Obama’s glorious policy of outsourcing U.S. military prisons

(Note: Not all the Guantanamo prisoners are being moved to remote islands, like Napoleon on St. Helena. The New York Post writes: “As if terrorists needed another reason to make New York their Target No. 1, President Obama gave them one yesterday—by moving Ahmed Ghailani here from Guantanamo Bay for trial in Manhattan federal court. The Tanzanian-born Ghailani—captured in Pakistan in 2004—is a primary suspect in the 1998 bombings of US embassies in his native country and Kenya.”)

We remember how the Democrats mocked President Bush for his vaunted yet largely mythological “coalition of the willing”—tiny allies who would send, say, five soldiers, an old truck, and a rusty rifle to help the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. But now Bush’s successor has been reduced to scrounging around the world to find some country, any country, to house the terrorist prisoners whom either the federal courts or the alien-in-chief himself have insanely declared must be removed from the military prison at Guantanamo. The administration asked, begged, cajoled up 100 countries to take the 17 Chinese Uighur Muslims. All had said no, until Palau, a tiny Pacific nation I’ve never heard of, agreed to imprison the Uighurs. Could anything be more ridiculous and unseemly than a great nation unsuccessfully begging virtually every nation on earth to take its own prisoners of war?

According to the New York Times, Palau, a U.S. territory until independence in 1994, has a population of 20,000 and consists of eight main islands and 250 smaller ones. A sovereign “nation” consisting of 20,000 people. That’s Obama’s coalition of the willing. And what kind of prison could Palau have? It will probably have to build a prison to hold the 17 or however many of them it takes, which is not determined yet. And how did the U.S. persuade Palau to receive them? Moolah. “The United States has pledged $200 million in long-term development aid to Palau,” writes Mark Landler of the Times. “But a senior State Department official flatly denied it was a quid pro quo for the detainee deal.” Let’s put aside the unbelievable denial—that’s $10,000 for each inhabitant of Palau! If it was this difficult to find a country to house the Uighurs, who are among the least dangerous of the Guantanamo inmates, how is Obama baby going to find countries willing to receive the hundreds of other terrorists who according to his diktat must also be transferred?

If you’re wondering where Palau is, the Times has some difficulty with that question as well. Landler says Palau is located “about 500 miles east of the Philippines.” But he also informs us in the lead sentence of the article that Palau is “a sparsely populated archipelago in the North Pacific.” Since when is 500 miles east of the Philippines the North Pacific!

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James P. writes:

After we throw $200 million down the toilet to bribe Palau to take these guys, and however much it costs to recreate Guantanamo on Palau, the Leftist drumbeat of complaints will begin: the prisoners are unhappy! Palau violates their rights! Palau violates international law! Blah, blah, blah. In short, Palau will become the new Guantanamo. The problem was never Guantanamo itself, but the fact that the US was actually fighting its enemies and taking prisoners, and a change of venue does not make this problem go away.

Anyone who knows about the Pacific War knows where Palau is. Peleliu was the scene of intense fighting in late 1944.

LA replies:

I confess to not knowing the name Palau. I know the name Peleliu from World War II.

Howard Sutherland writes:

The New York Times is right, for a change. Palau (perhaps Americans with a memory will remember the bloody battle of Peleliu in 1944; Peleliu is one of the Palaus) lies north of the Equator. So, deep in the tropics though it certainly is, Palau actually is located in the North Pacific Ocean. Horrible topography, as any Marine or soldier who fought in the Palaus could tell you, but spectacular diving.

None of which changes the thrust of your post—that Obama’s Gitmo-vacating policy is absurd, embarrassing and dangerous all at the same time. Not much new there, though. One could say that of most of Obama’s policy initiatives, just as one could say the same of so many of GW Bush and Clinton’s activities as well.

LL writes:

Could someone please explain the rationale for closing Guantanamo when it just means the prisoners will be housed elsewhere? I could understand if the point were to free them—insane and misguided as that would be. But what is accomplished by simply moving them from one prison to another, at considerable inconvenience and expense?

LA replies:

There is no rationale. It’s pure leftwing irrationality. The U.S. and world left formed the fantasy/lie that Guantanamo was some terrible place where people are being tortured. Obama as candidate pledged to close it. Then his first act as president, the day after his inauguration, was to declare that it would be closed within one year. He had not thought out where the prisoners would go.

Hannon writes:

Here is a brief overview and map of Palau. It is widely regarded by diving buffs and biologists as a virtual archetype of tropical marine biodiversity, on a par with the Red Sea and a few other areas. Comparable diversity on land would be the Choco in NW Colombia or the slopes of the Andes adjoining the Western Amazon Basin. In a word, extreme. Still it is nowhere near the North Pacific as you note.

What is painful is to think of the corruption and ecological destruction that would almost certainly be wrought on these people if they are to receive $200M in exchange for housing the prisoners. They may not consider their lot to be idyllic, but injecting large flows of cash or developing intensive profit businesses seems to always bring ruin upon such indigenous societies. Nigeria and its oil wealth and various gold mines are examples of this. These enterprises are exploitative in the sense that the locals do not know how to incorporate these schemes into their way of life harmoniously, setting aside questions of native intelligence.

Perhaps the Palauans will use the money to construct sea walls to protect them from rising ocean levels. Al Gore can be project foreman.

James P. writes:

LL asks,

“Could someone please explain the rationale for closing Guantanamo when it just means the prisoners will be housed elsewhere? I could understand if the point were to free them—insane and misguided as that would be.”

That might indeed be the plan.

This is from the Weekly Standard:

…the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according to a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. “The administration has decided to change the focus to law enforcement. Here’s the problem. You have foreign fighters who are targeting US troops today—foreign fighters who go to another country to kill Americans. We capture them…and we’re reading them their rights—Mirandizing these foreign fighters,” says Representative Mike Rogers, who recently met with military, intelligence and law enforcement officials on a fact-finding trip to Afghanistan.

Me commenting again:

This is an obvious way to tee up what they really want to do, which is let the bastards go. Oh, so sorry, we can’t keep any of these guys, their rights were violated when we detained them! Mirandizing them makes little sense otherwise.

LA replies:

I’m in complete disbelief. Extending Miranda rights to jihadist fighters captured in foreign countries?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 10, 2009 10:26 AM | Send

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