I have not one iota of doubt that closing the prison at Guantanamo and bringing the accused terrorists there to the United States for trial and imprisonment is the right thing to do. The value of the United States to the world depends upon us being a free country under the rule of law, strong and brave and better than the rest. Guantanamo is a monument to everything this country isn't, and shouldn't be.
I believe that the Republican Party of today generally disdains the power of our freedoms. I believe that most Republicans would sacrifice that which gives this country value. They defend torture and willingly give the Bush Administration a pass on all kinds of extralegal activities that are modern version of the prerogatives enjoyed by the King of England in colonial times. I believe that the underlying reason for Republican willingness to jettison our freedoms is physical fear.
The underlying Republican view is that we're a nation of chickens. Their political strategy is to do what they can to make us more afraid.
All of that said, physical fear is at least something I understand. I get how it can bend a person's thinking. And I get the trauma 9/11 visited on this country, and the horror of terrorist attack and murder. I don't respect those who advocate torture and Executive Branch lawlessness. I believe they're selling our country out, making it weaker and less worthwhile. But I understand their motivations on a human level.
Which brings me to Democrats and, in particular, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Yesterday, Harry Reid sold this country out, deciding that it would be better to maintain the open wound of Gitmo than to take a political risk in order to re-assert the greatness of the United States.
I understand physical fear and the way it can make people do things they would never otherwise do. I don't understand rich, powerful people with locked-in pensions and perpetual stature selling out their country for the sake of preserving their jobs. Not their lives: their jobs.
That's selling this country cheap.
Torture and lawlessness are not what this country is about, and the Republican tendency to justify both out of physical fear is a disgrace. What Harry Reid and his Democratic colleagues are doing right now is disgrace squared. If Republicans are now habitually putting party above country, Reid and the craven Democrats who joined him have taken self-interest to a whole new level. They're putting themselves above both party and country, out of fear not for their lives, but for their careers.
Freedom, people like to say, isn't free. It takes courage and sacrifice. We ask our troops to sacrifice every day, and we pretend to honor that even as we, ourselves, refuse to take even small risks to preserve our nation. What Harry Reid has done is so small, so infinitesimal in spirit and patriotism that is comes close to constituting treason. Certainly, it's a violation of his oath of office. The first job of those in office in the United States is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Reid has failed utterly to do that, sacrificing the Constitution for the sake of his own stature. For that, he should be stripped of that stature, removed first as Majority Leader and, when his term is up, Senator.
More than that, he reminds us why we need to fully and publicly investigate the abuses of the post-9/11 period. It's not about condemnation of the Bush Administration. It's about forever excising the cancer of lawlessness that has infected our government, and that Reid wants to enable for the sake of heading off a 30 second attack ad in his next campaign. That cancer is not just the biggest threat to the survival of this country; it's also the biggest threat to this country's value to the world.