McCarthy: No horse-trading on Gitmo

posted at 11:36 am on March 5, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Conservatives may be high-fiving today after reports that the Obama administration will reverse Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to try the 9/11 plotters in federal court, but National Review’s Andy McCarthy says, “Hold the champagne.” As I wrote last night, the Washington Post story notes that the White House wants to use this as a trade-off to lower resistance in the Senate to closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, one of Barack Obama’s most public policy goals in the war on terror, and one that failed to meet the timeline he demanded.  Andy warns against thinking of national security in the same terms as Congressional pork and blasts Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC) for attempting a Gang of 14-style out for Obama:

If a deal to grant military commissions in exchange for closing Gitmo happens, it is a major win for the Obama Left and an enormous loss for public safety.

We were headed inexorably toward military commissions for the 9/11 plotters. We don’t need to cut a bad deal to get it. Congress was not going to approve funding to transport trained terrorists to the U.S., nor to hold civilian trials. As I said, we’ve already got military commissions for some enemy combatants, and if we play this out, we are likely to get them for most if not all of the combatant war crimes trials. And we are likely to get them at Gitmo — the best place to have them, and the place on which the public has expended hundreds of millions of dollars to construct a safe, humane, fastidiously Islamo-friendly prison with state of the art trial facilities.

Military commissions didn’t exist when the jihadists carried out the Cole attack in October 2000. For years, moreover, there has been a pending civilian indictment in the Cole case. Yet, despite these facts, the Obama administration called for a military commission for the Cole bombers.  Once they did that, there was no longer any coherent rationale for giving the 9/11 plotters a civilian trial. The only predicate for trying the Cole bombers by commission is the 9/11 attacks — so how do you do the 9/11 plotters in civilian court if the Cole bombers have to go to military court?

Furthermore, the public strongly opposes a civilian trial for the 9/11 plotters. There is only so much an administration can do against the will of the American people. Obama is pushing that envelope as far as it can go on healthcare.  He was not going to go over the edge just to give KSM a civilian trial. The President would have caved on this no matter what.

In sum, we were winning the argument. But instead, in Gang of 14 style, Sen. Graham and whoever else are treating the President like he has cards to play. Rather than just be quietly embarrassed over their loopy position that Gitmo causes terrorism, these senators are using that fiction as a reason for trading away Gitmo (i.e., a facility we need) in order to achieve military commission trials for enemy combatants (i.e., something we’d get anyway without the trade).

From the Post’s reporting, it’s a bit murky as to whether this decision had much to do with Graham’s efforts anyway.  Graham has been a critic of Gitmo since the Bush administration, but also opposed to trying captured detainees in federal court.  Graham hasn’t done anything much differently for the last two years on either score except step up his rhetoric in support of military commissions and get fairly quiet on the Gitmo issue lately. The reversal of Obama comes more from the reversal of his own political allies than anything Graham’s doing.

Of course, that doesn’t negate Andy’s point at all, and in fact strengthens it.  Poll after poll shows Americans opposing the closure of Gitmo, and since the attempted Christmas Day attack by the EunuchBomber, that has intensified.  Closing Gitmo and reading terrorists their rights is a lot more popular years after the last close call on terrorist attacks.  In the immediate aftermath, the public has much greater clarity on the difference between ordinary criminals and foreign terrorists hoping to annihilate as many Americans as possible.

We don’t need a Gang of 14 solution here.  We need people who take national security seriously, and who are less interested in swapping facilities for public relations reasons than in using the best solutions for the safety and security of the nation.  This isn’t a meet-him-halfway moment on policy.  Putting the 9/11 plotters in federal court was a stupid idea from the beginning, and so is closing Gitmo just to duplicate it in Thomson, Illinois.  We’re not required to exchange one stupid idea for another.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

McCarthy has the namesake…Go after them!

daesleeper on March 5, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Barry gave up missles in Eastern Europe to Russia in exchange for nothing; maybe he will do the same on commissions. Stand back and wait.

