On Guantanamo, The GOP Attacks Hard Working Americans

05/07/2009 12:03 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In an act of desperation, the GOP has settled on attacking President Obama and the Democrats for closing Guantanamo because none of their other political tactics have worked. It's clear that they want to be the party of national security, but both polls and electoral reality (2006 and 2008, not to mention the recent special election in NY-20 where a last minute Republican fear-based ad attacking Democrat Scott Murphy featuring ominous music and the faces of the 9/11 hijackers failed to make a difference in a race the GOP eventually lost) continue to refute this perception. So while Democrats and the President continue to try and make America safe, the GOP flails with failed ideas and stale talking points on the one issue they think , wrongly of course, they have the higher ground on.

And in the process, Republicans in Congress disparage the men, women and military officers who protect Americans from the dangerous terrorists who already reside in prison facilities across the country and argue that they simply can't continue to do their jobs and keep America safe.

After failing for 8 years to actually keep the world safe from terrorism, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and especially Dick Cheney, are embarking on a renewed push to rehabilitate their failed reputations and political prospects. In going on the offensive on Guantanamo and torture, though, they not only expose themselves to the American people who see through these transparent attacks, but also to the reality that America has successfully held dangerous terrorists within our own criminal justice system for decades now, some of whom executed attacks on American soil. They are: Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings, who was incarcerated for a time in the nation's largest city, New York, and now resides in it's most secure prison, the Supermax facility in Florence, CO where according to a former warden he has never left his cell; also at Supermax, Zacharias Moussaoui, convicted of conspiring to kill Americans for his role in the 9/11 attacks; the 6 perpetrators of the East African embassy bombings are also there, as is the shoe bomber Richard Reid. All these dangerous men have been kept in secure facilities for years now with none of these terrorists being released into our "backyards" as the GOP would like us to think. So how would the transfer of Guantanamo detainees be any different?

What the Republican attacks fail to acknowledge is that the men, women and military officers who run these facilities not only admirably and successfully keep their communities safe, but keep all Americans safe by each day diligently doing their jobs. Does the GOP think that they can't continue to do their jobs should detainees from Guantanamo be transferred to facilities within the United States? Doesn't the widespread fear the GOP wants to incite disparage these hard working Americans and the communities in which they reside, where the prisons themselves often serve as the economic lifeblood, especially in such tough economic times? And it's not just Supermax, but also Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas and the Naval Brig at Charleston where Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, the only person to be held as an enemy combatant in the continental United States, spent six years. Across the country, thousands of Americans and members of our Armed Forces work each day in these prisons, and do their jobs well. Maybe Republicans who want to criticize the possibility of bringing detainees within American shores should first understand how good the hard working Americans who are employed at these facilities are at their jobs before they say they can't successfully do their jobs and keep Americans safe.

The bottom line is at a time where Americans are legitimately already afraid of losing their jobs, their homes and the livelihoods they've worked hard to build, the GOP thinks they can score political points by also making us afraid of losing our lives. In the process they also disparage the very men and women who work every day to protect those very lives.

This doesn't seem like a winning strategy to me.