South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has been quite outspoken lately. While much of the media attention has been focused on Graham’s fierce opposition to the possible nomination of Susan Rice to the Secretary of State position, Graham has recently been quite vocal about his opposition to bringing terrorists to the American mainland for detention.
While the issue of detainees at Guantanamo Bay has been a touchy issue in recent years, the matter has seemed quite clear to the majority of Republican leaders. As liberals contemplate the possible existence of rights afforded to terrorists, Republicans have, largely, stood against treating terrorists as mere criminals.
On the Senate floor last week, Graham explained his strong opposition (emphasis added),
“Simply stated, the American people don’t want to close Guantanamo Bay, which is an isolated, military-controlled facility, to bring these crazy bastards that want to kill us all to the United States.
Most Americans believe that the people at Guantanamo Bay are not some kind of burglar or bank robber. They are bent on our destruction. And I stand with the American people that we’re under siege, we’re under attack and we’re at war.
Some of my colleagues in this body have forgotten what 9/11 is all about. The people who attacked us on 9/11, in that prison, want to destroy our way of life. They don’t want to steal your car. They don’t want to break in your house. And we’ve got a military prison being well run, so I think the American people are telling everybody in this body, ‘Have you lost your mind? We’re at war. Act like you’re at war.’”
I will admit that I have had my issues with Graham in the past. Though he has some decent stances in the way of issues like gun rights, I have regarded him as somewhat of a fair-weather Republican at times when unity within the Party has been required; but he is spot-on in this instance.
These are not American citizens, they are the enemy. We are fighting a war, and whether we should be fighting that war is certainly an issue worth discussing. However, we are at war, and we need to proceed accordingly. They are prisoners of war, and bringing them into our country, into a non-military installation is ridiculous.
My grandfather was shot down by the Germans. He was not afforded a trial. He was imprisoned in a camp. He was the enemy, and he was imprisoned not as a punishment, but as a means to take him out of circulation. Likewise, we are imprisoning these terrorists, not because they stole a car and need to repay their debt to society, but because we can’t have them out there, aiding al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that aim for our destruction. Bringing them to the American mainland just needlessly endangers out communities.
Good for Senator Graham for having the nerve to tell it like it is.