BOEHNER HEARTS GITMO…. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seems to think that if President Obama agrees to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed and some 9/11 co-conspirators in military tribunals instead of civilian courts, Republicans will agree to help close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
There’s no reason to think the latter goal is achievable.
Asked about the [Gitmo] facility and whether it would be closed, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview that airs on Sunday’s State of the Union, “Well, no they’re not. They — they keep saying they are.”
Boehner rejected the White House proposal saying, “(T)hey want $500 million from this Congress to rehabilitate this prison in northwest Illinois. I want to see who the members are who are going to vote for this. I wouldn’t vote for this if you put a gun to my head.”
Boehner’s hysterics are a reminder that negotiating with GOP lawmakers in a bid to improve America’s national security interests is clearly pointless. Boehner just isn’t serious enough, or perhaps not smart enough, to bother.
But it’s also a reminder that congressional Republicans just don’t seem to care anymore what military leaders actually want for the country. Not too terribly long ago, the notion of closing the facility at Guantanamo Bay wasn’t especially controversial. George W. Bush supported closing it, as did John McCain. Defense Secretary Robert Gates supports closing it, as do Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen and Gen. David Petraeus.
But even with a proverbial gun to John Boehner’s head, the would-be Speaker doesn’t care.
Keep in mind, up until fairly recently, Democratic politicians simply weren’t supposed to say that Petraeus, Gates, and intelligence leaders were wrong about national security matters. Indeed, for Dems to say that they knew better than Petraeus, Gates, and intelligence leaders — that their judgment was superior to military leaders’ — was grounds for mockery, if not condemnation, usually from clowns like John Boehner.
But look at where we’ve ended up. On everything from civilian trials to Gitmo to torture, we have two distinct groups — GOP leaders, the Cheneys, Limbaugh, Fox News, and conservative activists on one side; President Obama, Gen. Petraeus, Secretary Gates, Colin Powell, Adm. Mullen, Adm. Blair, and Gen. Jones on the other.
Boehner and his Republicans cohorts are reluctant to admit it, and political insiders have been slow to acknowledge it, but what we’re witnessing is exceedingly rare — the Republican establishment openly rejecting the judgment of the military establishment.
Imagine if the situations were reversed, and Democratic lawmakers were on the opposite side of the Commander in Chief, the Centcom commander, the Republican Defense Secretary, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs — in the midst of two wars. Might we hear a little more talk about why Dems were at odds with the U.S. military establishment?
And if so, why isn’t the GOP break with the military a bigger deal?