‘They don’t pose a threat’

‘THEY DON’T POSE A THREAT’…. During the Bush/Cheney years, it was common to hear GOP officials insist that politicians should honor the national security decisions reached by military leaders. At the time, this made it easier for Republicans to oppose an end to the war in Iraq — they could point to the brass, some of whom opposed withdrawal.

But if GOP lawmakers still believe that elected officials should take notice when military leaders make a policy pronouncement, I hope they were listening to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff this morning.

President Barack Obama’s top military adviser said the Pentagon is working to meet the president’s deadline of closing Guantanamo Bay by January 2010.

“I’ve advocated for a long time now that it needs to be closed,” Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said on “This Week” Sunday, “President Obama made a decision very early after his inauguration to do that by next January and we’re all working very hard to meet that deadline.”

George Stephanopoulos noted that “everybody’s big concern” is that detainees “would pose a danger” if brought onto U.S. soil. Mullen conceded that closing the detention center is a “challenge,” but went on to note reality: “We have terrorists in jail right now, have had for some time. They’re in supermax prisons. And they don’t pose a threat.”

So, we have the man Bush/Cheney asked to be Defense Secretary and the man Bush/Cheney asked to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs in agreement: Obama’s right about closing Gitmo and lawmakers are wrong about potential dangers.

It seems, if the situations were reversed, and Democratic lawmakers were on the opposite side of the Commander in Chief, the Republican Defense Secretary, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs — in the midst of two wars — we might hear a little more talk about why Dems were at odds with the U.S. military.

Except, in this case, it’s the entire Republican Party fighting the White House, the Pentagon, and the brass.