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If not NYC, where else could Obama's administration possibly try the Guantanamo Bay prisoners?

Guantanamo Bay detention facility

Now that the Obama administration's Justice Department appears ready to deny the publicity-seeking self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind, his alleged cohorts and their defense attorneys the brightly-lit global stage of Broadway and the Big Apple for the trials, the debate begins over where best to hold them.

Chicago's South Side Hyde Park doesn't seem to be on the list of possibles. Nor Eric Holder's neighborhood.

Gee, if only the United States had a secure military-type prison 90 miles offshore where it could not only safely house these accused possessed evildoers but try them as well.

Now comes a new Rasmussen Reports poll that could make President Obama hit his forehead with the palm of his hand: Why didn't we think of this?Doh, Demopcrat president Barack Obama tries to figure out where to hold terrorist trials for Guantanamo Bay prisoners

Rasmussen found 44% of U.S. voters suggesting the trials of Guantanamo Bay prisoners be held in a place called Guantanamo Bay, which is 90 miles offshore on the island called Cuba.

Thirty-three percent don't like that idea, but weren't volunteering their town. And 23% couldn't decide.

Nineteen months ago, 54% of Americans thought these foreign guys should be tried by military tribunals on account of their allegedly being involved in a military conflict against the United States and its people.

As a result, the Obama administration decided to try them instead in civil courts as if the accused were American citizens full of rights. This decision can't be changed because Holder's Justice Department already dropped the military charges before placing the civil ones.

So now today, more than two-thirds of Americans (67%) think military tribunals are or would have been the route to go.

There's another homemade Obama catch. During the 2008 presidential campaign, as part of his change platform, the ex-community organizer promised to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility because it had a bad reputation. As opposed to, say, any other prison on the planet, which typically are so well-thought-of that the facilities must have barbed wire all around to keep people from breaking in.

Guantanamo was especially ill-thought of among millions of people overseas who can't vote in the U.S.

In fact, despite warnings that it was more difficult than it seemed from Springfield, on his second day in office before he'd even found all the White House bathrooms, Obama signed a real Executive Order ordering the Guantanamo prison closed by the end of 2009.

He couldn't follow his own Executive Order. Missed the deadline. Completely blew it.

In fact, it was more difficult than it seemed from Springfield, or anywhere else for that matter. Turns out, few of the other countries that were so eager to have Guantanamo closed were so eager to imprison its inhabitants on their soil. And it also turns out that, if released, about 1 in 5 of these guys went right back into combat against American and allied troops, which is a dangerous thing.

So despite the promises and the Executive Order, in fact, there's still no new or maybe firm date for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Although, by golly, it will be closed. Believe in it.

In the meantime, however, the secure facility is still there. Still secure. So are the prisoners. And the best part is, Guantanamo has no member of Congress to get his/her behind shot off by angry voters in this fall's midterm elections. As The Ticket pointed out here could happen in Illinois Tuesday.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Joe Skipper / Reuters (Guantanamo); White House (file).

Comments () | Archives (39)

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As things do not come easily especially because all the rulers have to deal with problems of the past make them in trouble at the present.

That's a great shot of Barky slapping his forehead! What WAS he thinking?

Gosh... Who's burried in Grant's tomb?

I'd say the place to try the Gitmo prisoners would be Gitmo.

How much simpler does it need to be?

BTW, they need to be military trials, not civilian trials; these people aren't US citizens, are they? Easy answers all around.

the president's entire mental paradigm on terrorism is outrageously inadequate, internally inconsistent, and dangerous. it is becoming increasingly clear both to friends and adversaries that he is in over his head in this job. as much as i agree that he is in over his head, moving the trial to gitmo would become an international sensation of a president self-repudiated, and that simply is not a viable path for the usa to take. it makes all the sense of the world for any president other than one who has put ideological handcuffs on himself. this one can't do it.

If the Obama administration is going to recover the confidence of the American people, it would do three things: 1.) fire Eric Holder; 2.) reverse his stand on closing Guantanamo and 3.) Send all the terrorist detainees to military tribunals or just keep them locked in Guantanamo!

