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Mark Kirk – For Transferring Gitmo Detainees To The US Before He Was Against It

The purest example of Republican moral relativism in the war on terror is this lightning-quick flip-flop from Mark Kirk, a Republican who represents a somewhat blue district in Illinois, but who is now running for US Senate and needs conservative support.

With the proposal floated that the Obama Administration might use an unused federal corrections facility in Thomson, Illinois for pre-trial detention and imprisonment, if convicted, of detainees from Guantanamo, Kirk has jumped on the issue, not only writing the President to block the transfer and even proposing a “homeland insecurity impact” study for the surrounding area before the transfer could be completed. This is particularly galling in light of the fact that, according to Adam Blickstein, Kirk supported moving detainees to US soil as recently as a month ago.

Unfortunately, the Mark Kirk of this week disagree strongly with the Mark Kirk of last month. In October, he actually supported the Obama administration’s position that certain detainees should be transferred to American soil for prosecution:

Last week, we got another slap at reality when Kirk apparently forgot he “supports” the Republican position on keeping Guantanamo Bay open. The U.S. House voted this week on H.R. 2892, transferring prisoners out of Gitmo. A large majority of House Republicans opposed it, but a faction of them did not. In the Illinois delegation, for example, Peter Roskam strongly opposed the legislation. However, Mark Kirk voted …to allow the Obama administration to move foreign terrorist suspects from the Guantanamo Bay prison to the United States mainland.

Kirk was perfectly happy to allow the US criminal justice system to function until the moment which he saw political advantage in rejecting it. It’s a microcosm of the Republican style of governing in the Obama era.

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David Dayen

David Dayen