Not in my backyard
When Barack Obama decided he wanted to close Guantanamo Bay in order to appease his liberal base, one of the main questions that came up was what would become of the detainees. Well I guess Amherst has decided to chip its two cents in foreign affairs, as a couple of the town‘s selectpeople have decided that it would be a good idea to have a few detainees cleared for release to settle down in Amherst.
Well, that raises a few questions. My first is: Really? According to the Pentagon, 11 percent of the detainees released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to terrorist activities. Why would Amherst take the risk of encouraging detainees to come to here, even if they are cleared? An 11 percent chance of terrorist activities is a larger risk than I’m willing to take. Any chance above zero is a chance I’m not willing to take. It’s one thing if these selectpeople are proponents of released detainees being allowed to return to their normal lives. But I think they’re just out to make a statement. They could be putting innocent lives in danger for their politics. What if one of these welcomed detainees made a terrorist attack here?. Why would we want to go out of our way as a community to take this risk?
I guess none of us should be surprised that Amherst’s leaders felt the need to get on a soap box and call attention to how far leftist the town is, though. This isn’t the first time the town’s select board has wrongly thought that the townspeople care about their thoughts on foreign affairs. At town meetings in the past, according to MassLive.com, Amherst selectpeople have “debated and approved resolutions such as urging the United States to use diplomacy and avoid military action against Iran, opposing genocide in the Darfur region of the Sudan, calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and to impeach then-President George W. Bush and then-Vice President Richard B. Cheney.”
Who do these people think they are, voting on foreign affairs or the impeachment of President Bush? Their opinion on these matters is about as important as Paris Hilton’s. Normally, I just wouldn’t care about the circus these people are making to feel important, but now their actions may have real life consequences. The decision they are making to have Guantanamo Bay detainees come to Amherst is not the same charade it was by supporting the impeachment of President Bush. This vote may affect the lives of everyone here for the worse.
Sometimes liberals simply take their ideals too far. I think this is a prime example. They opposed to people being held at Guantanamo Bay and they want to prove it so much that they are willing to put the people of Amherst in jeopardy. It’s ridiculous, but it really isn’t much more ridiculous than closing Guantanamo in the first place.
President Obama originally said he would close the prison by Jan. 22, 2010, but some reports indicate that it will not be possible for all the inmates to be removed by that time because nobody in their right mind wants them. Our allies don’t want them and the states don’t want them in their jails or their communities – besides Amherst.
People can argue that some percentage of individuals at Guantanamo are innocent and that may be true. But that doesn’t justify releasing all of them. The people in charge of Guantanamo clearly can’t tell who is a terrorist and who isn’t based on the percentage released detainees who have returned to terrorism. Let’s not risk making another mistake with the detainees they want to send to Amherst. There are no benefits to doing so. It’s a needless risk.
Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.