Kansas Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and Leavenworth Mayor Lisa Weakley hail from different parties, but they agree on one key point:
They don’t want President Barack Obama to move prisoners now held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Fort Leavenworth, home of the U.S. military’s only maximum-security prison.
The two wrwote a piece for the Independent Journal Review contending, among other things, that the home countries of the 107 Gitmo prisoners refuses to take them back “believing the detainees are too dangerous.”
Jenkins of Topeka is a Republican. Weakley is a Democrat.
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Here’s their piece:
There is a reason that people across the country stand firmly in opposition to the President Barack Obama’s proposal to shut down the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay and transfer dangerous detainees to American soil. It isn’t safe. The 107 detainees at Guantanamo Bay are there because their own countries refuse to take them back, believing the detainees are too dangerous.
We understand the President has campaign promises he’d like to keep. However, as he considers issuing an executive order closing the facility and transferring the terrorists to places in the United States, we ask that he hear us out. As elected officials representing Leavenworth, Kansas — one potential destination for the detainees — he needs to understand the devastating impact his actions could have on communities like ours.
In 2008, the City of Leavenworth initially became aware of the possibility of a transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees. That’s when a grassroots, bipartisan effort began against such an idea.
Since that time, the City Commission, along with federal and state representatives, have worked steadfastly to educate why Leavenworth is not a suitable location. Most people can’t even believe this is being considered, to put detainees in a small, rural setting.
Before he possibly chooses the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, the President needs to understand that moving these terrorists to our community will jeopardize our families, schools and downtown businesses. Several folks have already said that they will leave our community should the President choose Fort Leavenworth. These are the world’s most dangerous terrorists.
Fort Leavenworth is known as the home of the U.S. military’s only maximum-security facility. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Fort Leavenworth is a campus-like setting with a mission to serve as the Intellectual Center of the Army. Here, we host the best and brightest international military leaders to train and exchange ideas with the U.S. military’s rising leaders. The Combined Arms Center also uses lessons learned from the collective military community to write doctrine – a tool that ensures our military can adapt to modern warfare.
But should this transfer move forward, many of our Middle Eastern allies who send officers to train at Fort Leavenworth would likely stop the practice. Ask anyone in the U.S. military leadership and they will tell you Fort Leavenworth is an invaluable resource, allowing us to gain knowledge from outside sources and build strategic partnerships with our allies, which is integral in keeping us safe. Is the President willing to endanger crucial military training practices and strategic partnerships with our allies to make good on a misguided campaign promise?
The President worries that GITMO is a motivation for further terrorism, but wouldn’t simply shifting the detainees to the mainland make their next location the same thing? It could cause folks to leave Leavenworth, weaken our community, and devastate on our local economy. We ask that the President begin listening to the American people and drop his misguided plans of possibly transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees to Fort Leavenworth or any other American facility.