The First Draft: Not in my backyard

May 21, 2009

USA/Former House speaker Tip O’Neill famously said that all politics is local, and President Barack Obama has encountered a phrase all too familiar to city councils and zoning boards: Not in My Backyard.

Obama’s plans to shutter the Guantanamo Bay military prison have foundered on fears, drummed up by Republicans, that terrorism suspects could roam the streets and parks of America if they are set free from U.S. prisons.

Now even Obama’s Democratic allies in Congress have said they won’t give him money to bring the Gitmo suspects into the U.S. legal system.

At 10:00 today, Obama will explain his plans for closing Gitmo with the hopes of curbing the fears of NIMBYism and convincing Congress to cough up the necessary dough.

To get things rolling, his Justice Department plans to bring one suspect to trial.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, a primary architect of the terrorism policy now giving Obama headaches, will offer a lively counterpoint at a separate speech shortly after. He’s likely to raise the specter of coddled terrrorists, out on parole, plotting suicide bombings at the local middle school.

Do we see a new role for Cheney? America’s #1 Neighborhood Activist, perhaps? Hmm, that sounds sort of like a community organizer.

photo credit: REUTERS/Mike Theiler (Demonstrators mark the 100th day of President Barack Obama’s administration and his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison on April 29).

For more Reuters political news, click here.


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In the article Mr. Sullivan states that the Republicans drummed up the fear of terriorist being let loose in our streets. Upon hearing of the current President’s plans to close Gitmo, my first question was where are the terriorist going; this was without any input from persons with counter views. Next was the President’s plan to try the terrorist in U.S. courts, an unwise plan which the Administration appears to be backing away from. If the Obama administration had taken the time to develop a well thought out plan on how to deal with the terrorist, they would not be making so many changes on the run. It’s time to stop, think, then again act in a sensible manner.

Posted by Ed | Report as abusive

Terrorists are already wandering our streets, the most recent example being the four self-styled radical Muslim nuts that were nailed yesterday in New York – all, apparently, native born US citizens. McVeigh wandered our streets. Southern bubbas who blow up African American churches and threaten to secede from the union wander our streets. Keeping the worst of the Guantanamo in prison might make us feel safer, but we won’t in fact be safer. Cheney just can’t follow a logical line on anything, can he? It must be true what the medical people say about brain damage through oxygen deprivation during heart surgery. Either that, or the guy is truly evil and not just stupid.

Posted by Catch | Report as abusive

I just don’t think people can actually believe if Gitmo prisoners are released they will just roam the streets of the US. They will first be tried and their cases will be reviewed. It’s not like Obama just wants actual terrorists running around. That’s absurd. At the same time, there could be hostility towards Americans by the ones released based on the interrogation tactics used against them if they are innocent. Wouldn’t you hold a grudge? I think this is a good step towards a peaceful measure. At least it says we are trying.

Posted by Jess | Report as abusive

“Hmm, that sounds sort of like a community organizer.”

Is that comment news or simply an editorial comment buried in the “news story”?

Posted by Sigmund Fraud | Report as abusive

Although I agree with a couple of the points brought up below, this is a blog its all Andy’s point of view and he can basically say whatever he wants so some the comments about his comments are weird and are just out of place like, “Hmm, that sounds sort of like a community organizer.”

Is that comment news or simply an editorial comment buried in the “news story”?

No thats not news and yes thats a comment… this is a blog.

Sure there is information here but its not an unbiases NEWS story reporting straight up facts, ITS A BLOG!

Posted by urmom | Report as abusive