pm

Cheney KO’d President Hussein Teleprompter in one week.

The 10 punches Dick Cheney landed on Barack Obama’s jaw

The spectacle of two duelling speeches with a mile of each other in downtown Washington was extraordinary. I was at the Cheney event and watched Obama’s address on a big screen beside the empty lectern that the former veep stepped behind barely two minutes after his adversary had finished.

So who won the fight? (it’s hard to use anything other than a martial or pugilistic metaphor). Well, most people are on either one side or the other of this issue and I doubt today will have prompted many to switch sides.

But the very fact that Obama chose to schedule his speech (Cheney’s was announced first) at exactly the same time as the former veep was a sign of some weakness.

The venues for the speeches said something. Obama showily chose the National Archives, repository for many of the founding documents of the US, and spoke in front of a copy of the Constitution – cloaking himself in the flag, as Republicans were often criticised for doing.

To hear Cheney speak, we were crammed into a decidedly unglamourous and cramped conference room at AEI, favourite think tank of conservative hawks.

The former veep’s speech was factual and unemotional and certainly devoid of the kind of hokey, self-obsessed, campaign-style stuff like this, from Obama’s address today: “I stand here today as someone whose own life was made possible by these documents. My father came to these shores in search of the promise that they offer. My mother made me rise before dawn to learn their truths when I lived as a child in a foreign land.”

In terms of Obama’s purported aim for his speech – to present a plan for closing Guantanamo Bay aimed at placating Congress – he failed. The reception on Capitol Hill was lukewarm with even Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.


May 22nd, 2009
4:58 pm

I’m glad somebody is consistently pointing out this paranoia that’s taken over the entire decade. Somebody already said Orwellian, I’d say that’s just about perfect. Put them in Detroit, they wouldn’t last a day, you wouldn’t even have to imprison them, and then it could go away. They’re not the boogeyman.


May 22nd, 2009
5:03 pm

@Goober –

I certainly hope nobody calls you an idiot, because asking these questions is exactly what makes our republic a strong one.

First off, the estimated cost is around $80 million, not $80 billion. While still a large sum of money, it is very much less absurd.

While I haven’t read the bill – as that is for somebody with much more patience and intelligence than I have – but I assume the money is for the legal overviews and hearings of each detainee, along with the planning and actual transportation to the appropriate prisons, among other things. The plane ride alone should cost a pretty penny.

Bob Barr

May 22nd, 2009
5:24 pm

I appreciate one of my fellow bloggers catching the error in my blog article on Guantanamo Fear. The amount sought by the Obama Administration to begin the close-down of the detention facility was $80 million, not $80 billion.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 22nd, 2009
5:54 pm

Thank GOD for Joe Biden!

“Out of the loop” Joe Biden says decision to shut Guantanamo was “like opening Pandora’s Box”

Thank goodness for Vice President Joe Biden. In one of the few amusing parts of the Wanda Sykes comedy routine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, she said: “God forbid that Joe Biden falls into the hands of terrorists….We’re done. Oh, they won’t even have to torture him. All they have to do is go, ‘How’s it going, Joe?’”

Indeed. It seems that all a reporter has to do to find out about the pickle Barack Obama’s is really in over his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison is to ask the veep, who was talking to the press at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo on the final day of his trip to the Balkans.

So will Obama fulfill his vow – announced amid great fanfare in an executive order on day two of his presidency – to close the facility by January 2010? “I think so,” Biden responded, according to Newsweek’s Holly Bailey.

So perhaps he will. Or perhaps not. We’ll see.

Biden continued: “But, look, what the president said is that this is going to be hard. It’s like opening Pandora’s Box. We don’t know what’s inside the box.”

He also said that “to the best of my knowledge” the number of prisoners “who are a real danger who are not able to returned or tried” has “not been established” by the Obama administration.

So he basically just confirmed his predecessor Dick Cheney’s analysis that the decision was taken “with little deliberation, and no plan”.

For those citizens who might be a tad concerned about hardened Islamist fighters being housed in jails on the American mainland, the veep suggested they should visit the Unabomber or Richard Reid at the Colorado’s Supermax.

“There’s a bit of a hysteria about, well, my God, these guys are so dangerous. Go to some maximum security cells if you want to know some dangerous people. Matter of fact, it might be an awakening to them.”

Got that? Stop being hysterical and go buy a Greyhound ticket to the Supermax.

Rest assured though, Biden said that during his visits to Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo he’d discussed “the prospect of a detainee coming back to the region”.

That’s “a detainee”, singular. There are currently some 240 at Gitmo.

Of course, the vice-president might have it all wrong. He prefaced his remarks by stating that he was “out of the loop”.


May 22nd, 2009
10:26 pm

RE: SwedeAtlanta

First I find it very offensive that you think the US military is running gulags. Where did you find that we were cutting genitals? Sounds like some conspiracy theory crap. However, if there is primary source proof, let me see.

These detainees should be kept from our prison population. In addition to finding themselves in an environment rich with anti social criminals, they would be targeted by some of the inmates. With your interest in how the world views us you should shudder to think of American criminals killing Jihadist in American prisons.

The techniques used were not illegal. That is fact. I am speaking as someone who actually has been taught the legal issues. Not the rhetoric that us used to get your vote, but the legality of it. It is illegal to torture in the US. Legally under the Geneva and Hague Conventions, the detainees should have been treated as spies. It is legal to execute spies. So, which is the better treatment?

Our right to have a say in our government is being taken. Look at the courts, judicial review did not exist until Marshall gave it to himself. Now unelected judges can overturn legal democratic elections. California’s Prop 8 is an example. Obama is now the boss of what was private companies.