The GOP won’t even let the military look at ways to shut down Guantanamo. They are not a serious people.
From The Hill, a headline which tells you everything you need to know about seriousness in the battle against Islamic terrorism.
Republicans: Military Broke Law Searching for Gitmo Alternative.
Sometimes headlines don’t contain all the information of the story, or are somehow misleading, due to either the constraints of the format or through deliberate clickbait techniques. That isn’t the case with this.
A trio of Kansas Republicans is accusing the Pentagon of breaking the law by spending money to survey potential Guantánamo Bay replacements in their state and elsewhere.
“Rather than spending zero dollars on site surveys, as mandated by U.S. law, the Department of Defense has spent over $25,000,” the lawmakers wrote to Defense Secretary Ash Carter in a letter released Monday. “This is following neither the letter nor spirit of the law.”
That’s right. Thanks to some provisions in defense and spending bills, the military isn’t allowed to spend a single dime to “transfer, release or assist in the transfer or release” of any prisoner in Guantanamo.
This is simply not the act of anyone who takes terrorism seriously. Even if you don’t buy Karen Greenberg’s argument about our liberties keeping us safe and the excesses of the war being criminal failures (criminal, and a failure), you should at least be willing to hear them out. These provisions, and the apparently ruthless pursuit of them, show that to the Republicans, symbolism is everything.
Guantanamo, of course, is all about symbolism (unless you are trapped there in an indefinite shadow of life, not guilty, but not released, your existence wasting away for someone else’s politics). It’s a symbol of everything wrong and cruel in our battle against al-Qaeda and ISIS, everything counterproductive and idiotic. And to Republicans, that’s the point.
Closing it would be giving in to liberals, and that’s why they have their insane counterarguments. It is, essentially, that these men who have been locked up for over a decade would somehow be able to escape Leavenworth, escape through the military base surrounding it, get into the country, and hook up with operatives who were like 5 years old when these men were first thrown into their long night. None of that is plausible. No one has ever escaped a Supermax, and the thought that after years of being out of the game (and some of them weren’t even in it) they would suddenly find sleeper cells betrays a deep airport paperback style of ignorance.
And that’s sort of the point. Guantanamo is all about sticking it to the smart people and upholding a chest-thumping form of nationalism, which boils down to “You can’t tell me this is bad, we’re Americans, so get bent.” It would be giving in to the liberals and the internationalists and the human rights pencilnecks and the Muslims and literally anyone who has thought about this further than their flag pin. That’s why they literally won’t allow the military to try to find a better alternative.
It’s not that they believe the military can’t find the better plan. It’s that they know they can. And that’s unacceptable, and that tells you all you need to know. It’s just about symbolism and feeling like you aren’t letting some dweeb tell you what to do. It’s fake strength based on the willingness to do what other people won’t, even if they won’t do it because it is blisteringly stupid.
The letter was sent by Kansas Republicans, and was dug up in part by Kansas Secretary of State, the odious vote-suppressing birther Kris Kobach. It’s not a coincidence he’s involved. These are whole careers built on denying civil rights and on the symbolism of aggressive ignorance. It’s the heart of the modern GOP, and it makes us less safe, less free, and less American.