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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Weighing in on Gitmo: Symbolism or Substance?

(Note: Special thanks to Jay at Stop the ACLU for emailing this information to WUA)

It disgusts me when I hear Republicans take symbolic stands over the substantive. Feel-goodism might work with the Democrats, it might win Democratic votes, but Republicans, or at least the Republicans I know and associate with, are turned off by it.

Most Americans were unaware, really, that the United States owns a little chunk of the Island of Cuba, known as Guantanamo Bay, until shortly after 9/11, when we started detaining terrorist suspects there. The left went into orbit over the fact that this facility is NOT in the Continental U.S. and they don't have access to it. They would prefer to have these people, these terrorist suspects and known terrorists, ON OUR SHORES so that they can make sure that they are given "due process" according to the mandates of the United States Constitution.

My question has been, and remains, since when does someone, who is not a citizen of this country and is suspected of committing crimes against our citizens, have the benefits of the rights of our citizenry?

As of right now, I know the positions of two of the Republican candidates for President in regards to Gitmo; that of Fred Thompson, and that of Mike Huckabee.

Mike Huckabee's position, frankly, I find appalling.

I’ve been to Guantanamo, I was there, I guess it’s been about a year and a half ago. I think the problem with Guantanamo is not in that its facilities are inadequate. It’s the symbol that it represents. It’s clearly become a symbol to the rest of the world as a place that has become problematic for us as a nation. I was quite frankly impressed with the quality of the facilities and even the attention to care that was given to the detainees, but that aside, it doesn’t alter that Guantanamo to the rest of the world is a symbol that is not in our best interests to continue pursuing.

So Mike Huckabee is worried about Gitmo for "symbolic" reasons. Symbolism. Symbolism over substance. This is leadership?

Fred Thompson on Gitmo:

I'm telling you, as President, if the lives of a bunch of American citizens were at stake and I thought that there was a good chance that an individual had information and could impart information that would help save those lives, I'm just saying, that I would do whatever is necessary to get that information from that person. I would authorize that. Whatever is necessary to save a number of American lives.

"I would do whatever is necessary..." In my mind, THAT is the thinking of a leader. THAT is a substantive position.

We've just experienced a year of politicians putting symbolism over substance. How many "non-binding resolutions" can Congress pass during a term? I suppose we'll have to see how many more are passed before this Congress comes up for reelection again next year before we can answer that.

We've seen the benefits of having a do-nothing Legislative branch this year. Our military is struggling to decide what non-mission essential programs to cut because of the lack of funding thanks to our do-nothing Congress.

Can our nation afford a do-nothing President who leads by symbolism instead of taking a stand and actually leading? I don't think so. And I don't think that the majority of Americans think so, either.

Symbolism or Substance, America.

The choice is up to us.

God have mercy on us if we choose symbolism.

Once and Always, an American Fighting Man