I guess Bush should have backed Katherine Harris, after all. Sen. Mel Martinez, the Senate candidate Bush backed instead of Harris, has become the first Republican to call for shutting down Guantanamo. Martinez hasn't said where the 500 or so suspected al-Qaida operatives currently at Gitmo should be transferred to, but I understand the Neverland Ranch might soon be available.
Maybe Sen. Arlen Specter ? the liberal Republican Bush backed instead of conservative Pat Toomey, which still didn't help Bush in Pennsylvania ? will step forward to defend the Bush administration. That Karl Rove is a genius.
Martinez explained his nonsensical call for the closing of Guantanamo by asking: "Is it serving all the purposes you thought it would serve when initially you began it, or can this be done some other way a little better?"
There are Arabs locked up at Guantanamo, no? Admittedly, not enough. (And not under what any frequent flier would describe as "harsh conditions.") Still and all, Arabs are locked up there. That is what we call a "purpose."
By becoming a focus of evil for human-rights groups, Martinez suggested, Guantanamo has become a recruiting tool for al-Qaida: "It's become an icon for bad stories," Martinez said, "and at some point you wonder the cost-benefit ratio." (I've been wondering the same thing about Mel Martinez.)
This is preposterous. NBC's "The West Wing" is an icon for bad stories; Gitmo is a place where we keep an eye on evil, dangerous people who want to kill us.
Martinez was borrowing a point from Sen. Joe Biden ? which is always a dangerous gambit because you never know who said it originally. The "Biden" version was: "I think more Americans are in jeopardy as a consequence of the perception that exists worldwide with its existence than if there were no Gitmo."
So if people around the world believe that if they try to kill Americans they might go to a bad, scary place called Guantanamo, that will make them more likely to kill Americans? How about doing a cost-benefit ratio on that analysis?
Let's also pause to ponder the image of the middle-of-the-road, "centrist" jihadist who could be "recruited" to jihad by reports about abuse at Guantanamo. You know ? the kind of guy who just watches al-Jazeera for the sports and hits the "mute" button whenever they start in about the Jews again, already.
Liberals want us to believe such a person exists and that he is perusing newspaper articles about Guantanamo trying to decide whether to finish his coffee and head off to work or to place a backpack filled with dynamite near a preschool.
Note to liberals: That doesn't happen.