Politics as Usual: Another Washington Deal

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They’re at it again. This time they are playing with fire.

First, some background:


Overwhelming numbers of Americans do not want terrorists tried in civilian courts.

Rather, the people say military tribunals are appropriate. And, Guantanamo is the best site for them.

Similar numbers of citizens say they do not want Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four henchmen tried in New York City or anywhere stateside. Ditto for other terrorists.

We know all this from national polls taken after three Obama Administration announcements that they: A. would close Guantanamo, B. would try captured terrorists in civilian court, and C. would bring Khalid Sheik Mohammed to the U.S. for trial.

Stunned by the news, the public reaction grew quickly following Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement that the administration would bring Mohammed into the U.S. to try him in civilian court near the site of the Twin Towers.

Initially, local officials stood with the President and AG Holder.

But, the American people would not be swayed.

As a result, within days, New York area officials began to back pedal. Eventually, most would step away from the president.

Along with these three missteps, the Obama administration blindly proceeded to look for sites in the United States to house the captured terrorists they intend to bring here from Guantanamo.

That too makes no sense in the view of most Americans.

It is yet another example of an administration that makes increasingly out-of-touch decisions.

Over recent months, political analysts have suggested that the mistake prone administration needed to find a way out of their self-inflicted predicament. No doubt they may also need time to bleed out their native recalcitrance to all things sensible.

Enter Senator Lindsey Graham.

Donning his familiar politics-as-usual cloak Senator Graham has been visiting the White House quite frequently these past several months. Now, we may know why – and what – he was bringing under that cloak.

This weekend, the senior senator from South Carolina was a featured guest on a Sunday talk show. What he said sounded like the public preamble of yet another political deal. Here’s a recap:

In an apparent sop to President Obama, Senator Graham said “Reversing Attorney General Eric Holder’s plan to try suspected terrorists in a civilian court in New York City would be seen as an act of leadership by the public.”

No, Senator, it would not. At best, it will be seen for what it is – politically expedient.

“If the president agrees to try alleged September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four henchmen in military tribunals, he (Senator Lindsey Graham) will press fellow Republicans to vote to close the Guantanamo Bay prison.”

Why would any American