Saturday, December 19, 2009

Finally, we have a definition for "victory"

This past week the Obama administration announced that it was going to transfer some of the detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois, a section of which is going to be purchased by the federal government and beefed up into a super-maximum security wing.  As expected the right wingnuttosphere (including many elected officials) wailed like banshees claiming it will make us unsafe, that the prisoners would spread their radical agenda as if religious zealotry is an airborne disease and basically spewing fear like a, well, like a Republican under a Democratic President.  It was distinctly reminiscent of when President Obama announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the self-professed architects of 9/11, would be tried in New York City not half a mile from the former site of the World Trade Towers he says he helped destroy. 

As usual the GOP has it entirely backwards.  Al Queda wants to change our behavior through intimidation - that's the very definition of terrorism.  They want us to run and hide, to compromise our ideals down to the very foundation of this country.  In short, they want us to act like they do with no regard for life, liberty or justice.  They want us to build and maintain Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram where we hold people indefinitely without charging them with a crime; Where we abuse them; Where prisoners are never given the rights that are promised in our Constitution. This sort of behavior gives them the best recruiting tools possible but more importantly it proves that they *can* change us for the worse.  It gives them a reason to continue.  Closing Gitmo, getting out of Iraq and eventually Afghanistan, putting KSM on trial and locking up terrorists on American soil will show them that we will not compromise what makes this country great.  We are stronger than that. 

The GOP loves to ignore inconvenient truths, like the fact that not a single prisoner has *ever* escape a super-max prison in the United States; or that we already house domestic and foreign terrorists here; or that more terrorists have been tried in New York district court than in any other so the legal and security experience is vastly in our favor.

Finally the Obama administration has shown us a path to winning the war in Afghanistan and it starts by being true to our ideals: File charges, hold trials, lock up murders once convicted, follow the laws that have kept us sailing true for over 200 years. Do what's right.   They'll see it.  They'll know.  And their foes, our friends, will be inspired to rise up with us to defeat terrorism the way it has to be done. 

And then we will see what "mission accomplished" really means.

Fighting that?  Absurd and cowardly bordering on treasonous.