Republican Senator Lindsay Graham (S.C.) is trying to cut a deal with the Obama Administration. Last week Graham said that if President Obama agrees to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, master mind of the Sept. 11th attacks, in a military tribunal, he will help convince his fellow Republicans to support closing Guantanamo Bay. Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla) says there is no way Graham could convince them.
“He can’t do it,” said Inhofe. “Republicans, almost all of them — let’s go from the Armed Services Committee looking down the Republican side — with the exception of Lindsay Graham, are on our side on this.”
Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R.-Mi) wrote in the New York Post that “Only in Washington could bureaucrats hatch such a deal to trade one deeply unpopular proposal for another.”
Inhofe says that those in favor of closing GITMO believe that the perception is that the United States has been torturing detainees there. Inhofe says this is “bogus.” “We don’t have one documented case of weatherboarding, or really torturing, depending on what you use as a definition.”
Inhofe also believes that if we detain terrorists in the same facilities with criminals, the terrorists will use this opportunity to their advantage. “By definition, terrorists are in the business of training people to be terrorists, that’s what they do for a living. And of course you put them with a bunch of people who steal hubcaps or whatever they’re in there for, they could come out as terrorists,” said Inhofe.
Graham is widely known as a close friend of former Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (Az.). McCain has endorsed Obama’s promise to close GITMO but said that he would have “relaxed” the (already passed) deadline that Obama set.
HUMAN EVENTS asked Inhofe if there was anyway to change Graham’s mind on GITMO. “From my own experience, it seems that it is difficult to change his mind on anything – whether it is on cap and trade or GITMO or amnesty. Senator Graham knows how to command media attention for being a maverick, but I wish he was getting that label for taking the right position on these issues.”
It’s reported that in December of 2008 McCain and Graham meet with Obama in his transition headquarters in Chicago to discuss their assistance in closing Gitmo. Graham told the Washington Post that “Emanuel was well aware that his and any other Republican support for closing Guantanamo Bay hinged on keeping alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed out of civilian court.”
“If we will look at everything that Lindsay Graham is saying all over the television, he’s talking about how we can overcome this, that we do have a way that we can modify these prisons, and that can have some kind of compromise on tribunals. There’s an easier answer, just leave it open. We’ve got a $20 million complex down there for tribunals,” said Inhofe.
Obama and his administration have faced harsh criticism from both Democrats and Republicans on this issue but reports from the White House still say that he plans to close the detention center as well as try KSM in a New York courthouse.