New President Barack Obama is off to a quick start, and — as promised — he's already used his anti-Bush pen to wipe away the jumblefuck that is Guantanamo Bay Camp for Suspected Terrorist Boys.
Well, kind of. But leaning toward not really…
Obama has already found that closing the prison is easier said than done. And if he fails, there'll be no shortage of Republicans to remind him that they told him so. On Wednesday, Senate Republicans voiced skepticism with the idea that the president would be able to break down a detention center housing what they claim most dangerous terrorists…
"I don't want them in Texas," said Sen. John Cornyn, (R-TX). "I intend to write a letter saying, 'Don't send them here. And I would suspect there might be Senators from 50 states who say the same thing. I don't know."
And there'd probably be at least 250 detainees writing similar letters agreeing with Cornyn about not being sent to Texas. (They may be suspected of terrorist activities, but that doesn't mean they're suspected of being stupid.)
Even so, at least one congressperson so far has stepped up and nobly offered his district as a place to house the detainees…
"Sure, I'd take 'em," said [Pennsylvania's Rep. Jack] Murtha, an outspoken critic of the Iraq war. "They're no more dangerous in my district than in Guantanamo."
Plus, he's probably pretty sure they'd vote Democrat.
But, really, the problems of closing Guantanamo Bay are a lot more complicated than finding a state willing to take millions of dollars of additional funding to keep 250 people locked up in some outback location…
The real challenges, however, are not political but legal in nature. The president and his lawyers will have to maneuver deftly in order to remove 250 detainees from a facility in under a year. Federal criminal trials will commence, and in some cases individuals will be transferred to other prisons.
"You want to handle this situation methodically to avoid complications," said Sarah Mendelson, Director of the Human Rights and Security Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "For every soul that has been held there you need to figure out each individual case and what the solution is. For those who can be released, there needs to be diplomatic arrangements. You can't send them to somewhere where they will be tortured."
Oh well then, we definitely can't send them to Texas.
Tags: Barack Obama, Guantanamo Bay, House of Representatives, John Cornyn, John Murtha, Pennsylvania, Senate, Texas