Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reid Against "Releasing" Guantanamo Detainees To U.S. Prisons

Senate Democrats, led by majority leader Harry Reid (left), said that they will not provide the $80 million that President Obama said is needed to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center. They joined with Republicans in demanding that the president provide more details on the closing and assurances that detainees will not be sent to the United States. Reid explained the latter point to reporters as follows:

Reid: I’m saying that the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, do not want terrorists to be released in the United States. That’s very clear.
Question: No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States.
Reid: Can’t put them in prison unless you release them.
Question: Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit? I mean (OFF-MIKE).
Reid: I can’t -- I can’t -- I can’t make it any more clear than the statement I have given to you. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States. I think the majority -- I speak for the majority of the Senate.

"Can't put them in prison unless you release them"? Is there a lapse of logic here? If a detainee is transferred to another prison, is he "released" at any point? A reporter tried to press Reid for clarification:

Question: But Senator, Senator, it’s not that you’re not being clear when you say you don’t want them released. But could you say -- would you be all right with them being transferred to an American prison?
Reid: Not in the United States.

So Reid doesn't want the detainees transferred to an American prison if it happens to be in the United States. Anyone following this? Reid's objection comes despite the fact, as Andrew Sullivan points out, that convicted terrorists held in Florence, Colorado, alone include Zacarias Moussaoui, Omar Abdel-Rahman, Richard Reid, Jose Padilla and Mohammed A. Salameh, among others. 

To add more to the absurdity, there is a new, state-of-the-art prison facility in economically depressed Hardin, Montana, whose residents want the prisoners and the employment that jailing them would bring. Montana's three-man Congressional delegation, including Democrat Max Baucus, was not supportive, to the dismay of many local taxpayers. And, of course, Harry Reid wouldn't want them to be "released" to the Hardin penitentiary.

Guantanamo is a blight on the reputation of the United States, and it's time to close it. The Democrats are not helping by joining the Republicans in obstructionism.

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