Opinion: If not NYC, where else could Obama’s administration possibly try the Guantanamo Bay prisoners?

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Now that the Obama administration’s Justice Department appears ready to deny the publicity-seeking self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind, his alleged cohorts and their defense attorneys the brightly-lit global stage of Broadway and the Big Apple for the trials, the debate begins over where best to hold them.

Chicago’s South Side Hyde Park doesn’t seem to be on the list of possibles. Nor Eric Holder‘s neighborhood.

Gee, if only the United States had a secure military-type prison 90 miles offshore where it could not only safely house these accused possessed evildoers but try them as well.


Now comes a new Rasmussen Reports poll that could make President Obama hit his forehead with the palm of his hand: Why didn’t we think of this?

Rasmussen found 44% of U.S. voters suggesting the trials of Guantanamo Bay prisoners be held in a place called Guantanamo Bay, which is 90 miles offshore on the island called Cuba.

Thirty-three percent don’t like that idea, but weren’t volunteering their town. And 23% couldn’t decide.

Nineteen months ago, 54% of Americans thought these foreign guys should be tried by military tribunals on account of their allegedly being involved in a military conflict against the United States and its people.

As a result, the Obama administration decided to try them instead in civil courts as if the accused were American citizens full of rights. This decision can’t be changed because Holder’s Justice Department already dropped the military charges before placing the civil ones.

So now today, more than two-thirds of Americans (67%) think military tribunals are or would have been the route to go.

There’s another homemade Obama catch. During the 2008 presidential campaign, as part of his change platform, the ex-community organizer promised to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility because it had a bad reputation. As opposed to, say, any other prison on the planet, which typically are so well-thought-of that the facilities must have barbed wire all around to keep people from breaking in.

Guantanamo was especially ill-thought of among millions of people overseas who can’t vote in the U.S.

In fact, despite warnings that it was more difficult than it seemed from Springfield, on his second day in office before he’d even found all the White House bathrooms, Obama signed a real Executive Order ordering the Guantanamo prison closed by the end of 2009.

He couldn’t follow his own Executive Order. Missed the deadline. Completely blew it.

In fact, it was more difficult than it seemed from Springfield, or anywhere else for that matter. Turns out, few of the other countries that were so eager to have Guantanamo closed were so eager to imprison its inhabitants on their soil. And it also turns out that, if released, about 1 in 5 of these guys went right back into combat against American and allied troops, which is a dangerous thing.

So despite the promises and the Executive Order, in fact, there’s still no new or maybe firm date for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Although, by golly, it will be closed. Believe in it.

In the meantime, however, the secure facility is still there. Still secure. So are the prisoners. And the best part is, Guantanamo has no member of Congress to get his/her behind shot off by angry voters in this fall’s midterm elections. As The Ticket pointed out here could happen in Illinois Tuesday.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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