Keep Terrorists Out Of Our Yards

Susan Page
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Wednesday - May 27, 2009
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The NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) syndrome is always alive and well. When it comes to prison overpopulation, the drug addicted or mentally homeless and ever-mounting garbage, no one wants a prison, rehab facility or landfill in his or her neighborhood.

Neither do NIMBYs want a terrorist released in their backyards.

The state-of-the-art detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, home to 240 enemy combatants, is soon to be dismantled. Where the detainees will be brought to justice and ultimately will go is up for grabs with ever-changing decisions from the “changer-in-chief.”

In January, President Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanamo prison by January 2010 to fulfill an oft-stated campaign promise that now isn’t jiving with many Americans or their representatives. Just last week, ostensibly because he hasn’t presented an alternative plan,

U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly denied Obama $80 million to close Guantanamo.

Real reason? NIMBYs. Even Senate Majority Leader from Nevada Harry Reid, chief ballyhooer for Guantanamo’s demise, doesn’t want them in the U.S. and neither, frankly, do any other countries want them. Of 240 detainees, 30 are up for release. So far only France and Britain get one each. California Democrat Sen. Diane Feinstein wants detainees brought to the U.S. and put on trial, but imagine if one of California’s infamously leftist pedophile-releasing judges presides over one of these cases.

Last Wednesday the New York Times reported, “Lawmakers, mindful of polls showing wide public opposition to bringing detainees to the United States, have expressed concerns about the safety of their constituents, and some have said that any location housing detainees, even the most secure prisons, would become a potential target for a terrorist attack.”

In February, Obama’s rush to shut down military tribunals resulted in an automatic dismissal of charges against accused detainees on or up for trial, including those against admitted Saudi USS Cole bombing plotter Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Families of the 17 sailors killed in the 2000 attack begged for justice for their loved ones.

Now, the “change” president is changing his unrealistic original change by temporarily reinstating tribunals. (Contrary to the good movie A Few Good Men, our military justice system embodies the same excellence as that of our overall military.)

Regarding Obama’s flipflops, Americans are discovering that he’s not so “cool” when sitting on the “hot” seat.

Current Pentagon reports say one in seven freed detainees (74 of 534 released outside U.S.) rejoin the fight against American troops and American targets abroad. Imagine the difficulty in tracking and identifying men who routinely change their looks and names. One freed detainee,Yemeni al Qaeda leader Said Ali al-Shihri, was responsible for last year’s deadly bombing of the U.S. embassy in Yemen. Another, Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul aka Mullah Abdullah Zakiris, is now an Afghan Taliban commander.

Also problematic are Obama’s conciliatory gestures to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who last week gestured back with a long-range missile test that can reach Israel, Europe and some of our military bases. His missile test last November garnered an Obama ultimatum to quit testing by the end of 2009, long enough, military experts fear, to develop and “test” a nuclear warhead on Tel Aviv. Mahmoud must be shaking in his jackboots over the threats about as menacing as: For the tenth time, I said stop with the testing of those missiles or I’ll go to the U.N. and ask Russia to write you a really strong letter.

NIMBY Alert: Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program could eventually wind up in our backyards in the form of extortion, nuclear threat to our allies and the death of Americans overseas.

In his eagerness to banish all things Bush, Obama might pause to remember the 9/11 attacks and early aftermath. My backyard (and yours) has been safe for the seven years the Guantanamo detention center has existed, so he should think carefully before throwing it out with the bash-Bush bathwater.

Most Americans have a media-skewed impression of the Guantanamo Detention Center. Our history’s most-visited, vetted prison facility ever by press, Congress, doctors, lawyers and human-rights groups deserve your honest look. Detainees there have it better than most Sub-Saharan African children I’ve seen. Visit and Jerry Coffee’s MidWeek column _gitmo_is_a_gulag/

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