If true, I would say that this news is the first indication that W. is giving up on the Global War On Terror - one of the few issues which accounts for the remaining support in his 26% approval ratings. (I mean, it's unlikely that the remaining 26% who support Bush are doing so because of his immigration policy, his prescription drug plan, his massive increase in federal spending on public education, etc, etc. If he goes wobbly on the WOT, what is left to support?)
White House near decision to close Guantanamo
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.
Senior administration officials said Thursday a consensus is building for a proposal to shut the center and transfer detainees to one or more Defense Department facilities, including the maximum-security military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where they could face trial.
Ahhh, that's just @#$ing great.
Expected to consult soon, according to the officials, were Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Peter Pace.
Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., whose district includes Leavenworth, is concerned about the possibility of housing detainees in Kansas, said Shanan Guinn, her chief of staff.
"She feels that moving the detainees to Leavenworth would make it a prime terrorist target and the disciplinary barracks simply does not have the room or the correct security features to handle detainees," Guinn said.
And this is a key problem... No one will want them anywhere. And the ACLU and the "progressives" won't sleep until "political prisoners" like the jihadists in Gitmo are released to return to the battlefield to kill Americans.
Previous plans to close Guantanamo have run into resistance from Cheney, Gonzales and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. But officials said the new suggestion is gaining momentum with at least tacit support from the State and Homeland Security departments, the Pentagon, and the Intelligence directorate.
Cheney's office and the Justice Department have been dead set against the step, arguing that moving "unlawful" enemy combatant suspects to the U.S. would give them undeserved legal rights.
Thank God for Cheney.
Rice has said she would like to see Guantanamo closed if a safe alternative could be found. She said during a trip to Spain this month that "the United States doesn't have any desire to be the world's jailer."
"I don't think anyone wants to see Guantanamo open one day longer than it is needed. But I also suspect nobody wants to see a number of dangerous people simply released out onto the streets," she said.
Uh-oh.... This seems like mushy diplo-speak to me. They're not "dangerous people." They are combatants who do not comply with internationally recognized conditions for war (aka Illegal Combatants). They are terrorists... they hide amongst civilians and specifically target non-combatants.
Officials say that Bush, who also has said he wants to close the facility as soon as possible, is keenly aware of its shortcomings.
His wife, Laura, and mother, Barbara, along with Rice and longtime adviser Karen Hughes, head of the public diplomacy office at the State Department, have told him that Guantanamo is a blot on the U.S. record abroad, particularly in the Muslim world and among European allies.
Of course, cartoons also inflame the Muslim world, so.... can't go around worrying about what gets their
Bush has said the United States first has to determine what to do with the detainees there. The administration says some countries have refused to accept terror suspects from their territory.
Well, duh... If I'm a foreign country and the US captures a terrorist, it's a great opportunity for the US to do the heavy lifting and keep them from doing harm. And I can still show my indignation over the cruel treatment at Guantanemo if my electorate (or subjects) isn't totally on-board with the whole War On Terror thing.
Earlier this month, former Secretary of State Colin Powell called for the immediate closure of the prison, saying it posed an untenable foreign policy risk and was irreparably harming the U.S. image abroad.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said in statement that "removing the stain Guantanamo has left on our foreign policy" is long overdue.
"It also goes a long way toward returning America's moral authority in the world and addressing the mistakes which have set us back in the fight against terrorism," said Kerry, the Democrats' 2004 presidential candidate.
And who the @#$#$ cares what Colin Powell & John Kerry think? One of Powell's subordinates leaked the name of a "covert" CIA "operative," the most egregious and illegal act ever committed by anyone in human history. And John Kerry is a dork.
That Bush is even contemplating the closure of Gitmo (if true) is disappointing. Let's just hope that this is a story that was pushed by anti-Gitmo people in the Admin and doesn't truly represent the views of the upper echelon at the White House.
ARC: St Wendeler