Vashta.Nerada on March 5, 2010 at 11:39 AM

I’m tellin’ ya…Lindsey Graham will be the lone Republican Senator to vote for Obamacare. He doesn’t get it, nor does he want to get that he’s not there to enable our domestic enemies.

SouthernGent on March 5, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Lindsey Graham is the new John McCain.

IronDioPriest on March 5, 2010 at 11:40 AM

There aren’t any horses to trade…but there sure are a lot of braying jack@$$es. Unfortunately, they’re running the nation!

Dark-Star on March 5, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Gitmo ain’t closing. No one wants to take the terrorists off our hands and Obama can’t just release them outright.

Doughboy on March 5, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Closure of Guantanamo Bay Facility Complicated by Discovery that “The Place Is Crawling with Terrorists” http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/10/closure-of-guantanamo-bay-facility.html

Mervis Winter on March 5, 2010 at 11:42 AM

I honestly don’t get this story. Where’s the real evidence?

It seems like paparrazi style crud, yet again.

AnninCA on March 5, 2010 at 11:43 AM

It seems like paparrazi style crud, yet again.

AnninCA on March 5, 2010 at 11:43 AM

What were you expecting from the man-boy sitting in the White House?

Dark-Star on March 5, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Behind every bad idea, there’s a RINO.

hawksruleva on March 5, 2010 at 11:45 AM

HE will do anything to pass ObamaCare…

d1carter on March 5, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Pivot will use this as yet another distraction from the abysmal employment numbers.

Bishop on March 5, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Lindsey Graham is the new John McCain.

IronDioPriest on March 5, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Nah- he’s more like an imitation McCain without even the semblance of a backbone.

hawksruleva on March 5, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Graham’s on a roll. Gitmo and amnesty for illegals. Strangely, McCain is quiet at present. Might it be the campaign?

a capella on March 5, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Make him fail, fail, fail. Graham et al., you stupid idiots, he has no cards to play. Gitmo–stupid idea that didn’t meet self-imposted deadline. NYC trial venue–even more stupid idea reversed by public outrage.

He has nothing. Why would you bargain anything?

DrStock on March 5, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Pivot will use this as yet another distraction from the abysmal employment numbers.

Bishop on March 5, 2010 at 11:46 AM

C’mon Bishop, Dingy Harry has said it was a GREAT DAY that only 36,000 have losted their jobs in Feb. You should fall in line my friend. :)

Dire Straits on March 5, 2010 at 11:49 AM

“… Gitmo — the best place to have them, and the place on which the public has expended hundreds of millions of dollars to construct a safe, humane, fastidiously Islamo-friendly prison with state of the art trial facilities.”

Someone should ask Obowma and Holder why they have never been to Gitmo and seen the facility for themselves…

Seven Percent Solution on March 5, 2010 at 11:49 AM

I still can’t wrap my head around this:

If Gitmo, basically a resort on the beach, is such a propaganda tool for Islamists, then a Super-Max facility in the heartland of the country will not be?

uknowmorethanme on March 5, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I’m going to suggest that Joe Wilson should consider a run against Graham. I think it would be good for South Carolina and the USA.

Dire Straits on March 5, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Nah- he’s more like an imitation McCain without even the semblance of a backbone.

hawksruleva on March 5, 2010 at 11:48 AM
_______________________

Graham is everything people think McCain is.

uknowmorethanme on March 5, 2010 at 11:51 AM

What were you expecting from the man-boy sitting in the White House?

Dark-Star on March 5, 2010 at 11:44 AM

I think she’s refering to Andy McCarthy, that well known paparizzi. :) .

a capella on March 5, 2010 at 11:52 AM

If Gitmo, basically a resort on the beach, is such a propaganda tool for Islamists, then a Super-Max facility in the heartland of the country will not be?

uknowmorethanme on March 5, 2010 at 11:50 AM

A lie told often enough becomes truth.

a capella on March 5, 2010 at 11:54 AM

Give Obama his due , he has trotted radical left plan after radical left plan out to the American people , and if it doesn’t fly he just does a 180 …..

