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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - May 21, 2009 - Obama Set to Duel Congress & Dick Cheney

Update: Politicol: Barack Obama and Dick Cheney battle over war on terror policies "In an extraordinary crosstown debate carried live across the airwaves, President Barack Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney battled Thursday over the Bush administration’s war on terror, with Cheney issuing a scathing rejection of the new president’s policies and saying Obama is leaving the nation exposed to attack." See also: Former VP Dick Cheney Speaks on National Security

Today, the Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 2346, the fiscal 2009 war supplemental appropriations bill. Cloture is expected to be invoked, and a few post-cloture amendments could be considered. Work on the bill could be completed as early as this evening.

Today, in the wake of yesterday’s overwhelming Senate vote to deny the Obama administration funds to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, President Obama decided to deliver a speech this morning discussing Guantanamo and national security. This is interesting that Former Vice President Cheney was already scheduled to give a speech on national security at the American Enterprise Institute. Is this a preemptive action because Cheney was speaking on the topic and Congress had just rebuffed Obama's planned action?

Yesterday, the Senate voted 90-6 to deny funding to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and prohibit funds from being used to transport detainees to the United States. Later in the day, the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 92-3, to adopt an amendment from Sen. McConnell, which requires the administration to prepare classified reports for Congress on the likelihood that detainees released from the facility will return to terrorist activity. The Senate also voted unanimously to adopt an amendment from Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) to express the sense of the Senate that the Secretary of Defense should consult with state and local officials before transferring any detainees from Guantanamo.

SenateGOP Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s clear to both Republicans and Democrats in Congress that the administration does not currently have a plan for closing Guantanamo, and that closing it without a plan is unacceptable. So I hope the President uses his remarks this morning to present a concrete plan that demonstrates how closing Guantanamo will keep Americans as safe as Guantanamo has.”

The AP notes, “Democrats lined up with Republicans in the 90-6 vote that came on the heels of a similar move a week ago in the House, underscoring widespread apprehension among Obama's congressional allies over voters' strong feelings about bringing detainees to the U.S. from the prison in Cuba.”

But it’s not just members of Congress raising concerns about what to do with detainees if Guantanamo is closed. Politico pointed out yesterday, “FBI Director Robert Mueller warned Congress that releasing some of the Gitmo prisoners in the United States would raise concerns that they might radicalize others, raise money for terrorist groups, or carry out attacks. . . . Mueller also raised concerns about bringing prisoners to the U.S. and holding them in maximum security prisons, noting that in some gang leaders have run their organizations while in prison.”

The administration also wants to send detainees to other countries, but that may be just as problematic. In an editorial today, The Wall Street Journal notes that “a U.S. court and the Obama Administration may send a batch of potential terrorists” to Yemen. But, The Journal explains, “The U.S. is reluctant to repatriate [detainees] to a country where al Qaeda suspects regularly ‘escape’ from jail. Only Pakistan’s tribal regions rival Yemen as a terrorist Shangri-La.”

At the same time, new evidence is coming to light that there is an even greater problem with recidivism among former Guantanamo detainees. The New York Times reports, “An unreleased Pentagon report concludes that about one in seven of the 534 prisoners already transferred abroad from the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has returned to terrorism or militant activity, according to administration officials.” Senate sources are advising that the Times reports, the report has been held up by Pentagon officials “fearful of upsetting the White House.” It’s unfortunate that the White House seems to put so much emphasis on politics and symbolism when the safety and security of the American people is at stake.

Tags: Barack Obama, detainees, Dick Cheney, GITMO, US Congress, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 9:30 AM - Post Link


Anonymous Chris Dickson said...

It would be an honor and a privilege for this old Army Major to duel Obama. Unfortunately, America outlawed dueling around 150 years ago. My old Two Star would most likely be my Second!


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