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Huckster Huckabee

The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has been in the headlines more and more in recent weeks. It started with last week's ruling by a military panel to toss charges against detainees there and when former Secretary of State Colin Powell again criticized it this weekend.

On Sunday's Late Edition, GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee responded to Powell's claims about Gitmo. During the course of his argument he said that most state prisoners would "love to be in a facility more like Guantanamo." Several bloggers have taken the governor to task for his remarks but I wanted to focus on another bit of rhetoric that is sure to increase in frequency as demands to close the prison mount.

Any time the topic of closing Gitmo comes up, the go-to excuse for why we can not do so is always that if we were to release the detainees currently held there, they would simply rejoin the fight against the US and our allies. This is yet another strawman since no one to my knowledge is advocating that we simply release the detainees, only that they be brought under the purview of the criminal justice system. But nevertheless, Huckabee stuck to the "they'll come back to get us" narrative.
But I’ll tell you, if we let somebody out and it turns out that they come and fly an airliner into one of our skyscrapers, we’re going to be asking, how come we didn’t stop them? We had them detained.

What is never said is that we have in fact released hundreds of detainees from Gitmo throughout its duration. In many cases those same individuals were subsequently released by their home governments. They clearly are not concerned about those men "flying airliners into skyscrapers", yet this fear of what they "may" do is enough for the likes of Gov. Huckabee to say we should essentially keep them locked away forever without charge or trial.

If this is Huckabee's idea of what justice should be like, I'd hate to see the prisons in Arkansas.

Update: Digby reminds us of how "tough" Huckabee was on crime.

(Filed at State of the Day and Blognonymous)

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