President Bush’s response to a question about Guantanamo Bay at his press conference this afternoon was woefully inadequate, and not just because he flubbed the word “dissemble.” While he rightfully criticized Amnesty International’s hyperbolic report on alleged abuses at Gitmo as “absurd,” I don’t think he defended our detention policies and practices vigorously or articulately enough.
Gitmo is under attack from human rights groups, civil liberties absolutists, and editorial board armchair generals who have no viable alternative to enemy combatant detention and aggressive interrogation methods to prevent terrorism. Close Gitmo down? Release all the prisoners? Is there any doubt that the Left’s hindsight hypocrites would be the first to slam our President if a released detainee went out to commit an act of mass terrorism on American soil?
I’ll have more on this in my column tomorrow, but Paul Mirengoff’s post on this subject at Power Line is superlative. Someone should send it to the White House. See also Rivkin & Casey at The Corner and both Dick Cheney’s and Gen. Myers’ comments from over the weekend (the latter via the Washington Times):
Gen. Myers says the detention facility in Guantanamo is a “model facility” in accordance with the Geneva Convention, and that the U.S. spends $2.5 million annually to provide Muslim-approved food and distributed 1,300 Korans in 13 languages.
“But here’s the question that needs to be debated by everybody, and that is: How do you handle people who aren’t part of a nation-state effort, that are picked up on the battlefield, that if you release them or let them go back to their home countries, they would turn right around and try to slit our throats, our children’s throats?” Gen. Myers said.
“We struggle with how to handle them. But we’ve always handled them humanely and with the dignity that they should be accorded,” Gen. Myers said.
It’s about time someone defended America’s honor clearly, passionately, and unapologetically. Too bad the president missed an opportunity to do it himself.