The real mystery is why they don't just call the ones they can't convict POWs and keep them for the "duration of the hostilities". It wasn't like we were turning loose Japanese or Germans in 1943. Some we might have later tried for war crimes, but even if we didn't, we didn't turn them loose before the war was over. It worked then & it should work now.

But as for where to hold it; a large military base near NYC. Say Fort Dix - or what is left of it.



Said well but in the present I agree only now that the past especially rules easily things that are problems.

what an incompetent administration

". . .try them instead in civil courts. . . . . This decision can't be changed because Holder's Justice Department already dropped the military charges."

Mr. Malcolm,

I'm not an attorney, but I believe that you are incorrect here. It is my understanding that the military charges were dropped "without prejudice" which means that the defendendant can be charged again at a later date.

Lester Maddox, when asked about improving Georgia's prison system when he was governor:

“Can’t improve them without a better class of prisoner,” he famously said.

Obama is so committed to his far left "Bush derangement syndrome" that he cannot bring himself to admit that ANYTHING Bush did was the right thing. A sad thing that an American President is so stubborn that he is willing to risk the security of the country just to TRY to score a stupid political point and suck up to a bunch of Europeans. This is what complete lack of experience in governance and an overwhelming partisan agenda buys.

I'm waiting for him to blame the situation on Bush if he hasn't already. I say hold the hearings in Hyde Park and let the unions provide security.

Obama is a one-termer, a man without convictions, whose only purpose in seeking the presidency is to whet his narcissistic appetite.

It is soooo much easier to campaign than it is to govern.

Holder thinks the purpose of this trial is to teach the world a lesson about US democracy.

The correct purpose of this trial is to teach the terrorists on trial a lesson.

Confusing the two is wrong.

It's not that this Administation's administration of their policies is inept, it's that their policies are themselves inept. What a shame that we have leadership that insists America can be a greater nation than it has ever been without resembling anything that from the beginning made us great.

Funny how reality gets in the way of all the "Progressive" propaganda.

Over one year with the faux Messiah, this incompetent , inept holder of the Presidential office, we have seen Dems and his minions acting as if national security was watching CSI or Law and Order. No real honesty about the real threats of Islamofascism. And having people in his Admin., like Holder and other socialist pacifist types, one is not sure with great confidence that these community organizers understand national security or border protection or how and where to house enemy combatants. Gitmo was to be closed for the rabid, anti-American leftist haters that make up much of the left wing of the Dem Base. Gitmo was a great place to hold the Islamo enemy. It was safe and could be used for military tribunals without any danger to American citizens , cities, or special areas of security. Obama of course , could not see that since he too is in the Alinsky-Ayers,Henry A. Wallace, Alger Hiss wing of the Democrats who do not think America should show a strong military or aggressive force to the rest of the world. Wouldn't be prudent if one kow tows to all because one thinks America needs to be penalized.

It's also interesting how there were very few mentions that some of the rescue flights from Haiti went to Guantanamo. Did the White House decide that Mr. Obama looking bad might outweigh the good PR that a benevolent use of Gitmo might bring?

Is this the same mentality that got Reuters to yank a story on how Obama's budget would also impose a stealth tax on most Americans?

Sometimes the messenger, not the message, really is the problem.

Often we hear the argument that Gitmo should be closed because it is such a rallying cry for Islamic terrorists in their on going efforts to attract willing volunteers. So if we closed Gitmo, then all Islamic terrorist activities against America would end, having completely undermined recruitment capabilities, right? I mean, it's not like they could come up with some other justification for their war against infidels. Terrorism would end. Roses would pop up in December in Montana; we could stop going through slow cues at airports; and our cities would all be safe. This is going to save a fortune. We no longer need to fund Homeland Security, and all our troops can come home. All by closing Gitmo. It sounds too good to be true, but, really, I mean, closing Gitmo would so rehab American opinion that all those efforts would become meaningless.


