Congress is baaaaack!! And they’re headed toward the disaster of closing Guantanamo Bay, as Barack Obama has ordered.
, according to the New York Times
Congress is back from the Easter recess and the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, used his opening speech this morning to voice concerns about the Obama administration’s plans to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
This week, Congress will begin debating President Obama’s request for $83.4 billion to pay for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other overseas initiatives, financing that runs through Sept. 30. That request also includes money to close the Guantanamo prison camp.
“The president’s war funding request contains up to $80 million to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,” Mr. McConnell said. “The administration says Guantanamo will close, will be closed by next January. What they haven’t told us is what they plan to do with these killers once it closes. Well, Americans want some assurances that closing Guantanamo won’t make them less safe and, frankly, that’s a very important and understandable request.”
“Guantanamo,” Mr. McConnell added, “Currently houses some of the most dangerous men alive. These are men who are proud of the innocent lives they’ve taken and who want to return to terrorism.”
I’ll say they are. When I visitied during Christmas time, one of the terrorists moved his hand across his throat in a sign that he wanted to slash my throat. It is shocking (kind of) that Obama is moving forward on this. His own adminstration found that Gitmo is safe and abides by all Geneva Conventions. so we’re spending $80 million for what? To ensure we don’t hurt Europeans’ feelings?
The rest of the story:
Figuring out what to do with 240 or more detainees still being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison is a complicated challenge for the Obama administration, and the White House has begun negotiations with European countries that it hopes will accept some of the prisoners. In a gesture of outreach to Mr. Obama, during the president’s recent trip to Europe, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said his country was willing to accept one detainee.
European negotiators have insisted that the United States provide detailed information about all of the detainees that it wants to resettle outside the United States. But European leaders are also insisting that the United States accept some of the prisoners, a move which will be politically difficult for Mr. Obama precisely because of the type of criticism that Mr. McConnell unleashed today.
Mr. McConnell noted that among the prisoners is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, believed to be a mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. “We captured him while he was planning follow-up attacks to 9/11 including plots to destroy a West Coast skyscraper,” Senator McConnell said. “If we hadn’t captured him, he may have succeeded in launching the same kind of attack on the West coast as he carried out on the East Coast. This is a man who bragged about decapitating the American journalist, Daniel Pearl.”
And Mr. McConnell warned the administration of moving too hastily. “The administration as made a priority of closing Guantanamo,” he said. “But its first priority should be to assure the American people that the detainees at Gitmo will never again be able to harm Americans.”
He’s right. Dead right.