ELMO Q on March 5, 2010 at 11:55 AM

There is only so much an administration can do against the will of the American people.

And Dear Liar keeps pushing that boundary.

rbj on March 5, 2010 at 12:01 PM

I think there’s much more to this than meets the eye. Obama is prone to making large concessions to his opponents in order to advance an agenda elsewhere.

Case in point: ABMs in the Czech Republic and Poland. Obama made a deal with Putin to remove the ABMs and in return, Russia would support efforts to curtail Irans’ nu-ka-lar ambtions. Putin promptly punked Obama after he announced cancelling the ABM plan.

In the present instance, Obama is scrambling to pass anything with the words “Healthcare” and “Reform” in the title. His propagandist, Gibbs, has stated the WH is willing to do “whatever it takes to get healthcare done…”. Could Obama be purchasing some Senate GOP votes by tossing Holder under the bus and KSM back to GITMO? It’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Cornhusker Kickback, Louisiana Purchase, etc. all seem to indicate a willingness to make outlandish and outrageous deals to grab a few votes.

The article above makes a point of saying “no deals are needed” to move the trial because:

a) Congress is not going to approve funding to transport trained terrorists to the U.S., nor to hold civilian trials.

b) …the public strongly opposes a civilian trial for the 9/11 plotters. There is only so much an administration can do against the will of the American people.

The will of the American people tells Obama that they don’t want ObamaCare. They are not objectionable to the idea of reform, just not any bill presently being batted around the US Capitol today. He doesn’t seem to give any regard to that, which is orders of magnitude more important than where KSM hears his guilty verdict, so why should we believe he gives a damn about what the American people think about KSM?

Back room deals continue unabated. Look for 1 or 2 GOP senators to jump on board ObamaCare. I don’t know if Graham would be one of them, but the odds are good (or in this case, bad) it’ll be him.

BobMbx on March 5, 2010 at 12:01 PM

I just realized that it’s been an awfully longtime, so here it goes:

I want a pony.

BobMbx on March 5, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Barry gave up missles in Eastern Europe to Russia in exchange for nothing; maybe he will do the same on commissions. Stand back and wait.

Vashta.Nerada on March 5, 2010 at 11:39 AM

That’s different, Russia isn’t the enemy. Republicans are.

MarkTheGreat on March 5, 2010 at 12:03 PM

If Gitmo, basically a resort on the beach, is such a propaganda tool for Islamists, then a Super-Max facility in the heartland of the country will not be?

uknowmorethanme on March 5, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Nothing short of release of all prisoners with parting gifts of all the C4 they can carry, would be enough.

MarkTheGreat on March 5, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Retire Grahmnesty. Did somebody float online campaign. If not we need to do that. This guy is IDIOTIC. Good Solid A+ IDIOT.

antisocial on March 5, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Hey Ed, don’t hang Lindsay Graham on North Carolina. He’s South Carolina’s mistake, once repeated.

Curmudgeon on March 5, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-NC)

Grahamnesty is in SC, please don’t put him off on us!

dookphan on March 5, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Someone should ask Obowma and Holder why they have never been to Gitmo and seen the facility for themselves…
Seven Percent Solution on March 5, 2010 at 11:49 AM

Have you seen the shopping at Gitmo, it’s just a little military exchange. What, you expect Michelle to buy some AA batteries, a box of cheese&cracker snacks, maybe an “I Love Gitmo” coffee mug?

Open a Tiffany’s, a Prada, maybe a nice Gucci store on base and PBHO will be down there in a second, entourage and family in tow.

Bishop on March 5, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Graham is everything people think McCain is.

uknowmorethanme on March 5, 2010 at 11:51 AM

As much as I dislike McCain, you’re onto something… Graham is horrible.

MeatHeadinCA on March 5, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Open a Tiffany’s, a Prada, maybe a nice Gucci plastic toy helicopter, DVD store and a pancake house on base and PBHO will be down there in a second, entourage and family in tow.