GTMO has the detainees in place, the guards in place, and a brand new state-of-the art courthouse built to try these same detainees through the military commission process. Hundreds of millions have been spent on the facilities in GTMo, and the detainees down there are treated with kid - why would we want to spend hundreds of millions more to try them in the US? It's crazy. we're going to be criticized no matter where they're tried; but trying and holding them in a 'new' facility in the US is money down the drain..

I agree that the trials be held at Gitmo. Big Problem.... obama wants to close Gitmo and the trial could last years.

Solution... Turn it over to a military tribunal and in 6 weeks the bast67d will hang and then close it.

A lot of things that President Bush did are starting to look real good next to the actions of this clown. Guantanamo Bay as a prison and trial venue--good idea. Fight terrorists overseas on the battlefield of OUR choosing instead of letting them choose where they want to fight--good idea. Tax cuts to spur economic growth instead of $787 BILLION in stimulus spending that ended up not doing anything--good idea. Wiretaps on terrorist phone calls--good idea. Charging terrorists as enemy combatants instead of common criminals--good idea. Standing up and speaking the truth about countries like Iran and North Korea instead of trying to be nice to them (which hasn't gotten us anywhere)--good idea. The list goes on and on. The longer BHO is in the office, the more President Bush looks like the great leader that he was.

And we here in Illinois can have them here! Gosh I'm excited. Not to mention that there's what, nearly $300 million in the budget -- money we don't have -- to buy a facility the taxpyers of Illinois already own.

He's a dunce. Plain and simple.

I don't think it is correct that they cannot still be tried by military tribunals. I think that option is still open.

Let's see. We elect a man who wrote, in his own book, that working in the private sector for a couple years made him feel "like he was behind enemy lines" (how many of you reading this have ever felt that way--and if he did, then what is his idea of friendly lines?). And, he has never run so much as a Cinnabon stand (no offense to Cinnabon stand owners).

And now we are shocked (SHOCKED) that unless he has a teleprompter, he says the dumbest things, has no clue what he is doing, and is so obviously out of his league that it shows every day. Even my dear mom, who fell for this dangerous fool, admitted two months ago that voting for him was a terrible mistake.

Only three years left. Boy are they going to be 36 of the longest months ever endured by Americans.

The military charges were dismissed without prejudice. They can be reinstated at any time.

Oh but President Obama is going to change the world with hopey hopey change change! Thats why we voted for him! He is the brightist most articulate president since Kennedy! Oh and he is so sexy! I want to have his babies! And I am so proud of myself for voting for a black man, it made me and millions like me proud of myself.

This former newspaper reporter hired a mouse to tap the following onto his iMac's keyboard last Friday:

Associated Mess
"The Obama Administration has announced that the trial of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and four others will be held in Chicago, Associated Mess has learned.

“We have reviewed the protests of our decision to have the trial in New York City,” an unidentified spokesman said, “so we have chosen Chicago instead. Why risk losing another seat in the Senate?”

The spokesman said that the Administration knew of protests from the governor of New York, the mayor of New York City, the appointed Senator who’s up for election in November, and Rep. Peter King.

He said those protests and the estimated cost of $75 million to the city for security costs, the estimated $200 million annual cost of the trial, its expected duration of several years, the trial’s value as a huge propaganda megaphone for Muslims with an itch to murder unbelievers and Muslims not members of their tribes or branch of Muslim practice, the expected bombings and murders in New York City over several years, as the entire city became a symbol of the Great Satan, thanks to the trial, did not figure in the decision.

“Hey, look,” one expert told AM, “the President is a Chicago guy. He can charge Chicago’s moneyed elite for the cost of the trial and associated security. Or maybe he’ll back an increase in cigarette and beer taxes. Or float a bond that the Chinese will pay for. He wants to compensate for Chicago’s loss of its Olympic Games bid.” Another expert noted that prosecution and defense lawyers would spend millions in Chicago’s hotels and best restaurants.

The expert added that “Obama’s cool with bombing. A good buddy uncorked a bomb or two in his day. Chicago will become the anti-Mecca to the world’s wackiest Muslims. They will spend money in the city and then blow up local churches and bars. If they don’t kill themselves, they will get civilian trials, unlike outside the U.S. where they would be in military jurisdiction. And they could make good propaganda for their causes in their trials.”

