Monday, December 03, 2012

Obama's Guantánamo Problemo


What does someone like this have to do to get reelected in... South Carolina?

In this CBS News video, mentally ill South Carolina Republican closet case conflates fellow warmongers John McCain and Joe Lieberman with "the American people" and ridicules the prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay-- some having done nothing wrong whatsoever except accidentally wandering into the wrong place at the wrong time-- as "crazy bastards." A report released by the Defense Department recommends closing it down and absorbing the detainees into the military prison system.
“This report demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantánamo without imperiling our national security,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman, who released the Government Accountability Office study on Wednesday.

The study shows that 373 prisoners convicted of terrorism are already held in 98 prisons across the country.

“As far as I know, there hasn’t been a single security problem reported in any of these cases,” said Ms. Feinstein, Democrat of California, who commissioned the study in 2008. “This fact outweighs not only the high cost of maintaining Guantánamo-- which costs more than $114 million a year-- but also provides the same degree of security without the criticism of operating a military prison in an isolated location.”
The Senate-- that's the body ostensibly controlled by the Democrats-- responded Thursday by voting 54-41 for an amendment by Kelly Ayotte (apparently the newly designated Shemp for McCain and Graham) that prohibits the use of funds to transfer Guantánamo prisoners to U.S. prisons. And aside from every Republican voting for it, Democrats happy to join them were:
Max Baucus (MT)
Kay Hagan (NC)
Daniel Inouye (HI)
Mary Landrieu (LA)
Lieberman (I-CT)
Joe Manchin (WV)
Ben Nelson (NE)
Mark Pryor (AR)
Debbie Stabenow (MI)
Jim Webb (VA)

In his recent book, Twilight of the Elites, Chris Hayes writes a lot about the distance between our elites and the masses of the American people-- and how that has become a defining problem for democracy itself. And it isn't just a problem for Republicans. And it is certainly a problem for how we've been funding our wars since George W. Bush's distance problem kicked in-- and how we continue funding them now:

These costs are by no means broadly shared. First, unlike previous wars, which imposed some kind of civilian sacrifice through rationing, higher taxes, or both, this last decade of wars has been financed through government debt at the same time that total federal revenue from individual income taxes has declined by 30 percent in real terms. For current taxpayers who aren't in the military, the wars are, quite literally, costless. In his comprehensive study of American war funding, Bob Hormats notes that "by supporting and signing expensive spending and tax legislation, President George W. Bush broke with a tradition that had extended from Madison through Lincoln, Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, and, eventually, Johnson and Reagan" of "wartime tax increases, cuts in civilian programs, and sometimes both" to pay for larger military engagements.

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