It seems to me that detaining highly-radicalized trained terrorists, fattening them up on halal victuals and giving them top-shelf health care, then turning them loose on the helpless and angry citizenry of an island paradise would make for one hell of an al-Qaeda recruiting pitch.
The Obama decision strikes me as a triumph of politics over national security and common sense. By bashing Guantanamo Bay as hard as he did during the campaign, the President painted himself into a corner. He can’t keep Gitmo open right now (though reneging on his word later still remains a viable option, since the vociferous left has a very short and selective memory) and he’s been forced to maintain his hard line in public speeches. On the other hand, he’s learned that Gitmo is, by far, the best option for keeping potentially dangerous killers from killing again and that it’s far from the Chamber of Horrors the anti-war crowd made it out to be.
What’s a career politician to do? Well, in the President’s case, he figured that farming the detainees out to a bunch of other countries would solve his problems. He didn’t exactly expect the ringing laughter from about 100 countries when he sent his diplomats forth to pitch the idea. It gives me hope to know that most of the world thinks that importing a ready-made terror cell is not the smartest idea in the world.
So, having been turned down by nearly the entire world, the President found Palau. Now, thirteen Islamists doesn’t sound like a lot, but Palau isn’t just any country. It has a smaller population that you find in most major league ballparks. Last night’s Stanley Cup Game Seven drew almost as many people as live on Palau. Adding 13 Uighur terrorists to a nation with a population of about 21,000 would be the equivalent of the United States accepting 188,227 Islamists. That’s more than the population of Salt Lake City (UT), Knoxville (TN), Little Rock (AR), or Fort Lauderdale (FL) and a little less than Mobile (AL) or Augusta (GA).
I’m thinking that al-Qaeda could quit sending out terrorists altogether. The President seems to be willing to take that job over himself.
(Cross-posted at The Greenroom)