The Right Coast

June 13, 2005
Cheney understands
By Tom Smith

Story here. Some people want Gitmo closed because it is an effective weapon against terror. For whatever weird reason a British academic or a French bureaucrat would get satisfaction out of more suicide bombings on American soil, they are similarly against interrogating illegal combatants. Then there are Democrats who think they can use the issue for their political benefit, and they're not very strong on national security anyway. While the temptation to think that whatever is the opposite of what these people think, must be right, should probably be avoided, the notion their views should carry any weight is baffling to me.

I do think maybe it would be better if suspected terrorists captured in places like Afghanistan just disappeared into scattered locations only the military and the CIA knew about. Gitmo is a lightning rod for publicity. But there may be good reasons for having one central location.

One thing is for sure. If Castro were in charge of the prison, criticism of it would be out of bounds for the left. Instead we'd be hearing about how great medical care is for their children (which is a good thing: you can pick up a lot of nasty things when you don't have shoes). In fact, Castro's prisons really are gulags, and you don't hear much about them. I guess for a gulag to be a gulag it has to not really be a gulag. Or something. Weird.

As far as Gitmo's effect on our reputation, I think our reputation would be hurt far more by closing the place under the pressure of our various enemies. It would earn us a deserved reputation for weakness and lack of resolve. Indeed, all the criticism of the place presents an opportunity to stand up to it, and show we really do mean business. If Hillary gets elected, we will have plenty of problems, but I don't think softness on terrorism will be one of them, and then all of these objects of criticism will magically be transformed into non-issues.