THE THREE AMIGOS STRUGGLE TO KEEP UP…. Well, that’s embarrassing.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) sent a letter to President Obama today asking him to halt the transfer of six Guantanamo detainees to Yemen. The request, they say, is in light of the danger they’ve apparently just now realized Yemen poses, because Nigerian terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has said he was trained there.
The only problem: those six detainees have already been returned to Yemen.
Whether the appeal itself has merit is suspect enough. For Graham, McCain, and Lieberman, the fact that there are terrorists in Yemen necessarily means detainees from Yemen shouldn’t return home, regardless of the individual circumstances. That may have a certain child-like logic, but it’s not an especially coherent approach to national security.
What’s more, note that Bush/Cheney released 14 Gitmo detainees to Yemen, and the Graham/McCain/Lieberman trio didn’t have much to say about it at the time.
But the fact that these three wrote to the president about detainees who have already been sent back suggests the Graham/McCain/Lieberman triumvirate not only don’t understand the policy, but aren’t even keeping up on current events. Did it not occur to the senators or their aides to, I don’t know, check Google or something?
In case this wasn’t quite embarrassing enough, when confronted with reality, the senators complained that their ignorance was Obama’s fault: “A spokeswoman for McCain, Brooke Buchanan … said the gap in the senators’ knowledge raised questions about the administration’s communications with Congress.”
Actually, the gap in the senators’ knowledge raises questions about the senators’ ability to use a search engine. If you go to the Justice Department’s website, there’s an entire press release about the transfer of these detainees to Yemen. It took me about five seconds to find it. The collective efforts of three experienced United States senators didn’t even check?
Remember, as far as the political establishment is concerned, Graham, McCain, and Lieberman are some of the foremost experts on foreign policy and national security on the Hill. I can’t help but wonder how much more it will take to disabuse the establishment of this misguided perception.