California has already begun working to empty its prisons in response to its massive budget gap, so at least they’ll have some room for a few al-Qaeda terrorists, if Senator Dianne Feinstein gets her way. Not only did Feinstein volunteer California, she also volunteered Missouri as well. Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) was not eager to accept, as he said to Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace:
WALLACE: We’ve got about a minute left. Senator Feinstein, I’m going to throw one other thing into the hopper. The White House is now acknowledging they almost certainly are not going to meet their deadline by next January for closing the prison at Guantanamo. And there is a story today that indicates they are close to making a decision to send some of the detainees, the 223 detainees, to locations here in the U.S. Will Congress allow that?
FEINSTEIN: Well, as you know, I’m one that believes very strongly Guantanamo should be closed, and I believe it can be done. I’m also one that’s somewhat familiar with the prison structure in the United States. And I know that there are maximum security prisons from which no one escapes in the United States, which are isolated from neighborhoods. And no one is going to put these people in anyone’s neighborhood, as some have tried to say.
WALLACE: So you’ll be OK with having some of these detainees in California?
FEINSTEIN: Yes. In a maximum security prison, I don’t worry about it, provided the prison is set up to accommodate it, and I believe we have facilities that are.
WALLACE: Senator Bond, you get the last word.
BOND: I — this is one of the areas on which Senator Feinstein and I disagree. I think Guantanamo is the best place to hold these hardened criminals. We don’t want to put them in our general prison population where they have and will radicalize other prisoners. They will draw their friends in Al Qaeda to come into the area from the outside. I wouldn’t mind seeing them at Alcatraz, but my California friends have minimum amount of high enthusiasm for that. But if they’re sick, they’re transferred to the federal Springfield, Missouri medical facility in my state, and my constituents and I think that would be a very bad idea.
Bond points out the logistical problems in housing international terrorists in facilities designed to hold domestic criminals. They can recruit among the prison population, not all of whom would spend the rest of their lives behind bars. When they get sick, the US has to get them to medical facilities within the community, which means increased risk, no matter what Feinstein says.
More problematic, though, is the legal consequences of committing them to domestic facilities. That gives them access to the courts, which they will use and abuse in any attempt to free themselves. They will get funding for unending and ludicrous complaints, which will eat up valuable resources, or worse, succeed in finding a judge with more time than sense.
What Feinstein cannot answer is why Gitmo has to be closed in the first place. It was designed for its purpose, which is military detention in a time of war. If Feinstein doesn’t like the processes and procedures, then fix them — but the detention of unlawful combatants is a military problem, not a civil problem, and should be conducted by the military in a facility expressly designed for that purpose.