THE BLOG
04/06/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Orrin Hatch Turns Soft on Fighting Terrorism

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said on Tuesday that he was in favor of coddling terrorists.

Okay, he didn't say that in so many words, but you know they never do. Coddlers are a clever sort. But make no mistake, Orrin Hatch was arguing for giving terrorists a cushier life behind bars.

At a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence meeting, the topic under discussion was whether to move accused terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to an upgraded maximum security prison in Thomson, Illinois. Sen. Hatch is against this; he wants to the accused terrorists to stay in a better, more comfortable environment, in Gitmo.

"I've been to Guantanamo," he told Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence. "It's pretty nice compared to Illinois -- the place in Illinois where they want to put them. It'd be nice and cold in the winter time and...all I can say is that I imagine there'll be a hue and cry that we're not fair by bringing them here."

Forget for a moment that I'm writing this from Illinois where I'm on vacation. (Giitmo was booked. But that's what happens when it's tourist season and you wait too long.) And the senator is right about one thing, it does get nippy in the winter. Today, it's a balmy 30-degrees. You almost expect to see people running around in shorts. It was 12-degrees last week, but even that wasn't too bad. The wind chill was -1.

Forget for a moment, too, that Illinois is a pretty wonderful place. Unless you're into skiing. (The state's highest point is 616-feet.) Mind you, it's the home of Barack Obama, which is probably another big mark against it to Mr. Hatch, but it's also the birthplace of Ronald Reagan, so that no doubt more than makes up for it. Sort of like going to Valhalla for conservatives. Not to mention that it's the Land of Lincoln. And Ulysses S. Grant lived in Galena, and he knew a thing or two about winning a war.

And forget also that if another senator had said that "Gitmo is pretty nice compared to Utah," Orrin Hatch would likely have been the first to leap up from the Senate floor demanding a retraction. (Never mind that the state dish of Utah is Jello. No, I'm not kidding.)

Forget all that. Just take it at face value that Orrin Hatch thinks that Guantanamo Bay is nicer than Illinois.

And he wants to keep terrorists there, in Guantanamo Bay. Lovely Guantanamo Bay, with its tropical nights, ocean breezes, and lazy Caribbean days. And coconuts and pineapples. Put on the Beach Boys and listen to them sing about "Kokomo." Swaying to and fro.

By the way, this is the little known, clever ploy about that song. There is no Kokomo in the island tropics. The only Kokomo is in Indiana. Next door to -- Illinois!! Indiana is a state that makes Illinois seem lush. Apparently, that enticing song has been part of a long-time plot to make accused terrorists actually look forward to going to Illinois. Think it's not a plot? Thomson, Illinois, where the prison sits, is about only eight miles north of...(are you ready) Clinton! And it's a mere 20 miles or so northwest of Prophetstown. Try telling a Muslim extremist that he's next door to "Prophetstown," but can't get to it, can't touch it. Now, that is as close as you can be to real torture but remain legal! Anyway, that's the point: get the accused terrorists packing from their comfy haciendas and hammocks at Gitmo, looking forward to balmy Thomson, Illinois, with high anticipation, and then when they arrive -- bam! Pot holes, flat land as far as the eye can see, corn fields, frigid winds blowing across the Illinois prairie that chill the bones, blistering hot and drippingly humid summers -- and the only escape is a mile-and-a-half to the west across the Mississippi River into Missouri. Why is that so bad? Keep in mind that Huckleberry Finn and the slave Jim tried to cross the Mississippi River in the other direction, to get out of Missouri. So, there the accused terrorists are stuck, in prison, maximum security, in Thomson, Illinois, the "Melon Capital of the World."

And Orrin Hatch wants to keep them instead in comfy, cushy, nicer Guantanamo Bay.

Why does Orrin Hatch want to coddle accused terrorists? Does he not love America? Does he want the terrorist to win?

Yes, I know that Sen. Hatch and his supporters will argue that he wants to keep accused terrorists out of the United States. But those are empty words. Because in his actual words, he wants them to live in nicer conditions. In the tropics. Some punishment, eh? Some deterrent. Give the people who are accused of attacking the United States the nicer of the prisons. "Attack the U.S. and get a free vacation in the Caribbean." That's the message Orrin Hatch wants to send.

Through the shocking revelation of Orrin Hatch's support of coddling accused terrorists, there was, however, one other humorous turn in all this.

In making his argument to the Director National Intelligence, Sen. Hatch was trying to get across that it didn't matter what the U.S. did, even if the right thing, even if noble, even if it made perfect sense. The terrorists would be against it. The terrorists would disagree with any action of the United States, simply because it was the United States. And the terrorists would try to make an issue of it.

"I think the point I'm trying to make,'' Hatch said. "I think it's easy to see... that no matter what we do, they're going to criticize us.''

At last. Now he finally understands how Barack Obama must feel about dealing with the Republicans.