Lose: This week's "news" about the continuing debate in Washington over closing the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo and what to do about those who are held there is a losing issue all around. Still smarting over the Christmas Day "underpants bomber" fiasco and new revelations about the indictment of a 46-year-old American-born blond volunteer murder-suicide recruiter who bills herself as "Jihad Jane," the O-Team now wants to cut a deal with Congress. This is a loser for everyone, especially the American people.
According to Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Obama administration has offered to try detainees as enemy combatants before military tribunals instead of civilian courts if Congress will fund the closing of Gitmo and the moving of the detainees to prisons here in the U.S. The Department of Justice already has located one such facility -- the Thomson Correctional Center -- in the president's home state of Illinois.
This loopy proposal is even less popular with the American people than Mr. Obama's plan for government-run health care. Unfortunately, some people in Congress -- such as Sens. Richard "Dick" Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. -- think this is an admirable proposition and are doing what they can to advance the scheme. Sen. Graham has to be glad he won't face the voters again until 2014. Perhaps they will have forgotten this losing idea by then.
Draw: Afghanistan. This week, while Vice President Joe Biden was wandering through the Holy Land doing his best to alienate our only real democratic ally in the region, Defense Secretary Bob Gates was in Afghanistan. After shoring up the Obama administration's nearly ruptured relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Gates went to see the troops and get what he called "ground truth" from those fighting the war.
In Kandahar, Gates presented Silver Star medals for heroism to U.S. Army aviators Lt. Col. John Morgan and Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Woolley. As evidence of how things have begun to turn around since the "Afghanistan surge" began in December, he was able to walk without a flak jacket or helmet through the streets of Now Zad, in Helmand province. A little more than a year ago, our Fox News team was embedded there with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines -- and they took fire every day.
Curiously, Gates said he feels "reinforced that the path we're on is the right path, but it will take a long time." How the secretary of defense squares "a long time" with Mr. Obama's pledge to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 16 months was not addressed. Given the blood and treasure being poured into this fight -- and the clear successes now being achieved on the battlefield -- we can only hope that the president isn't going to settle for a "tie" in the shadows of the Hindu Kush just to adhere to another arbitrary deadline.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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