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The Guantanamo Quandary

Nothing like the idea of setting up a facility within the United States to house and try some Guantanamo Bay prisoners to set off our Readers Who Comment. We have an emotional debate going this morning about the Obama administration exploring just such a concept.

The president has promised to close Guantanamo, but that has proven to be more difficult than it would appear, as Peter Finn and Scott Wilson write. That's just fine with many of our readers, but an affront to the Constitution and the basic concept of human rights to others.

There are also comments bashing both Bush-Cheney and soft-headed liberals as happens with any story that is even vaguely related to the War on Terror.

We'll start with B2O2, who wrote, "The weird thing about this is that these prisoners are hardly any more of a danger to the average American than the typical street thug, the type of which is housed in jails and prisons in every state in the union.. Put the darn prison in my town. They are no more likely to break out than any other class of prisoners, and hardly more likely to wreak havoc than the average gang member. Sheesh."

But mharwick warned, "The group at GITMO would love to enlist and indoctrinate as many Americans as they can to their cause. Those who do not understand their devotion and fanaticism use sarcasm to divert attention from the truth of the matter. These men are dangerous and deadly and moving them is a logistics problem and expensive and dangerous. That is why GITMO should not be closed. The cases should go forward..."

The article cited administration concerns that there may be a category of prisoners who are deemed too dangerous to release but who cannot be tried because of a lack of evidence or the need to protect intelligence material, but that human rights and civil liberties groups oppose detention with trial. This caused ozma1 to say, "Those groups oppose it along with the history of Anglo-American jurisprudence since the Magna Carta and Americans who actually believe in the rule of law..."

shadocat added, "...Under the law, evidence presented at trial determines whether someone is dangerous enough to be locked away. Without a trial to determine guilt or innocence, who decides what constitutes a "danger?" Will the Human Rights Watch and ACLU be considered a "danger" for opposing this awful idea? Am I "dangerous" for publicly disagreeing with with the policy proposed in this article? This proposal is a highway to hell for America..."

Immanurse wrote, "...Gitmo can house these guys for a long long time, leave them there. The only reason they are to be moved is because a few people in this country think it "sounds" better. Grow up they are combatants the war continues they stay till it is over end of story and millions of dollars saved."

mhr614 suggested that "Alcatraz, located near San Francisco, would be ideal for these detainees. The prison is located in an area represented by two of the most liberal senators in the Senate, Boxer and Feinstein. And the ACLU would be nearby to engage in legal actions to free the poor prisoners."

ziggyzap asked, "Why didn't the Americans do this in the first place, instead of setting up a concentration camp at Guantanamo? The reason was that the Americans knew that if those captives were brought onto mainland USA, they could immediately demand due legal process, which would expose the fact that the Americans committed a litany of war crimes..."

prwolfe wrote, "I suppose I'm naive but is there a problem with the security of our U.S. based max. security prisons? Why are so many worried about containing terror suspects in our max sec. prisons? When was the last max. sec. prison escape? Getting out of Gitmo would save our nation many, many, many millions."

knjincvc said, "Gitmo has been a great recruiting propaganda bonanza for Al Qaeda, so yeah let's keep it open because the rubes believe if the prisoners are brought to the U.S. they get their walking papers."

PostToastie wrote, "I think brin[g]ing the GITMO prisoners to the US is a step toward the war on terrorism being fought increasingly on American soil. Do we want that?..."

airedaletwo asked, "What's the real difference between holding them in Gitmo and a prison in Kansas or Michigan? Answer it will be easier for the lawyers and progressive activists who want them out on our streets. It also will make it easier for the media to get the courts to force interviews with these people and to allow them to communicate with their fellow jihadists..."

BillKeller wrote, "This is what is required for the United States to protect its national security - have the courage to take upon itself the responsibilities of the rule of law and place these criminals in its own prison and deal with them in accordance with its laws. Time for even the Republicans to have the backbone to rise to the occasion."

Tukla wrote, "...America has become a land of crybabies, and the Republican Party its biggest whiners. Too bad the Democrats don't have the spine to do what's right and repeatedly cave into Republican tantrums on every issue. Now that's appeasement."

friedman1 said, "...suppose you were one of these people, held and probably tortured and now possibly to be imprisoned "indefinitely" for. . .what? Quite likely nothing for which there's evidence to bring you to trial... imagine for a moment you are in this person's place. Because, now we're into all-in-one prison-courthouse-militarytribunals-HomelandSecurity, all too soon you wll may be in that place too."

We'll close with la-mute, who wrote, "...I suggest a monument be built at Guantanamo when it is shut down forever, commemorating the Bush Administration's
utter stupidity and Evil. Something like Jeronimus Bosch's "Ship of Fools"

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  August 3, 2009; 7:01 AM ET
Categories:  Guantanamo , Terrorism  | Tags: Guantanamo, Obama, Terrorism  
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