Bishop on March 5, 2010 at 12:09 PM

FIFY.

I just love FIFYing.

BobMbx on March 5, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Both the promises of closing Gitmo and civilian trials for terrorist like KSM were stupid, irresponsible,and 100% made by Obama.

….the American people are against both of these policies.

Why should the Republicans bail Obama out?????

Obama said he wanted the Republicans to “shut up” and let him do his thing….
….We don’t have to “shut up” but we should certainly allow Obama to reap the consequences of his ignorance and activism.

Baxter Greene on March 5, 2010 at 12:14 PM

I’m going to suggest that Joe Wilson should consider a run against Graham. I think it would be good for South Carolina and the USA.

Dire Straits on March 5, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Problem is, I belive Grahamnesty was just re-elected, so he has until 2014. Someone correct me if I am wrong on this.

mwdiver on March 5, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Graham should just put a big ol’ D behind his name, and be done with it. Dollars to donuts he came up with this, with the help of his BFF Rahm.

capejasmine on March 5, 2010 at 12:24 PM

The will of the American people will be a potent medicine in 2012…if we live that long.

publiuspen on March 5, 2010 at 12:27 PM

A Graham/Obama deal is hypothetical, at this point anyway.

percysunshine on March 5, 2010 at 12:39 PM

The biggest problems with civilian trials for KSM et al. weren’t the logistical and PR nightmares that such trials would pose, but the perversion of the American system of justice that would necessarily be needed in order for such trials to take place. Closing down Gitmo and transferring its detainees to US soil would present create a similar legal quagmire where the alternatives would seem to be lenient treatment and a battery of constitutional rights consistent with those granted people convicted of legal offences, the erosion of constitutional rights, or the creation of two systems of rights on US soil (which surely would never be upheld in courts of appeal).

I get understand why Democrats don’t give a d@mn about these problems. But I don’t get why Graham and other Republicans can’t see the legal nightmare that moving Gitmo detainees to the US would pose.

ProfessorMiao on March 5, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Premise 1: If Obama could’ve closed Gitmo, he would’ve.

Premise 2: The problem of closing Gitmo doesn’t change because of a change in a terror trial.

therefore..

Premise 3: Andy McCarthy’s premise is invalid.

franksalterego on March 5, 2010 at 12:54 PM

ProfessorMiao on March 5, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Sigh. Serious failure to edit. Time to go back into hibernation.

ProfessorMiao on March 5, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Putting the 9/11 plotters in federal court was a stupid AN INSANE idea from the beginning, and so is closing Gitmo

-Ed Morrissey

FIFY

Obama and Holder are stunningly delusional.

The DSM needs a new diagnostic category for people being this out of touch with reality / their instincts / basic survival.

Obholdism- a disorder of the perceptions where suicidal fantasies are mistaken for sober facts.

profitsbeard on March 5, 2010 at 3:17 PM

And don’t forget that Nancy Graham is also in the process of “fixing” that annoying illegal immigrant thing…

bofh on March 5, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Graham is just looking for a reason to bend over for someone…

urbancenturion on March 5, 2010 at 4:15 PM

I saw Graham actually state on Fox News Sunday that Al Qaeda uses Gitmo as a recruiting tool and then he said he knew this because Al Qaeda said so. Too stupid to realize when Gitmo’s no longer an issue, it will be something else with these terrorists – they will never be happy.

PatMac on March 5, 2010 at 7:59 PM

We don’t need a Gang of 14 solution here.

Or in any other conceivable political scenario, to be honest.

The Gang of 14 was McCain’s best attempt to plunge a pre-emptive knife into the back of what has now become the Tea Party movement.

Cylor on March 6, 2010 at 3:50 AM

Close it. House them with Pelosi, Reid, Hoyer, Stark, and the whole class of idiots in our legislature who want to have them close Gitmo. I suspect the new house guests would find the learning experience, learning how REAL pros “do it”, enlightening and even intimidating.

{^_^}

herself on March 6, 2010 at 4:59 AM