The logic of how we’ve handled terrorism and terrorists in the post 9/11 world has always been flawed, but one of the more obviously incorrect arguments has been the claim that we don’t want these people serving time on American soil.
Why? Not sure really. We just don’t. They’re incredibly, crazy dangerous for some reason and can’t be here.
Of course this ignores the fact that we’ve held numerous terrorists here before, both foreign and homegrown, and nothing has happened as a result.
Which is why the following story is important to note.
Thirty-three international terrorists, many with ties to al-Qaeda, reside in a single federal prison in Florence, Colo., with little public notice.
Detained in the supermax facility in Colorado are Ramzi Yousef, who headed the group that carried out the first bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993; Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted of conspiring in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; Ahmed Ressam, of the Dec. 31, 1999, Los Angeles airport millennium attack plots; Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, conspirator in several plots, including one to assassinate President George W. Bush; and Wadih el-Hage, convicted of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.
Inmates in Florence and those at the maximum-security disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., rarely see other prisoners. At Leavenworth, the toughest prisoners are allowed outside their cells only one hour a day when they are moved with their legs shackled and accompanied by three guards.
“We have a vast amount of experience in how to judge the continued incarceration of highly dangerous prisoners, since we do this with thousands of prisoners every month, all over the United States, including some really quite dangerous people,” Philip D. Zelikow, who was counselor to Bush administration Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and executive director of the 9/11 Commission, told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
That’s right. One of the people behind 9/11 is in Colorado.
Also, let’s just say that we captured Bin Laden. You’re telling me we wouldn’t want to put him to death on US soil?
Just make sure you remember all of this when you’re arguing that these folks shouldn’t be held in the US. Because I want to hear good reasons, not just the notion that they’re somehow extra, super, insanely dangerous.