by Chris Bodenner
A reader writes:
I'm so glad somebody finally wrote the "Politics of Tough" post. As an Illinois resident, it's been frustrating and extremely disheartening listening to all these jokers yack on about NIMBY all the time. Not all Americans are afraid of terrorists. Illinois is no stranger to housing some really bad people like John Wayne Gacy. Southern Illinois has quite a few prisons and is another area that would love the jobs and money that a super-max federal prison would bring. It should come as no surprise that IL Sen Dick Durbin and Former IL Senator Obama see no problem with bringing Gitmo detainees to American shores. Could anyone miss the symbolism and politics of the President's home state willing to take these guys on?
Please keep this up. Please keep this argument front and center. So many of us in Illinois hate all this NIMBY bullshit and our voices are not being heard.
Another reader scrutinizes a statistic from the earlier post:
There is a quote from a Tom George to the affect that the Willow Run plant produced 300,000 aircraft in WW2. The total production of all aircraft from all sources in the U.S. was 303,000 between 1940 and 1945. While the production totals of the Willow Run plant were extraordinary by any measure, the plant, erected in 1942, did not produce every aircraft, or anything near it. This is NOT the kind of rhetoric we need from weak kneed democrats or any one else.
It appears the state senator confused Willow Run's production with overall US production; the actual number of aircraft (B-24 bombers) produced at the Michigan plant was 8,685. Doh. Regardless, I think the senator's overall point holds strong. Another reader writes:
While we argue about whether America can handle terror suspects on our soil, we don't argue about whether we have the right to hold these suspects indefinitely without trial. Obama is institutionalizing a state of preventive detention on the homeland and we're not talking about it. The ramifications are historic. By suggesting we are tough for taking Gitmo prisoners in - by entertaining the argument - you play into the overtrumped myth that led to so much abuse and torture in the first place: that prisoners of Gitmo are guilty. If the people of Illinois welcome the prisoners as a gesture of patriotism, that doesn't make them brave - that makes them ignorant. The suspects being relocated to IL are the ones that the country doesn't have enough evidence to convict. In any other scenario, that would make them innocent.
The federal government is planning to build a courtroom at the site of the "new Gitmo" in order to process detainees. Thus, many will be convicted in military trials. But yes - it appears others will be held indefinitely (this Ambinder post is a must read). A troubling prospect. So is the alternative.