The Nation's Pulse

Cold Bay

Despite its reputation, Illinois is too good for enemy combatants.

By 1.13.10

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Last week President Obama repledged his campaign promise to shutter Guantánamo Bay prison, ostensibly because the facility has become a "tremendous recruiting tool for al Qaeda." This drew muted and listless praise from the hipsters down at the Mississippi Mud coffee house, who like to tell each other: "One reason the terrorists hate us is because of that damn Cuban prison."

Great, so now they'll hate us because of that damn Illinois prison. I happen to live in Illinois. The Prairie State used to be a fine place to live despite that fact that half our prison population is made up of former governors. Now whenever Osama bin Ladin wants to recruit a suicide bomber all he will have to do is mutter the name "Illinois" into his satellite phone. (To make matters worse, he'll probably pronounce the S.) Soon the Land of Lincoln will be associated with all things evil, and not just some things evil, like Dick Durbin.

I don't know about you, but I want the terrorists to hate us. Back in World War II, we weren't fighting for the love of Himmler and Goebbels, so why are we obsessed with winning the admiration of terrorists? Liberals are so concerned with America being the most popular girl in school they are flunking Poli-Sci 101.

If Guantánamo is the key, how was al Qaeda able to recruit young men willing to attack a U.S. Navy destroyer ina fiberglass skiff back in October 2000? I mean other than staffing tables in the University of Sanaa's student center with burqua girls giving away bumper stickers that read "Got 72 Virgins?"

A Gallup Poll taken last June showed that only 32 percent of Americans supported closing the prison at the U.S. naval base, and moving the suspected enemy combatants to America's heartland. That figure is probably around one percent now that we've learned the Obama Administration's catch-and-release program is not only good for the fish, it's good for terrorists too. On Thursday came news that "as many as one in five former Guantánamo Bay detainees are suspected of or confirmed to have engaged in terrorist activity after their release."

Anyone who has made the mistake of purchasing one of those catch-and-release mousetraps might have seen this coming. Sure, you feel all good about yourself when you free the little buggers into the back yard and watch them scamper away, but the next day they are right back where you found them, chewing through your Quaker Oats box and leaving their high-fiber feces all over the cabinets.

Speaking of the USS Cole, whatever happened to those terrorists responsible for the murder of 17 American sailors? Funny you should ask. They were captured and "incarcerated" in Yemen. By May of 2008, however, all of them had either "escaped" from prison or been freed by Yemeni officials. (Air quotes, mine.)

THE TRUTH IS, THE Navy prison was too good for the terrorist suspects. If Mr. Obama insists on bringing the detainees stateside, I'm all for it. But I don't see why we can't house them in a nice outdoorsy detention facility somewhere in the Aleutian Islands. Cold Bay, Alaska would be perfect. There is even a convenient airport nearby -- if you can believe that. Al Qaeda recruitment would drop off faster than a prom dress if terrorists learned that, should their panty bomb fail to ignite, they would be sent not to a sunny Caribbean Island, but to one of the Aleutians.

Evidently, it is not enough to return terrorism suspects to the Middle East so they can pick up where they left off, or even to bring them stateside -- they must receive the full complement of rights and due processes normally reserved for American citizens. That explains why accused war criminal Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the World Trade Center attacks, will get a glamorous civilian show trial next door to Ground Zero -- just so he can smirk every time he arrives at the courthouse. As if Mohammed hasn't cost Americans enough already, his trial is expected to cost the city of New York more than $200 million per year in extra security.

Forget the mythical 72 virgins, what these young men really want is 15 minutes of celebrity cult status. Why do you think al Qaeda is always making those crappy videos? Like every overweight American housewife, terrorists are dying to get on TV. Bin Ladin would show you his breasts if he thought that would get him thirty seconds on Jerry Springer. When today's impressionable young Muslims get a load of CNN's Live from New York, it's The Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Show, they are going to be flooding the local mosques to enlist. We are in for one big media circus, folks. Don't forget the popcorn.

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About the Author
Christopher Orlet writes from St. Louis.