Guantanamo Detainees – France Gets Its One

While on what has become known as his “apology tour” of Europe, President Barack Obama appealed to EU countries to accept Guantanamo detainees. France’s president Sarkozy famously offered to “take one.”

A small, harmless one, it is assumed.

With the release of detainee Lakhdar Boumediene, an Algerian who was renditioned out of Bosnia in 2001 in an alleged plot to blow up the US embassy in Sarajevo, France now has its symbolic Guantanamo detainee.

While a cynic might challenge the value of allies in problem solving, those of us watching the ultimate disposition of the 240 or so detainees remaining at Guantanamo see this move as another attempt by the administration to dump the Gitmo problem .

Boumediene was released according to a Washington Post article because the Justice Department was unable to present sufficient evidence to a federal court to try him.

Readers of this space are familiar with the issue: battlefields are not crime scenes and soldiers are not CSI. Most of the detainees remaining at Guantanamo – and a large percentage of those already released – are committed terrorists who return to the fight, either physically picking up AKs and killing innocents or by manipulating compliant media.

Additional releases of detainees bring us closer to the day that the Obama administration will order release of detainees into US soil. It is a matter of time.

More than 39 state legislatures have enacted or pending laws on the books prohibiting relocation of detainees to their jurisdiction. More states are expected to act similarly, and several lawmakers in Congress – from both parties – have introduced similar bills.

What we are likely to see is a fight between Federal branches as Congress takes on Executive and Judicial branches, while 10th Amendment challenges will erupt between states and the Federal government.

Public opinion will play a major role in this upcoming controversy. The outrage over having detainees relocated to their districts or states has already caused essentially anti-Guantanamo legislators to move to the side of exclusion.

But the battle has just begun.


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