Views On The Ground, Ctd.
by Chris Bodenner
(He says 'the overwhelming majority of reader comments support the transfer.' I count ten comments I would characterize as 'yes' to the transfer, and seven 'no'...).
Readers can see for themselves, but I re-counted the nearly 60 comments left in the two articles, and nearly 70% (39 out of 57) are critical of NIMBY, and from a larger pool of people. If Geraghty doesn't define that as "overwhelming," then it's certainly a solid majority.
But seriously, this is quibbling, because my central point remains: the views within Leavenworth are much more complex than the "unanimous" declaration by its politicians. Whether Ft. Leavenworth is able to meet the security demands of a dozen or so detainees, of course I don't know, and the experts I've spoken with aren't sure either. The only fully-equipped expert is the Pentagon, which is currently conducting a formal review of the prison. My only contention is that everyone should wait until the feasibility of the facility is settled before politicians -- who may or may not have their own agendas -- start speaking for their entire constituencies, and use fear-mongering rhetoric when doing so.
And no, Jim Geraghty, locals who object to the transfer aren't "a bunch of ignorant yokels" (and good-faith skeptics like Patrick don't hew to the "disapproving words of Le Monde") -- that's just the kind of ad hominem, culture-war bait typical of NRO.
Geraghty rightly points out, as I have, that all the elected officials of Leavenworth adhere to NIMBY. But then he immediately leaps to the conclusion that they fully "understand the complexities of detaining terrorists" (suspected terrorists, who've never been given a hearing, that is). Yet forgive me when I hold an inherent skepticism of politicians. For instance, one of Brownback's central arguments -- and one that he insists makes the entire debate moot -- is that domestic and foreign prisoners cannot be held in the same military prison (Article 12 of the UCMJ). Yet a military court ruled in 2007 that, in fact, they can, as long as they are "completely segregated." One month after that ruling, Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, Chief Defense Counsel of Military Commissions (hardly an "Atlantic guy"), told Congress that the Ft. Leavenworth prison "is arranged in a pod system, much like the new Camp 6 down at Guantanamo which would make it very easy to segregate the detainees from the general population." So which "expert" is right? Again, I don't know for sure, but the debate is obviously more nuanced than Brownback would ever admit.
Instead of ceaselessly sniping back and forth, I'm going to leave it at this: Geraghty and I are actually making the same basic point. He concludes, "[local] objections at the very least deserve a hearing before the transfer is finalized." Yes, I agree.