Weekly Columns

Supplemental For Military Operations Does Not Include Guantanamo Funds

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Washington, May 14, 2009 | comments
Among the first Executive Orders from President Obama was that the Guantanamo Bay prison be closed within a year. However, months later the same question remains: what are we going to do with these people?

Closing Guantanamo might be a good policy if there was a workable alternative; however, the President announced the closure of this facility with no such plan in place. Even one of the most liberal, and powerful members of Congress is opposing this misguided policy saying, “When they have a plan, they're welcome to come back and talk to us.”
Today I voted for the 2009 Supplemental Appropriations legislation for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it did not include funds to close Guantanamo. The solution for some Democratic members has been to transfer these detainees to the United States. But who wants known terrorists in their communities?
Another major problem with transferring enemy combatants into the United States is that it could increase their standing to file for a writ of habeas corpus, which would grant them rights traditionally reserved for U.S. citizens, even though they are not. By relocating these terrorists, we are not only going to put them on U.S. soil, we may very well have to extend to them the same Constitutional rights afforded to you and me.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) waded into the debate about what to do with the detainees housed at the Guantanamo Bay prison and offered this solution: “give them the same ‘due process’ rights as American troops.” Congressman Schiff continued saying that he “thinks we can use the Uniform Code of Military Justice in the military courts which are very much a home-court advantage and we can hold up to the rest of the world that we’re giving these detainees the same due process we give our own troops when they’re brought up on court martial charges.” Why should terrorists be given the same rights as our men and women in uniform?

I believe these detainees did not commit a simple crime – these are individuals who committed acts of war and giving them the same rights as the men and women protecting our country is ludicrous. Detainees like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on America, and Abu Zubaydah, who personally trained some of the 9/11 hijackers are dangerous and we should not rush to close this facility with no plan in place.

I have written a letter to our President, asking that the Guantanamo detainees not be transferred to the United States. It is vitally important to me to keep our communities safe, and I strongly believe that transferring these detainees to our country will compromise our national security.
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Tags: Defense