House Democrats want to cut President Bush’s budget for Guantanamo Bay prison in half, beating the administration to the punch in shutting down the facility for terror detainees.
The White House says Bush has already decided to close the U.S. prison in Cuba and transfer more than 370 terrorism suspects elsewhere, possibly including the maximum-security military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
The prison, which began housing terror suspects five years ago, has become a focus for criticism of the Bush administration at home and abroad. Only a few detainees have been selected for trial, leaving the majority in legal limbo and barred from protesting their detentions in court.
With no timetable announced by Bush, Congress is moving ahead on its own. In July, the House Appropriations Committee is expected to propose funding only half of Guantanamo’s budget in the military’s annual spending bill.
While a precise figure of how much would be cut was not immediately available, the prison’s annual operation budget is about $125 million a year.
Acting before Bush is ready would enable Democrats to claim victory in closing the prison.
The Democrats just want to close the prison before we stuff them into it. And Bush is making a big mistake. He should be expanding the prison, not closing it. The long-term ramifications of this decision on American national security are yet to be seen, but they cannot be good. For one thing, the infestation of Darwinism in America will continue to fester unchecked. For another, its kindred ideology, Islamofascism, will flourish at this sign of American weakness. In retrospect, this will prove to be one of Bush’s few blunders; by far, it will be his costliest, as the future successes of terrorists and their allies, the liberals, will demonstrate.