Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 25, 2009
WAR: Alexandria, Virginia Can't Handle The Truth

Jim Moran's District, the new GitmoNorthern Virginia is pretty much the classic example of an upscale suburban area that has gone much bluer in the past 4 years, and exactly the sort of place where it has been fashionable to be horrified by the detention without trial of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay...without giving a second thought to what you would do with those detainees if you closed the place. As long as George W. Bush was president, it was safe and easy to complain about Gitmo without facing those realities.

That was then; Bush is gone now, and with his successor actually entertaining the daft notion of bringing detainees stateside for trials in our criminal justice system, an idea long championed by Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia's 8th District (which includes Arlington and Alexandria, "the heart of Northern Virginia") suddenly the residents of Alexandria are awakening to the problem:

"We would be absolutely opposed to relocating Guantanamo prisoners to Alexandria," Mayor William D. Euille (D) said. "We would do everything in our power to lobby the president, the governor, the Congress and everyone else to stop it. We've had this experience, and it was unpleasant. Let someone else have it."

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Alexandria Sheriff Dana A. Lawhorne, who operates the city jail, said federal security requirements for housing suspects could "overwhelm the system" if multiple detainees are brought there.

City officials and some legislators are concerned that terror trials would take years, shut down roads and cost millions and could invite attacks from terrorist sympathizers. Business owners in the dense area around the courthouse -- newly filled with hotels, restaurants and luxury apartments -- fear disruptions amid a declining economy.

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Moussaoui, who spent 23 hours a day inside his 80-square-foot cell, was constantly monitored and never saw other inmates. An entire unit of six cells and a common area was set aside just for him.

"It was a real hassle," said Alan Yamamoto, one of his lawyers. "Bringing even two or three or four people over there is going to be a major headache."

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The 450-inmate jail was locked down every time Moussaoui was moved to the back of the nearby courthouse in a heavily armed convoy. Traffic was stopped as snipers watched from rooftops.

Of course, the Alexandrians say for now that they just want this to be some other community's problem. But it's going to cause trouble no matter where you go, and everybody's got a Congressman and two Senators who will be getting an earful.

Elections have consequences. Perhaps the people of Northern Virginia are starting to realize that.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:11 PM | War 2007-12 | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Housing them at First Street, S.E. always seemed like a good idea to me. I guess now we could add 1600 Pennsylvania.

Posted by: Attila (Pillage Idiot) at March 25, 2009 3:06 PM

Marin County wouldn't be a bad spot.

Posted by: tsmonk at March 25, 2009 3:15 PM

Marin County wouldn't be a bad spot.

Posted by: tsmonk at March 25, 2009 3:15 PM

Since these men are just pawns of Bush's fascist policies I say we let them go free...in SanFran, LA, Portland and Seattle.

Posted by: Mike at March 25, 2009 4:44 PM

Crank, the article you link to contains the following two quotes:

"And to make the measure more palatable to Republicans, Moran said he would suggest the detainees be transferred to military bases that would allow them to be tried in federal courts under the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals."

"The Democratic official said the plan would be to relocate the terrorists to military brigs that have suitable courtrooms. In addition to Quantico and Charleston, many could go to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., or to the Norfolk Naval Station, which has four courtrooms."

While communities will likely not want detainees in nearby military brigs, it's not exactly like Moran is advocating for these detainees to be placed in city jails.

Posted by: CSE at March 25, 2009 5:46 PM

Those, of course, were Moran's efforts at concessions when Bush was still around - and what is being pushed now is quite different, involving trials in civilian courts.

Posted by: Crank at March 25, 2009 6:37 PM

I work across the street from the Alexandria Federal Courthouse in a large federal office complex. During the Moussaoui trial, alot of streets were blocked off, and the area was patrolled by military dressed guards carrying M16's. Today, the area is much more built up, with more housing, retail and commercial buildings all around. It would be a nightmare were this to happen again here on a regular basis.

Keep these guys where they are.

Posted by: DS at March 26, 2009 9:28 AM

Ahhh, northern Virginia: Maryland politics with all the charm of an industrialized ghetto. I'll stay on this side of the Potomac, thank you - the politics are the same, but at least it's pretty.

Posted by: paul zummo at March 26, 2009 10:00 AM

Ft Belvoir and Quantico Marine Corps Base are close to Alexandria and have brigs. Guess what else they have, especially since BRAC started rolling a few years ago-- increasingly large numbers of civilians working and living in expanded and upgraded offices and quarters. In fact, the military housing at both Belvoir and Quantico looks just like the other suburban communities in the DC exurb area. Their most distinguishing characteristic is probably the amount of elementary school age and younger children running around. Unlike the DINKs and life partners who populate much of nearer-in 'burbs like Alexandria, military members tend to propogate. In order to make sure the lawyers, diplomats, yoga instructors aren't unduly hassled, lets put suspected terrorists a half mile away from the jungle gyms where Corporal Two Combat Tour's children play. God Bless America.

Posted by: seamus at March 26, 2009 10:09 AM

Ft Belvoir and Quantico Marine Corps Base are close to Alexandria and have brigs. Guess what else they have, especially since BRAC started rolling a few years ago-- increasingly large numbers of civilians working and living in expanded and upgraded offices and quarters. In fact, the military housing at both Belvoir and Quantico looks just like the other suburban communities in the DC exurb area. Their most distinguishing characteristic is probably the amount of elementary school age and younger children running around. Unlike the DINKs and life partners who populate much of nearer-in 'burbs like Alexandria, military members tend to propogate. In order to make sure the lawyers, diplomats, yoga instructors aren't unduly hassled, lets put suspected terrorists a half mile away from the jungle gyms where Corporal Two Combat Tour's children play. God Bless America.

Posted by: seamus at March 26, 2009 10:09 AM

I do feel strongly about this, but the repeats were pure accident. Apologies.

Posted by: seamus at March 26, 2009 10:14 AM

So let me understand the Obama concept here. We have a perfectly good facility not on the US mainland that presently houses these guys. We want to move them onto the mainland, spend $s to upgrade facilities, and possibly endanger citizens why?

If the reason is to try them in civilian courts (which is a stupid idea for more reason than I can list), just setup a civilain court where they are!

Like most Obama ideas, short on intellgence but long on windage! Or is this just the telepromter told him to say? I am never sure if the insane things he says are his own ideas or words he is reading.

Only 46 more months to go! Gird your loins!

Posted by: Lee at March 26, 2009 1:47 PM
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