Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Gitmo Bait & Switch

The AP reports this morning that a significant step in closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay has been taken. The article is below, but to cut to the chase, the prisoners currently held in Gitmo will be moved to an underutilized prison located in Illinois.

AP sources: Ill. prison to get Gitmo detainees

This is being painted, of course, as good news. Moving the facility to the U.S. will bring much needed jobs to Americans, and the President, no doubt, will throw this achievement on the table as a flagship campaign promise that he kept.

There are just two little problems.

First, the whole issue with Gitmo was not that there was a prison located there; it was – and still is – what was happening at that prison:

Hundreds of “suspected terrorists” were being rounded up, arrested, and held there indefinitely. No charges were being brought against them, they were not told what they were arrested for, and they had no right to an attorney or a speedy trial or anything else that we afford to even the most base of criminals.

Oh, and we tortured many of them repeatedly, in a variety of new and exciting ways, kind of like they did during the inquisition except that 1) since we are the “good guys” it’s ethical now, and 2) because of improvements in torture technology, any confessions we gained were 100% viable.

The fact that these things were done on a military base located in Cuba is what really made all of this remotely acceptable, because Cuba isn’t the United States, and the prisoners weren’t really criminals in the ordinary sense; they were military combatants, and since – conveniently – there was a war going on we could hold them as prisoners of war for as long as we wanted.

The outcry about Guantanamo was that people wanted it shut down, not moved. What sense does moving it make?

Imagine a wife being angry at her husband for having a long-standing affair with “Lucy”. She wants the affair to end. What has been accomplished if her husband stops seeing “Lucy” only to start sleeping with “Susan”? Would this make the wife happy?

No? Then why would we be satisfied, because that’s exactly what is going on here with Gitmo.

But it’s actually even more ridiculous – and damning – than that, because there is a second problem with this Gitmo solution, and it should make every American bristle with alarm.

To continue with the “affair” analogy for a moment, not only is the husband merely dropping one mistress for another, he’s actually moving her into his own house! Again, should the wife be happy about this?

Think about this for a second: We are moving the Gitmo prison into the United States.

What does that mean? It means that it is now acceptable to the American people to have a prison within our own borders where people can be arrested, held without being charged with a crime, afforded no rights, given no trial, and – if a confession is needed to validate the whole thing – tortured.

And it's okay with us!

We have created a war that is unwinnable, and can therefore be “fought” indefinitely. We have made it acceptable to arrest people based on what they might do. We are continuing to broaden the definition of “terrorist” to include almost any group of people who might speak out against the government.

And now we have our very own U.S. “terrorist” prison to lock them all away.

Well, let me rephrase that; we have our first U.S. “terrorist” prison. We can certainly build more of them if we need to, because we’re setting a precedent here, and once a precedent is established, it’s simply a matter of repeating it over and over and over.


MamaHen said...

So very, very true.

Carole said...

Good post. Thanks for the enlightenment. I'm more thankful each day that our God reigns.

Kimberline said...

I live in the mid section of Illinois. We are beginning to take steps to get out. This new use for a vacant prison was just one more straw in the basket on the camel's back.

Other straws? A huge coal mine (it will be the largest in the world) is going in under our county and neighboring counties. It is going to ruin the roads, ruin the topography, put people out of their homes, devalue other homes, make vast areas of farmland lower than the water table and that is just the tip of the iceberg. The past shows evidences of what coal mining does to an area. It decimates it.

Chicago Transit requires downstate funding of their bloated and expensive system. Downstate people pay the cost of getting themselves to work and where ever else they need to go, but Chicago residents get subsidies to get around. They should have to pay the actual cost of that system and not put the burden off on those who do not even use it.

The prison systems are a joke. They press to bring them into communities saying it will benefit them financially. Within a few years of a prison going in near someone, there is talk of unsafe conditions because of understaffing of prison guards. Property values go down and the community is damaged by the type of people drawn into the community to be close to family they visit in prison. Prisoners leaving the system then often settle in the community because their families have established there. Our prisons don't have a good record of rehabilitating criminals, so why would you want the prison system picking your future neighbors from among the most dangerous and depraved of citizens?

This new idea of housing Gitmo prisoners here is nuts. Many of the prisons over Illinois are overcrowded and then there was this one, handily sitting vacant. It is pretty apparent this state can't manage the things it bites off, like getting taxpayers to fund prisons that then sit empty.

State taxes are going up possibly by 50 percent if the politicians get their way. It won't make a difference. This state is bankrupt and looking to improve itself by getting a bankrupt government to fund terrorists in a vacant jail here. When increased taxes and opening a jail won't help, they will allow for sales taxes to be increased.

Fees on everything in Illinois just jumped up. An example of one fee that went up exorbitantly is the cost of a 4 year driver's license. It was 10 dollars until October. Now it is 30 dollars.

Property taxes here are soaring. Since communities can't keep up with increased costs, they have to pass on those increases to the people of the community. They had better be looking around at the dire situation these citizens are in. EVERYTHING is going up except people's paychecks. Many are without jobs now and many are losing their homes in these same communities.

At some point it is too costly to stay. Even if we would want to cough up more money, live on less, I find that the way this state runs things demoralizes those of us who have a conscience.

At some point, the corruption just sticks in the craw and you just can't take it anymore.

The problem now is...can we even sell? If we do, how do we find the place that would be better? It seems a big order on top of a large difficulty.

I'd like to be out of Illinois before they admit that bringing those gitmo detainees here was a mistake.

That's a far step beyond the last straw in my opinion and is the outcome that most people in our area expect from that fiasco in the making.