Glenn Reynolds has a large compendium of links on Gitmo. He links to a Russmussen poll showing that only 20% of the American people thnik prisoners at Gitmo are being mistreated.
The Democrats have a problem with looking weak on terrorism. So what do they do? Raise a stink about supposed instances of “torture” and put themselves squarely on the side of the very terrorists we’re trying to fight — slandering our troops along the way. That isn’t just politically tone deaf, it’s like the Democratic Party changing it’s slogan to “No Terrorist Left Behind.” It reinforces the view that the Democratic Party is profoundly unserious about this war, and that’s going to cost them politically.
The Democrats have already lost two consecutive elections largely because they were rightly perceived as being weak on national defense. This flap over Gitmo is only going to further cement that idea in the minds of the American electorate.
And that’s the issue — the Democrats didn’t have a security policy in 2002. They didn’t have one in 2004 — and now the closest thing they have to a security policy is hoping that maybe we can make ourselves look good enough that Islamic fanatics will stop sawing off heads and join us in an international chorus of Kumbaya. The Democratic policy on Iraq is one of constantly sniping at the Administration. Al-Qaeda is in Iraq now, and we have to defeat them. You don’t defeat an enemy by telling him exactly when you intend to leave, ensuring that all they need to do is wait us out. Yet we still have many Democrats calling for withdrawal in Iraq, which would hand al-Qaeda its greatest victory yet.
The Democrats don’t understand this war, they don’t understand the stakes, and their policies would hand al-Qaeda a major victory. The only rhetoric on the war coming from the vast majority of Democratic politicians is defeatism and odious comparisons to gulags and death camps.
It would be nice to have a principled opposition party. Sadly, the only principled and cogent critiques of the war are coming from other Republicans like John McCain. Until the Democrats get it through their heads that the enemy that knocked down the Twin Towers is a better target than the Bush Administration, the Democrats will continue to be rightly regarded as the party that is unacceptably weak on national security.