I'm amazed that this article is sponsored by the LA Times.

Now that the genius Holder has dropped the military charges- and the administration is completely befuddled of this debacle, and no other countries want the vermin, and no US cities want the vermin... I suggest we lock them up on an island at sea and FORGET ABOUT IT.

The insanity is almost too much to bear? We have 10% unemployment and a mountain of corrupt spending and debt, and Obama wants to spend hundreds of millions or billions for circus trials for the murdering terrorist who planned 9/11. The underwear bomber still hasn't been interrogated. We know this insanity is exactly what Obama wanted, but he can't be fired until 2012. So if he has the sense God gave a bedpost he would claim that Eric Holder gave him the worst advice in the history of the nation, fire him, and send all the murdering terrorists back to Gitmo for any necessary interrogations and military trials. If Obama won't do it any sane Democrats in Congress should join with Republicans to force this course of action!

Being an LA native, I am shocked--SHOCKED!--that this commentary appeared in the LA Times of all places! I am rather impressed actually. It's bad when the usual bastions of progressive-liberal media are turning against you (well, the New York Times notwithstanding). I totally agree with the opinions expressed in this article and all the reader comments that have followed. Any of you could make better executive decisions than our current President!

Gee ... Maybe George W. Bush wasn't such a blithering idiot after all?

George Bush is looking vastly more competent than Barack Obama.

93% of Obama advisers are from academia and only 7% are from private sector people working in his administration. Even Carter had 500% more private sector people in his administration.

This quote pretty much sums up what Obama's problem is:

"The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work, therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive." --- Thomas Sowell.

Of course, he's talking about academia and the media. Obama and the democrats are failing and will be out of office because they don't know how to govern or run an economy. The media doesn't know the difference.


Where are all the Democrats who should be sticking up for this administration in the comments? This is the L.A. Times, for God's sake! This "news" paper was one of the most important propaganda contributors to the narrative that made this ridiculous non-experienced non-accomplished pseudo academic affirmative-action leftist the President of the United States! Seriously, are you people this disheartened now? Buyers remorse? Are you feeling a bit humbled? Maybe you owe George W. Bush an apology. Maybe Hillary could have done better. Doesn't it feel a bit like our country is circling the drain, just about to go down, and that we haven't seen anything like the worst of it yet? Reuters has to withdraw their story, who knows what threats caused that. The "media" is a joke. Just don't report things you don't want us to know. Like John Edwards. Climategate. Nancy Pelosi's travel expenses. The list is endless. Just don't report it. That's the ticket. I hope to see every employee, investor, owner, manager, editor, director, and vice president of the L.A. Times by my freeway offramp, with a cardboard sign. That would make me very happy. By the way, what ever happened to the 100 lawsuits that were going to be filed against Arnold for groping women? You know, the story that came out on Dirty Trick Thursday before the recall, where the L.A. Times tried to throw the election to Cruz Bustamonte? What ever happened?

(Pssst. This isn't a newspaper. It's an online blog. You can tell 'cause there's no paper. And no inky fingers. You should come by more often.)

Obama & Holder are a bad joke on American!

Obama said in his book Dreams of my Father that when its comes down to deciding He would stand with the Muslims! He is & Has! This is the only promise he has keep!

I erred in my satire. The reference to a potential loss of a New York seat in the Senate conflicts with what follows.

However, it's quite clear that firmly held convictions consistent with an ideology led both the President and Attorney General Holder to ignore that which should have been obvious to both of them, as informed lawyers.

I do not doubt that they had good intentions. But many mistakes result from people with good intentions. The civilian trials of people better handled in the military justice system will be one of those mistakes from good intentions.

One other point: many posters wonder at the existence of the blog comment. But the Los Angeles Times, for all its faults (its staff is, after all, human) is not Pravda in Stalin's time. It ran an op-ed last July by Miguel Estrada that predictably, the rest of the press did not follow up on, but it was a lucid explanation of the legal issues in Honduras last year.

Good for the newspaper!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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