« Closing of Gitmo | Main | Praise for care center »

January 28, 2009

Questions about Gitmo

Four questions about The Star’s endorsement of bringing Guantanamo terrorists to Kansas City (1/24, Opinion, “No ideal solution for Gitmo detainees”):

  1. If Obama’s premise for closing Guantanamo is to enhance U.S. prestige, won’t the Kansas City area become a substitute for the worldwide anger that necessitates closing Guantanamo? Why will they love Kansas City more?
  2. If one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter, is The Star in favor of the Kansas City area becoming an international mass protest site? International travel to KCI is a breeze compared with getting to Castro’s Cuba.
  3. Obama has suspended the military commissions trying the Guantanamo terrorists. What is The Star’s position on the magnitude of the security, logistical and transportation challenges required to give Guantanamo terrorists their day in Kansas City civilian courts? Would those challenges be equivalent to establishing metro area light rail?
  4. The news article “Could Fort Leavenworth become the new Gitmo?” (1/23, A-1) quoted only Republican politicians on this critical metro area issue. The Democratic politicians with affected citizens (Sebelius, Cleaver, Moore, Funkhouser, McCaskill, Nixon) were amazingly mute. Did The Star forget to interview them? Did they have nothing newsworthy to say? Just wondering.

Phil Brewster
Overland Park

Comments

Dan Beyer

The staff of the Kansas City Star can't even run a newspaper successfully!!!
You're going to take ANY suggestion from this bunch seriously?!
Come on get real!
This bunch live in another world far removed from reality!

Kate

Here is a link to the letter Senator Brownback and Senator Roberts sent to their colleagues in June of 2008 urging against the relocation of Gitmo detainees to Ft Leavenworth http://brownback.senate.gov/pressapp/record.cfm?id=299730

It sounds like a pretty well-reasoned argument to me. Maybe whiny is in the ear of the beholder.

solomon

beaker,

IMO both groups are sometimes whiny, depending on if their side is in power or not.

Hard to think of anyone who'd only accept one side as logical or smart.

beaker

YEah republicans are whiny but Democrats are logical and smart.

TinaMcG

I thought Gov. Sebelius gave a very good argument for not bringing them to Leavenworth. Now, if Brownback and Roberts had listed some of those reasons, they wouldn't have sounded so much like whiny kids.

solomon

Kate,

When the President comes to town they fly into the downtown airport. The day before the huge plane carrying his motorcade arrives,(quite an impressive landing to watch) and the route out of the airport is secure.

I can't imagine that much security would be needed for an alleged terrorist.

I agree though with the posts earlier, spread them out to several Federal Pens. Gov Sebilius in her letter spelled out plainly why Leavenworth is a bad idea.

Engineer

Tom
You didn't answer my question. As to "throwing in prison" just what do you do with a non-citizen, non-uniformed, armed combatant taken on a foreign battle field? Aren't you entitled to hold such an individual until the hostilities are over? In WWWII such a person could have been summarily executed. No one is saying the government should just throw people in jail. However, hearings were proceeding so charges were being brought. Just why President Obama wants these proceedings sopped is not clear to me.

Marctnts

Tom,

Engineer makes a valid point. The contitution was directed towards US residents, of which the dentainees do not qualify.

The issue is really one of the "grey area" in the Geneva Conventions. Written in a time when "non-uniformed" cambatants were almost unheard of, those protected by the agreement must be members of a regular army or militia, and must meet ALL FOUR of the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) That of carrying arms openly;

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

It's obvious that our current enemy does not adhere to these requirements, and according to the Conventions, is not recognized as a protected combatant by the requirements therin.

Still, I think it's better to err on the side of caution with these "grey area" combatants and provide them a path of recourse intead of indefinate detainment, but when people point out that they are not "protected", they are technically correct.

Engineer

Tom
You didn't answer my question. As to "throwing in prison" just what do you do with a non-citizen, non-uniformed, armed combatant taken on a foreign battle field? Aren't you entitled to hold such an individual until the hostilities are over? In WWWII such a person could have been summarily executed. No one is saying the government should just throw people in jail. However, hearings were preceding that have now been stopped.

Marctnts

Kate,

My guess is that if the fed's can make HUNDREDS of trips between the federal pen and the couthouse every month (like I said before, with some REALLY bad dudes), one or two or ten trips for accused terrorists is probably no big deal.

Since using the military brig at the fort would have negative consequences for the fort's training programs, I say use the federal system instead. Spread the guys out over 5-10 different facilities, including Leavenworth.

After reading the book "The Hot House" about Leavenworth, my guess is that the guys would begging to go back to Gitmo.

Kate

Sol, I'm skeptical about how simple your solution would be in reality. Depends on how disruptive it would be to the downtown airport. And how complicated it would be to coordinate transportation through the jurisdictions.

Anyway, I don’t think suspending the military tribunal system is as cut and dried as the letter-writer makes it sound. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/29/AR2009012902021.html?wprss=rss_nation

Tom

Engineer, where in the Constitution does the executive get the power to throw anyone it wants into a prison with no charges and no trial for seemingly as long as they please?

TinaMcG

"I would still like to know just what criminal charge could be brought against a foreign, non-uniformed, armed combatant taken under arms on a battle field on foreign soil. Just what are we going to do with such people in a Federal Court set up to handle violations of a criminal code?? "

Heheheh, outstanding question, Engineer. Someone's going to have to define "terrorist", I guess.

BudRog

Take them to DC, arraign and give them bail hearings, appoint lawyers at the taxpayer's expense to defend them. If found guilty send them to Murtha's district as he volunteered to take them.

If we are to give them the rights of US citizens, why stop half way? Isn't that like being a "little bit pregnant"?

Engineer

I would still like to know just what criminal charge could be brought against a foreign, non-uniformed, armed combatant taken under arms on a battle field on foreign soil. Just what are we going to do with such people in a Federal Court set up to handle violations of a criminal code??

solomon

Dearest Kate,

Seems there would be less security needed to travel back and forth to KC than to the local VA in Leavenworth. A helicopter from the prison to the downtown airport would take 10 minutes, requiring no road closures, then the airport is 5 minutes to the Federal Courthouse.

Also, they are alleged "terrorists", that's what this is all about.

I read with interest the letter from the Gov of Ks. Thanks for posting it.

Kate

Marctnts, I disagree with you about the security concerns associated with transporting detainees. While I agree that the letter-writer was exaggerating, I do think the security would be a much greater concern than it is with other prisoners – as evidenced by concerns about transporting the terrorists to medical facilities outside the prison. I’m wondering about the logistics involved with making the entire route secure.

Kate

“The Democratic politicians with affected citizens (Sebelius, Cleaver, Moore, Funkhouser, McCaskill, Nixon) were amazingly mute.”

Governor Sebelius is against it. The letter she wrote to Secretary Gates can be found here: http://primebuzz.kcstar.com/?q=node/16827

solomon

TinaMcG,

That is the same question I asked myself that night.

To your point, as almost all federal prisons in the US have Muslim chaplins it seems it would make sense to divide them into groups, isolated from GenPop until their fate is determined.

TinaMcG

Why do they all have to go to the same facility?

 
About KansasCity.com | About the Real Cities Network | Terms of Use & Privacy Statement | About Knight Ridder | Copyright