No Compromise on Enemy Combatants
We're winning because we should be winning.


Andrew C. McCarthy

Imagine the Yanks are beating the Mets 12–0 in the eighth inning (I know — not hard to imagine). Now, imagine if the Mets approach the Yanks and say, “How ’bout we give you a new Gatorade barrel, and we call this thing a draw?” Joe Girardi would laugh them out of the dugout and say, “Hey, you want to forfeit, go ahead and forfeit. Otherwise, get back out on the field and finish getting your brains beat in.”

This is how we ought to think about rumors swirling around that the Obama administration is looking for a deal on enemy combatants and that some GOP types are listening. The compromise would be: KSM gets a military commission, but Republicans agree to close Gitmo and bring the combatants to stateside federal prisons.

This would be a terrible sell-out of our national security. It would also be unnecessary. The American people strongly support military commissions for enemy combatants — not for all terrorism cases, but for all unlawful alien enemy operatives who have no right to be tried in our civilian courts and for whom Congress has authorized military commissions.

The American people also support holding enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, a secure, off-shore military facility. U.S. taxpayers have already plunked down over $200 million to turn Gitmo into a state-of-the-art, Geneva Convention–compliant facility that even Obama administration officials concede is first-rate. There is no reason on earth to create a security problem inside our country when we have gone to Herculean lengths to create a perfect location outside our country.

The Left’s counter to this is the claim that Gitmo fuels terrorist recruitment. That is absurd, and, as I’ve said before, confuses a pretext with a cause. People in the Islamic world could not care less whether we are detaining Muslim terrorists based on civilian protocols or under the laws of war: They don’t know the difference. The Blind Sheikh’s disciples mass-murdered people in an attempt to extort his release despite the fact that he is in a nice civilian jail after having had his nice civilian trial. What offends many in the umma is that we are holding Muslim terrorists, period. They don’t care where.

The only people actually offended by Gitmo are leftists who regard it as a symbol of Bush-style counterterrorism. Those people are projecting their own obsessions onto our enemies. As is too often the case, Republican moderates are itching to placate these ideologues in order to show how they rise above the fray, reach across the aisle, and transcend all this partisan bickering. That is nuts.