As I wrote for TAP Online, I think the main thing we learn about Rahm Emanuel from reports that he’s been pushing inside the White House to strike some kind of deal with Lindsey Graham whereby KSM doesn’t get a civilian trial and in exchange the White House gets GOP support on closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is that Emanuel’s reputation as a hard-nosed political thinker seems undeserved. Why on earth would he think Republicans would agree to that?
And today Spencer Ackerman’s rounded up the quotes to show that nobody in the Republican Party has any interest in following Graham down that road. They think demagogic arguments about “keeping dangerous terrorists from being brought to this country” are political winners and they intend to keep making them, just as they intend to keep making legal arguments that have been denounced by a wide swath of conservative lawyers because Chuck Grassley thinks they’ll help in the midterms.
Meanwhile, it really is worth emphasizing what a bed of nonsense the whole Gitmo argument is based upon. The very existence of an American military facility that’s located on foreign soil but not covered by a Status of Forces Agreement with the government of the country in which it’s located is a bizarre coincidence. Suppose the Castro regime had falled in 1989-91 along with the USSR and the rest of the Soviet bloc and we’d worked out a proper basing agreement with the successor government in the mid-nineties. Would that have left the country incapable of defending itself against al-Qaeda? If Germany catches a terrorist and doesn’t happen to have an offshore prison facility available, would it really be so terrible to imprison him in a terrestrial penitentiary just like the Red Army Faction?