Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Terrorists in your backyard jails?

To listen to both Democrats and Republicans about closing Guantanamo and transferring those terrorists to U.S. jails, one would think that we were talking about supernatural aliens.

Now, I've not made a study of terrorists, but those guys who flew into the World Trade Center weren't super-human. And they didn't take down the towers with other-worldly weapons. And they could have been stopped by ordinary people.

Moreover, there are, I understand, only a couple hundred left of the "worst of the worst" - who have, it appears, been there for years. It is unlikely that they know much of anything worthwhile at this point or, for that matter, would be trusted by their former associates if they went home.

As for our jails: I know Conservatives like to complain about how we baby criminals, but most U.S. prisons today aren't much better than what could be found in Dickens' England - and some do hold prisoners who are every bit as dangerous and violent, I would suspect, as any of the prisoners at Gitmo.

If our top-security prisons are incapable of preventing terrorists from escaping and doing harm, isn't the logical follow up conclusion that maybe they are not sufficiently secure to handle our native criminals?

But, then, that has been the problem all along. Gitmo, the abandonment of habeas corpus, the military "tribunals" were all created by men who fundamentally disapprove of America's judicial system as it exists, who fundamentally still believe (in spite of conviction rates exceeding 90%) that our court system babies criminals and ignores victims, who think that the law unnecessarily hamstrings the police. Gitmo was created by people who still think the Miranda ruling was judicial activism at its worst, who don't think that the accused have a right to counsel.

Isn't it time for somebody, somewhere in the media to confront the fear-mongering and the fundamental disconnect that created Gitmo and keeps it alive?

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