Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SC Senate GOP Harumphs the closing of Gitmo

The Republican Senate Caucus at the State House is trying to pass a resolution asking President Obama to not place detainees in South Carolina. Sen. Cromer who initiated the measure said today:

“Closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay is the wrong move for our country, it is better to have enemy combatants housed outside of the continental United States,” says Senator Cromer. “We have been very blessed over the last seven years, in that we have not had another terrorist attack in our country, but moving current detainees into the United States is just inviting trouble. And, I am certainly opposed to using the Charleston Naval Base as an alternative location. I hope Washington will hear this message. We must proceed with extreme caution, when it comes to this matter of national security.”
With that kind of silly logic it's no wonder two planes were flown into the WTC - the terrorist were only trying to spring Ramzi Yousef from jail. SC legislators are falling into a lazy line of rhetoric. To quote TPM:

Most of the Republicans' "not in my backyard" talking points rely on ginning up fear that housing detainees in U.S. prisons would make the facilities into magnets for terrorist attacks from outside. GOP rhetoric on the issue also suggests that the most dangerous of Guantanamo's current occupants, estimated to number between 50 and 60, would pose a significant escape risk if housed in the U.S. -- although little to no data has been offered to support that claim.

The bill will most likely pass and while it's symbolic for them and within their GOP cocoon, it won't make a damn. And as I see it, it shouldn't. I can't help but wonder if there's a subtext here to Cromer's plea. Already we're seeing that the ultimate fear once one accepts that the base is closing is that these detainees will obtain - wait for it - rights. Already a republican congressman is screaming in hypothetical that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed could become a citizen with detainee tranfers from Gitmo. I can see the image this creates in deepest reddest South Carolina as the cogs creekily crank yet produce nothing worthwile.

Lindsay swoons. Mark Stammers, the GOP congressional members jump behind the couch as Henry Brown has a heart attack. Jim DeMint, well it's Jim DeMint and there's nothing scarier than Jim DeMint - even compared to Jihadiis. And the Senate GOP Caucus is left with nothing to do but Harumph.

To prove how ridiculous such a fear is we don't have to get literary and quote the dialogue between St. Thomas More and Roper from a Man for all Seasons just to illustrate why applying the law of this land is important - although I will:

Lady Alice: "Arrest him!"

Sir Thomas: "For what?"

Lady Alice: "He's dangerous!"

Roper: "For all we know he's a spy!"

Daughter Margaret: "Father, that man is bad!"

Sir Thomas: "There's no law against that!"

Roper: "But there is, God's law!"

Sir Thomas: "Then let God arrest him!"

Lady Alice: "While you talk he's gone!"

Sir Thomas: "And go he should, if he were the Devil himself, until he broke the law!"

Roper: "So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!"

Sir Thomas: "Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?"

Roper: "Why, yes! I'd cut down every law in England to do that!"

Sir Thomas: "Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down--and you're just the man to do it, Roper!--do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?"
"Yes, I'd give the Devil the benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"

But even if you can't pick up on logic about the necessity for maintaining the law and obedience to the law (or don't want to) then consider this from Jeff Leiber, on the application of said law of this land on terrorists. From his diary titled The Addled Squirrel Rule of Conservative Thought at Daily Kos,

The first photo is, of course, of Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States PRIOR to the September 11. Mr. McVeigh... with full access to all that inconvenient legal crap... was tried, convicted and, on June 11th 2001, executed.

If that doesn't TERRIFY YOU FOR THE SAFETY OF AMERICA (and maybe you need an example of someone more FOREIGN SOUNDING) we then move to Ramzi Ahmed Yousef who was one of the planners of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Mr. Yousef made it OUT of the United States before being captured in Pakistan (hey, this is getting WARMER isn't it) and flown back, where he was, shockingly, TRIED AND CONVICTED (without having to stack a single deck) and is now serving time at Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

Finally, in the category of personalized horrific acts NOT HAPPENING ON A FICTIONAL TV SHOW (a 24 reference), we have the disturbing and deeply disturbed... Jeffrey Dahmer.

I won't go into the awful, horrible details beyond saying that he raced right on past "beheading" to "ingesting" and yet, again, a court of twelve Americans was able to try and convict him (and in a side-note that is sure to make YOU, if not ME, thrilled, he was murdered in prison).

Three cases... all adjudicated in an American court with the American system set up by the founding fathers of America in the likely probability that bad shit happens.

So that's why I was questioning what happened to all the Republican talk about Patriotism and the moral superiority and global commitment etc etc and what not that we've heard from the Republican party for the past eight years which has now melted away into Nimby Pimby Pussitude.

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