A frequent attack on the closure of Guantanamo is the claim that no one in the U.S. wants detainees housed in their backyard. Last Sunday, Dick Cheney remarked, “I don’t know a single congressional district in this country that is going to say, gee, great, they’re sending us 20 Al Qaida terrorists.” But Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds reports that the town of Hardin, MT requesting that 100 detainees be sent to its empty prison:
Earlier this month, Hardin’s town council voted unanimously to offer the US government a deal: Send Hardin the detainees that most foreign countries and other cities the US are afraid to take.
“Why not us?” [Greg Smith, Hardin’s economic development director] asks. “They’ve got to go somewhere.” He dismisses security concerns over housing inmates former Bush administration officials famously described as “the worst of the worst”. “We have some very hardened criminals in our own country that have committed some heinous crimes, and they are in communities all across this country,” Smith argues. […]
He estimates at least 100 new jobs would come from filling the prison, a real boost to this small, beleaguered community. Smith describes the town’s quest to become a new penal colony as “a piece of the American dream.” “Like anything in America, we’re looking for opportunities,” he says.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) has said that detainees could be tried in his Alexandria, VA district. Last month, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) asked Attorney General Holder, “Do you know of any community in the US that would welcome terrorists, would be terrorists, former terrorists incarcerated in Guantanamo?”