President Obama said he is sending up to 100 alleged terrorists from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to the nearly empty Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois, igniting renewed debate Tuesday over whether holding the suspects on U.S. soil is dangerous. White House National Security Advisor Jim Jones said closing Guantánamo would rob terrorist groups of a key recruiting tool. Liz Cheney, daughter of the former Republican vice president and a leader of conservative group Keep America Safe, said voters didn't elect Obama to "usher terrorists onto the homeland." Does housing terror suspects in the U.S. put American lives at risk? (Watch a CBS report about moving prisoners to Illinois.)
Of course bringing jihadists here is dangerous: Obama is intentionally "hobbling" the U.S. in the fight against al Qaida, says Jennifer Rubin in Commentary. Bringing terrorists here makes it harder to legally keep them locked up, and to extract "information that might save" American lives. For good measure, it offers these men a chance to "spread jihadist propaganda" and creates "targets for other terrorists."
"Detainees coming to Illinois"
We shouldn't be afraid: Give the "hysterical rhetoric" a rest, says Chris Bodenner in The Atlantic. Republicans are supposed to be the tough ones, yet they're "screaming with fright" while Democrats stand firm. This should be a case where everyone rises above petty politics and shows the same attitude as the people in Illinois, where the underlying sentiment seems to be, "We're not afraid of these bastards."
"Politics Of tough"
Democrats are displaying their 'cluelessness': It's wildly naïve to think that al Qaida will be "crippled by Gitmo's closure," says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. Osama bin Laden had no trouble recruiting terrorists before the prison existed at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. Once the terrorists are here, we can no longer legally hold them as "enemy combatants," and if they manage to "beat the courts" they'll be released on U.S. soil, courtesy of Obama's al Qaida airlift.
"Obama to transfer Gitmo detainees to Illinois prison"
Critics are displaying their partisanship: Clearly, this plan will face opposition, says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly, as some congressional Republicans try to "exploit baseless fear for political gain" and block the purchase of the Illinois prison. But Illinois officials welcome the jobs that rebuilding Thomson into a super-secure lockup will bring. And plenty of conservatives believe that transferring prisoners from Guantánamo to Thomson makes sense, and that opponents of the plan should stop their "scaremongering."
"From Gitmo to Thomson"