Tag Archives: US Congress

Uighurs! Will Europe Take GITMO Detainees? Not if We Don't!

One of the more bizarre aspects of the debate over where to relocate some inmates detained at Guantanamo Bay is this. Several European countries which had previously agreed to take some of them are now hesitating. Their reason?

It’s the reluctance to do the same right here in the USA.

We’re not talking about the high risk terror suspects who will remain locked up. We’re talking about people both military and federal courts said should be freed.

The Obama Administration planned to resettle about 50 detainees in a number of European countries, who had agreed to take them in. The drumbeat of opposition in the Congress to allowing detainees on US soil has until now largely been centered on those who would remain detained. Now, however, the ante has been upped in the case of 17 Chinese Uighur detainees.

Who, you may ask? Uighurs are Chinese Muslims, and all 17 were captured in Afghanistan after the Sept., 11th terror attacks.

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Last October, a federal judge said none posed a security threat and should therefore be freed. Problem is, their attorneys say to return them to China would condemn them to certain imprisonment or possibly death.

The German government had tentatively agreed to resettle nine of the Uighurs in Bavaria, where a community of them already exists. However, the inability of the Obama Administration to reach agreement on resettling several of them in Northern Virginia has seen Germany’s willingness evaporate. The central question here is whether these people represent any security threat, either to the US or Germany.

The US courts have said no, and in fact have ordered the release of 21 GITMO detainees, including the Uighurs.

That’s not good enough for some members of Congress, who want no detainees on US soil, no matter what the courts may say. So then the question must be asked, not of the Europeans but of us. When and under what circumstances are we willing to admit the detention of some of those at Guantanamo was wrong?

We know some of our elected representatives on both sides of the partisan divide have no interest in this fundamental question of justice.

This is not, by the way, a call for freeing dangerous people onto the streets of America, and our elected officials know this (or should). We locked these people up. Dealing with the relocation of the innocent among them is our responsibility, not Europe’s.

So how do we solve this?

The Uighurs and their situation is metaphor for a lot more than simply where they end up. Do we trust our court system? Isn’t this at some point about the rule of law?

You tell me.

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Economy? Who cares…

You may have noticed, as I have, that our politicians seem to have stopped talking about the economy.

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Nope, what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it…Dick Cheney’s trash talk…and whether US prisons can house terrorists …seems to have blown economic news right off the front pages.

The question is, did somebody fix things while the rest of us weren’t looking, or is our attention being diverted for a reason?

Cynic that I am, I choose the latter. Take a look around, America. While things may have bottomed out, they certainly haven’t gotten better. And here’s a telling statistic for you. Last year, there were about 1.7 applicants for every available job. Right now that number is 4.8 applicants. That means those who have been thrown out of work are facing daunting obstacles to finding a new job, even if they’re good at what they do.

Chances are, there are four other people just as good who have sent their resumes to that same HR department. And that’s a single stat. Expand that outward and what you see is a wholesale scramble to reinvent or reset job skills to fit a fast changing market.

But how much do we read or know about the struggles of the everyday working person, or person seeking work?

Hey, that’s not important, pal! Ridiculous arguments about who’s calling the CIA liars (which, by the way, GOP Pelosi stalker Pete Hoekstra actually did), now that’s important.

Barack Obama making the mistake of getting into a spitting match with Dick Cheney (Dick Cheney!!!) over national security is what we ought to spend our time contemplating this Memorial Day Weekend.

Oh, and by the way, our lawmakers don’t just take Monday off. They’re off the whole week! And the House calls it the Memorial Day District Work Period, and they do so with a straight face. The economy, health care, climate change, they’ll all keep until Congress returns. And when it does, we’ll hear more about Republicans wanting a full blown probe of Nancy Pelosi.

Houston, we have a problem. It’s called MISPLACED PRIORITIES. America has a long way to go before the major work that needs to be done to fix things is even halfway finished. When Congress returns, how about they grow a spine and tell Republicans we have a list of terrorists being held in US prisons as long as your arm already. They include everyone from shoe bomber Richard Reid to 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui to American Taliban John Walker Lindh.

Keeping GITMO open or jobs for the American unemployed, which is the Republican priority? Providing health care to those who don’t have it, or trying to gut Nancy Pelosi?

There are choices, aren’t there?

Which topic do you think should be headline news?

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