Monday, June 11, 2007

Powell attacks Guantanamo, Huckabee defends it

Colin Powell recently condemned our prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, saying:

If it was up to me, I would close Guantanamo. Not tomorrow, but this afternoon. Every morning I pick up a paper and some authoritarian figure, some person somewhere is using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds. And so essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open.
So Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee decided to step up to the plate and defend the infamous detention center:
I can tell you most of our prisoners would love to be in a facility more like Guantanamo and less like the state prisons that people are in in the United States. It’s more symbolic than it is a substantive issue, because people perceive of mistreatment when, in fact, there are extraordinary means being taken to make sure these detainees are being given, really, every consideration.
Now, I can't say I'm surprised by Huckabee's endorsement of Guantanamo, given that the Republican candidates are falling all over themselves to endorse the president's lawless approach to fighting terrorism. (Remember that debate where Mitt Romney exclaimed that he wanted to "double Guantanamo"?) However, I am a bit surprised by the tack he took. The argument that we should harshly interrogate/torture suspects at secret detention facilities may be immoral, but at least it makes a certain sort of twisted sense. And it shows the Republican base that you're ready to "get tough" on the evil terrorists. However, the "It's not so bad, people wish they were at Guantanamo!" argument doesn't pass the laugh test. (Hey, you know what you get in Arkansas prisons that you don't get in Guantanamo? Full access to the US court system.) It's the sort of thing I associate more with Rush Limbaugh (famous for his support of "Club G'itmo") than with a fairly respectable candidate like Huckabee.

Of course, he's not as bad as Duncan Hunter:

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