Steve Chapman

It seems like only yesterday conservatives were intent on upholding the powers of the commander-in-chief against encroachment by 535 armchair generals. I'm trying to imagine the reaction if, after the 9/11 attack, Democrats had proposed legislation requiring the president to get a state's consent to send its National Guard troops to Iraq.

But some people can't be bothered with consistency when the stakes are so high. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is apoplectic at the possibility some of the captives might be migrating to Ft. Leavenworth, in his state. This option, he lamented, would mean locals would have to "share their community … with terrorists."

Not only that, he said, but it would make their town a target for terrorists the world over. "Moving such a facility to hometown, USA will require security beyond reality," said Roberts.

From listening to Roberts, you might think he's going to be running into them at Home Depot. I don't have inside information, but I'm guessing the inmates would be bunking not at the Super 8 but at the maximum-security prison located at Ft. Leavenworth.

As for his worries about attracting terrorists, here is the interesting thing about Ft. Leavenworth: It's a U.S. Army base. With some effort, I can imagine a squad of al-Qaida operatives being able to enter the country, obtain weaponry and seize a vulnerable detention facility. But attack a military installation crawling with soldiers in hopes of springing their buddies? I suspect that would play out like the ending of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Terrorists coming soon to my neighborhood? Thanks for the warning. I'll pass it on to Ted Kaczynski when I see him at the gym.

Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is a columnist and editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune.

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