This is Sam Brownback’s déjà vu.
A political version of “Groundhog Day,” where the same events rehaunt, the same stalemate presents. And, in the case of Gov. Brownback and his GOP counterpart, Sen. Pat Roberts, some questionable thought processes revisit.
In 2009, President Barack Obama wanted desperately to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Fort Leavenworth came under consideration, along with a northeast Michigan prison that was slotted for closure. Eventually, Brownback (then a senator), Roberts and other opposition pressed enough and the plan was dropped.
Now Fort Leavenworth’s military prison is being considered once again to house the foreign fighters, along with the Naval Brig in Charleston, S.C. And Brownback and Roberts are again among the most adamant voices saying no.
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Roberts has accused Obama of using the closing as a political feather, an accomplishment he can use to garnish a presidential legacy. He and Brownback question security, asking whether the community around Leavenworth would be in danger.
But there are new reasons to question the validity of the long-held contention that these are the most dangerous terrorists in the world. The Guardian dug through military capture information, uncovering specifics.
Only three of the remaining 116 men at Guantanamo were captured by U.S. forces, the paper reports. M ost were rounded up by Pakistani and Afghan informants, warlords and security forces. Meaning, Guantanamo at this point may be less a holding ground for the world’s most dangerous terrorists and more a spot for some of our allies to throw their enemies.
The Guardian interviewed U.S. officials and former Guantanamo prosecutors, with one declaring that the remaining prisoners are “Pfc al-Qaida at best” and “low-level fighters in minor operational roles.”
Another point the reporting makes: Some of the prisoners were gathered from a region of Afghanistan where the local community was paid for their help. It became profitable to turn people over, perhaps without the intelligence to substantiate the capture.
Brownback will hold a town hall meeting in Leavenworth on Sept. 3. By then, the governor should be prepared to explain who these prisoners are, legalities involved to house them on U.S. soil and costs.
Because it would be egregious to unnecessarily mislead and scare the residents of Kansas by overblowing the threat to public safety.