by Chris Bodenner
As Brownback and his fellow NIMBYs stomp their feet over Gitmo detainees, they betray a long history of brave and proud Kansans who tolerated foreign enemies in their midst. For instance, during World War II, thousands of Nazi and Italian POWs were confined in camps throughout Kansas and the Midwest. Most famously, 14 Germans convicted of murder while in custody were executed at the Fort Leavenworth prison. In fact, many state and local officials lobbied the federal government to set up camps in their area. With that tradition in mind, Kansas historian Virgil Dean writes:
Then, as now, unfounded fear and prejudice helped Americans justify the inhumane and unjust treatment of a “suspect” ethnic minority simply because they were perceived as being different and untrustworthy; but for whatever reasons, Kansans of the “greatest generation” did their duty when it came to captured German enemy combatants. Why not do so this time? [...] Kansans should step up, show some courage, as we have often done in the past, reject the scare tactics being used by too many of our political “leaders,” and help the Obama administration take the necessary steps to close the shameful prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.
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