Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Senate Dems Refuse Money to Close Gitmo

It’s hard to tell if this move is, as CBS News asserts, Democrats folding to rightwing pressure, or is an attempt to force Obama to put forth an actual PLAN to close Gitmo before approving any funding.  If the former, this should be greeted with horror and the left should besiege the Senate.  If the latter, we should  praise the Senate and besiege the WH to quit farting around and close the Gitmo gulag already. 

Maybe we should do both.  Obama’s exec order still has Gitmo set to be closed by the end of the year, with some detainees tried, some released who should never have been there, and others moved to other prisons while awaiting trial and/or release.  But he could close the thing tomorrow, if he wanted.  I’m not sure what funds are needed to shutter this gulag.

UPDATE:  Well, now we know. This is NOT Good News.  Spineless Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) has adopted rightwing talking points on terrorism.  This is a huge setback–at a time when polling is showing that the majority of Americans trust Obama and the Democrats on national security (the first time in decades). The Dems could use that new confidence to chart a new course–not behave like Republicans. This is very bad news.  Time to let Reid and the Senate know how we feel!

REID: I’m saying that the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, do not want terrorists to be released in the United States. That’s very clear.

QUESTION: No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States.

REID: Can’t put them in prison unless you release them.

QUESTION: Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit? …

REID: I can’t make it any more clear than the statement I have given to you. We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.

Later, Reid repeated that he would not support Guantanamo detainees being transferred to U.S prisons:

QUESTION: But Senator, Senator, it’s not that you’re not being clear when you say you don’t want them released. But could you say — would you be all right with them being transferred to an American prison?

REID: Not in the United States.

My comment: Now we’re more cowardly as a nation than in WWII? We held thousands of captured Nazis, Italian soldiers, and Japanese soldiers throughout the nation all through the war.  And why can’t we have CONVICTED terrorists in American prisons?  We held those who did the first World Trade Center bombings in American prisons–no problems.   We have mass murderers, mobsters, serial killers in all of our American prisons. What makes terrorists so unique?  Reid:  You’re now as much of a coward as Boehner, McConnell, Cheney and all the other GOP cowards who believe that fear of terrorism justifies an American gulag.  THIS MUST NOT STAND.

Here is Senator Reid’s email page.  And here is his phone number:  (202) 224-3542  Let Reid know that we, the American people, want this gulag closed, this site of American shame.  Let Reid know that if he can’t be a DEMOCRATIC leader, he should turn over his gavel to another, stronger, Democratic Senator—Schumer of NY or Durbin of IL or Feingold of WI or even Boxer of CA (though I’d rather see her win reelection first).


May 19, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Send them to Nevada ! Isn’t it odd that European nations aren’t rushing to accept them either ?

    Comment by Paul | May 19, 2009

  2. No, Paul, it isn’t. Europe isn’t being asked to accept Gitmo PRISONERS (tried, convicted) to keep in prison, but those who should never have been detained who need to be released. Europeans are rightly afraid that, though these prisoners were not radicals inclined to violence BEFORE their unlawful detention (and sometimes torture), they are now. They rightly see this as our mess which we have to solve.

    However, many nations have volunteered to take some released detainees as long as we start taking them first! That’s gonna be hard if we can’t even get Americans to agree to house the prisoners, NOT slated for release, in their local prisons.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | May 20, 2009

  3. I really don’t feel bad that some murderers were water boarded. They are still alive. As for innocent detainees give them a ticket to anywhere in the world they choose to go.

    Comment by Paul | May 20, 2009

  4. Shocked, I’m shocked. not that I TOLD YOU SO or anything!

    you guys are such suckers!

    Comment by Kathy | May 20, 2009

  5. Thank you for this post, Michael. I am so glad Celucien introduced me to this blog.

    Comment by Rod | May 20, 2009

  6. 1. Over 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody, to date. Whether at Gitmo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, or one of the CIA “black sites.” That’s according to the military’s own inspector general’s report.

    2. If we can’t get others to take them, those tickets may have to be to places in the U.S. And we may have to wait for their lawsuits for being detained unlawfully, without charge, and being tortured while in detention. Your tax dollars at work.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | May 20, 2009

  7. How many Americans died on 911 ? And now a plot was just foiled in New York that seems to have ties to a mosque in New York perpetrated by American born Muslims.

    Comment by Paul | May 21, 2009

  8. I am also very dissappointed about the Senate’s decision.

    Comment by Celucien Joseph | May 21, 2009

  9. Obama said that he was going to close Gitmo before his election as President. Actually doing it is an entirely different matter. He is learning a valuable lesson here.

    Comment by Paul | May 23, 2009

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