Sunday, May 24, 2009

Backbencher of the Week

This week fear swept through the halls of Congress as the fate of detainees at Guantanamo Bay dominated the debate.  During debate on the Afghanastan and Iraq war supplemental, Senate Appropiations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye introduced an amendment to strip funding for the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

All sorts of hysterical talk filled the air around Capitol Hill.  Senators stoked fears about terrorists being released into American communities.  Carried along by this wave of fear, the Senate passed the Inouye amendment 90-6.  To be fair, many of the Democrats who voted for the amendment said they would reconsider their votes when the Obama administration releases a detailed plan on the closing of Guantanamo.

The fact that only 6 Senators saw through the fear and supported the closing of Guantanamo is disturbing.   Dangerous detainees will not be released into American communities.  Instead they will be kept in federal prisons and military brigs; places that already house terrorists and other dangerous people.  It is a sad commentary on our political system that what should be common sense stands out as politically courageous but it does.

For an act of both common sense and political courage, we honor Senator Jack Reed(D-RI) for being one of the 6 to vote against the Inouye amendment.  Congratulations Senator Reed for being this week's Backbencher of the Week.

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