Thursday, May 21, 2009

Talking Points for Weak & Spineless Dems

So yesterday all but 6 Senate Democrats joined with their Republican cohorts to deny President Obama funding to shut down the Guantánamo Bay detention center (Gitmo), which has been a scene of torture and called a violation of international law. That a Democratic majority in the Senate still can't realize they're in charge and vote to assure progressive measures by a Democratic President, just highlights the weak and spineless behavior we've become accustomed to under Sen. Harry Reid. But the argument put forth by those voting against funding was so asinine and preposterous, it can only be called pathetically stupid.

More after the fold...

The argument was first floated by Republican strategists during the Bush era, who asked where would the Gitmo "detainees" go if the base at Guantanamo Bay was closed? This was picked up most recently by Peter King (R-NY) who claimed something sinister would happen if suspected terrorists were brought close to Ground Zero. The Republican noise machine--led it seems by Dick Cheney who emerged from Mordor to do a recent medial blitz--continued to chime in, warning of the dire results of "releasing" Gitmo "detainees" in the U.S. And for this, Senate Democrats ran and caved, still fearful of being called weak on national security and unable to muster up talking points that a seven-year-old could draft.

Here are a few. Thank the next seve-year-old you see...

(1) Having a fair trial that does not disobey international law does not equal "releasing" Gitmo "detainees." It's not like the handcuffs are going to come off and they'll just be left to run into the American wilderness. No one is talking about setting up a "detainee" in a condo and giving him a government stipend to do research. They'd be in prison, not put under house arrest with an ankle band. And then, hopefully, they'd be able to get a trial to determine if they even belong there in the first place. As it stands, keeping them in limbo is not an answer.

(2) As John Stewart pointed out on the Daily Show, these guys aren't Warlocks. Are we really to believe that U.S. police, military and other security forces can't handle shackled and bound prisoners? They do this every day. Do these detainees have mutant powers or something? What is behind this ridiculous fear that these figures are so toxic, they can't set foot in the U.S. and be brought to trial? Who is going to bust them out, COBRA?

(3) A familiar GOP talking point picked up by some weak Democrats is that they fear the "detainees" will "radicalize" U.S. prisons. I think it's pretty safe to assume that any prisoners from Gitmo wouldn't be roaming about in general population. The U.S. has held everyone from Timothy McVeigh to the blind cleric Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman, most often away from the rest of the inmates. Unless they have psychic powers of mind control, this is a red herring.

(4) Have the entire Senate watch MSNBC's Lock Up sometime. Be sure to include the scenes of inmates who talk about eating someone's brain and others who brag they can't wait to "get their knife wet." And these are all 100% American grown criminals. It ain't exactly Disneyland in there. If anything, the "detainees" should be kept out of general population for their *own* safety.

(5) Lastly, look up the term Prison Industrial Complex. Tell these GOP "lock em' all up" supporters suddenly turned "timid" about the effectiveness of maximum security facilities that when it comes to jailing people, the U.S. has the world beat--hands down. Prisons, along with weapons, may be about the last great export we have for the world. If we can't house them here, no one can.

An update-

As expected, spineless Dems caving in to right-wing talking points has only emboldened the GOP noise machine--who are launching a stinging offensive using every tool at their disposal. Senate Democrats meanwhile are in disarray--as tends to happen *every time* they do something weak and gutless. Good. They deserve the heat.
Secondly, President Obama has thankfully come out today and stated forcefully that he intends to shut down Gitmo and won't be deterred. Good for him. Good for him. Two things however, President Obama: (1) When you refuse to let your Justice Dept move forward on investigating torture and other acts that took place at Gitmo, you allow stupid right-wing talking points and Darth Cheney to run amok saying anything--because they know they won't be prosecuted; (2) When you block the release of photos and other evidence related to the abuses done under a previous administration, you deflate your own ethical high ground and then your own party will retreat at any given opportunity. Learn from these mistakes.


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