Brilliant Washington Examiner columnist Byron York penned an excellent piece today on perhaps one of President Obama’s most notable losses — Democratic Party support for the closure of the detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The closure of the detention center had been at the center of candidate Barack Obama’s offensive when it came to preying upon Bush administration approaches toward the Global War on Terror and foreign policy in general. Due in part to Obama’s relentless characterization of the facility as an underlying cause of Global discontent toward George W. Bush’s United States of America, shutting down Gitmo became a rallying cry for the far left.
And, indeed, within mere hours of assuming the presidency and settling in behind the resolute desk as 44th president of the United States, Obama fulfilled the left’s mission, adding what many have described as essentially the straw which broke the camel’s back with regard to political correctness and its effect upon the prosecution of the War on Terror.
A new type of discontent followed, this time from the ranks of congressional Democrats and much due to hard work and solid arguments from their Republican counterparts. And just yesterday, news broke that Democrats would not include the $80 million earmarked for the closure of Gitmo in the upcoming $91.3 billion war appropriations bill. Two Democrat senators in particular have been vocal in their dissent, one likely, the other certainly not. York highlighted some of the remarks from Virginia Sen. Jim Webb–the likely dissenter–as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid–a shock, at least to me–in his piece today:
The Democrat who changed the terms of the debate is Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, a decorated veteran who give the party credibility on national security issues. Last Sunday, on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Webb, who once supported closing Guantanamo, said that detainees “don’t belong in our judicial system, and they don’t belong in our jails.”
“We spent hundreds of millions of dollars building an appropriate facility with all security precautions in Guantanamo to try these cases,” Webb continued. “There are cases against international law. These aren’t people who were in the United States committing a crime in the United States. These are people who were brought to Guantanamo for international terrorism. I do not believe they should be tried in the United States.”
Other Democrats agreed with Webb, and by Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had joined them. “I think there’s a general feeling…that the American people, and certainly the Senate, overwhelmingly doesn’t want terrorists to be released in the United States,” Reid told reporters at the Capitol. When asked if that included imprisoning Guantanamo detainees in the U.S., Reid said, “If terrorists are released in the United States, part of what we don’t want is them to be put in prisons in the United States. We don’t want them around the United States.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the Democrats saw polling data on the potential release of Gitmo terrorist detainees into U.S. prisons or, worse, into the U.S. itself and decided to change their tune. If nothing else, perhaps the spineless nature of the liberals is coming in handy — this administration, for example, has already changed its tune with regard to the release of detainee photos and, to a certain degree, with military tribunals, so perhaps a similar turnaround with regard to this particular executive order may be a possibility.
Start warming up the telephones, folks. Between this issue and the cap-and-trade bill, and considering the poll-related malleability of your garden-variety liberal, I believe that shutting down the phone lines might be enough to sway things in our favor.