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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

 
Symbolism

by digby

Here's the state of the Guantanamo debate from both the Democrats, the Republicans and the villagers on Hardball this afternoon It's not reassuring:

Saxby Chambliss: We know that the ones that are left in Guantanamo are the meanest, nastiest killers in the world. They getup every day thinking of ways that they can kill and harm Americans. And those are the individuals that we just can't afford to have transferred to this country and certainly we can't afford to put them into a position to be released into US society.

Matthews: Do you think our maximum security prisons are not adequate to hold them? We've got some, you know, a lot of killers in our prisons. We've got murderers, people who murdered again and again in our prisons, really horrible people in those prisons in our country. Senator, Chambliss, you're saying they're not good enough to hold these terorists, not tough enough to hold them?

Chambliss: No, what I'm saying is that once you put 'em on Americal soil, then all of a sudden they become eligible for a lot of rights that American criminal have and these are combatant detainees. These are not ordinary bank robbers or the nasty folks who they might be asociated with at these prisons.

These are folks that either have killed or tried to kill Americans. And we ned to make sure that they don't have the rights given to those criminals that are on American soil, such as the right of habeas corpus, and a certain number of them will probably be successful in a habeas corpus action and could be released in America. And we don't need to give the Americans the exposure of that nature.

Matthews: is this really a case of NIMBY?

Ben Nelson: It's certainly not in my case. I think it's inappropriate to bring those prisoners .. er combatants to America to house them to incarcerate them. It's just inappropriate. It's a matter of politics, it's a matter of policy, and even if you idn't run the risk of habeas corpus and some of the other rights that they might be able to assert on American soil, it's inappropriate. This is not the place for them. We need to work with other countries to make sure that they don't release them. That they keep them incarcerated. After all, they're their residents, they're their citizens and after all, they have an obligation here as well. It's not all on our shoulders in my opinion.

Matthews: The French sent Napoleon to St Helena. Is there another place besides Gitmo? I understand Senator Chambliss, the symbolism. Obviously the candidate Barack Obama didn't like the symbolism of Gitmo, but are we gonna have to face the fact that these guys are terrorists, they're going to have to be somewhere, it might as well be Gitmo.

Chambliss: Well, I understand what he's talking about from a symbolism standpoint and I'm not one who thinks we ought to keep Gitmo open for ever and ever and ever. But you've got to have a plan in place before you make a major decision such as closing Gitmo. It may take us three, four, five, ten years. I don't know what it will take us before we can d eal with each of these prisoners individually. That's what we're looking for. We're looking for a way to keep those prisoners housed and keep them off of American soil until some definitive plan is in place

Chris then noted the Robert Mueller said the terrorists could run the jihad from prison and Chambliss agreed that our prisons could easily become hotbed of terrorist activities because they are a breeding ground for recidivism. They are super smart, clever people who are experts at getting their message out.

Chris then asked Ben Nelson why we are so "dainty" about this and why don't just execute these dangerous criminals since they are evil and will always be evil. Nelson said we should send them back to their countries under the understanding they will never be released or at least will be rehabilitated as the Saudi Arabians do even though it doesn't really work.

Never once, during the entire incoherent, intellectual compost pile of a discussion did anyone mention the fact that a bunch of these "terrorists" are not guilty of anything. But I guess that's not important. If some grunt picked them up seven years ago somewhere in the world then they are guilty of being in the wrong place at the right time, 'n that's good enough for us.

I just have to laugh at the sight of Republicans defending our good clean All American killers against some SuperVillain Afghan farmer who "killed Americans or tried to kill Americans." I'm sure the American killers will happily vote Republican with that kind of endorsement (if they are ever let loose and Americans are "exposed" to them. )

This isn't even a debate. It's a pageant. A sick, stupid pageant



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