Pat Roberts Engages In Gitmo Fearmongering To Win Re-Election

Facing a tough re-election battle, Kansas Senator Pat Roberts is engaging in abject fearrmongering.

Guantanamo Bay Camp Entrance

In his effort to save his Senate seat from a surprisingly tough challenge from Independent Greg Orman, Senator Pat Roberts is raising the specter of terrorists currently confined at the prison at Guantanamo Bay coming to Kansas:

No detainees from Guantánamo are headed for the prisons of Leavenworth, Kan., anytime soon, if ever. But you wouldn’t know that from the campaign of Senator Pat Roberts, a Republican in a very tight race, who has made a terrorist-free state one of his most fervent campaign promises.

“Pat Roberts promises to keep terrorists out of Kansas,” says a newscaster in a clip included in one of his recent television ads. “Senator Roberts issuing a very blunt threat to the White House about inmates at Guantánamo Bay,” says another journalist. And finally the ad turns to Mr. Roberts himself, declaiming, in a voice loud enough to echo across the plains, “Not. On. My. Watch!”

Congress, of course, has repeatedly prohibited President Obama from transferring any prisoners from Guantánamo to the United States (a decision The Times editorial board has called “outrageous“). Mr. Roberts was one of the leaders of those efforts. But earlier this month, after several news media reported that Mr. Obama was considering ways to get around that ban, Mr. Roberts erupted again with a filibuster threat, in full view of the Kansas electorate.

“I stopped him once from trying to send the Gitmo terrorists to Leavenworth,” Mr. Roberts said at the state Republican headquarters. “I shall do it again, I shall do it again, and if he tries it, I will shut down the Senate.”

Here’s the video:

The New York Times’ David Firestone comments:

The fact is that the 149 remaining inmates of Guantánamo pose no danger to the residents of eastern Kansas. The Leavenworth area is already home to five prisons that over the years have held some of the nation’s most violent criminals, including domestic terrorists and murderers. The Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, a maximum-security prison that has often been mentioned as a possible alternative to Guantánamo, currently houses (without difficulty) Major Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who killed 13 people and injured dozens more in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting.

(…)

But just as Ebola is more frightening to people than far more infectious domestic diseases, foreign terror inmates rile up politicians more than violent domestic criminals. Real leaders work to calm their constituents when no threat exists. Officials like Mr. Roberts try to stir them up, hoping they’ll benefit from their outrage.

To be fair, and I’ve noted before, the Congressional opposition to closing Guantanamo and relocating some or all of the 149 prisoners held there, at least 48 of which have been deemed to much of a threat to ever be released no matter whether or not they are brought up for a trial or military tribunal, has always been a matter of bipartisan opposition. The main reason for that, for better or worse is that the American public doesn’t want these people in their area notwithstanding the fact that they would be held in facilities from which escape is essentially impossible. Because of this, there are few politicians on either side of the aisle who have been willing to speak out in favor of closing the prison at Gitmo and transferring prisoners to the United States, and that is unlikely to change as long as the United States continues to fight something akin to the “War on Terror.” Indeed, now that we’ve taken the fight to ISIS it’s not to hard to see a day when more prisoners are brought to the prison. Foreseeing a day when there are no more prisoners there on the other hand? That’s kind of difficult.

That being said, Firestone is right that this ad is nothing more than an abject, irrational ad that plays to fears that the public has that, in reality, have little basis in reality. A real leader would be one who makes the case to the public that we don’t need to keep all the prisoners at Gitmo, and that the danger of transferring the ones that we cannot afford to release to Super Max and other facilities in the Continental United States does not pose any significant risk to national security or public safely. Indeed, even President Obama, who campaigned on the idea of closing the prison and signed an Executive Order calling for that on his first day in office in 2009, appears to have given up on the idea and it seems unlikely that either Hillary Clinton or the eventual Republican nominee in 2016 will consider it a top priority. Much like the PATRIOT Act, it appears that Gitmo is another legacy of 9/11 that will be with us for the foreseeable future.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2014, Congress, National Security, Terrorism, US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. munchbox says:

    Islamic terrorism is going to be with us into the foreseeable future, Doug. Obama made sure of that.

  2. munchbox says:

    I mean my god you even make it seem like it’s our fault or something. Wake up for f’s sake OTB lap dogs.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @munchbox: 10,000 unemployed comedians and here you are giving it away for free.

  4. Rob Prather says:

    Fear mongering is all that Roberts has left at this point.

  5. Tony W says:

    Republicans have nothing to fear but fear itself.

  6. C. Clavin says:

    Seriously…what else do Republucans have? A economic theory that Kansas has proven to be an abject failure? Personhood for semen? Homophobia? The freedom to impose their religion on others?
    They have nothing but making you afraid and blaming Obama for it.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    A Republican is running on irrational fear. In other news, water is wet.

  8. stonetools says:

    I appreciate the note, Doug. But I’d like a deeper level of analysis. Republican fear mongering is not new; the question is, why does it work in Kansas, which has never been (and is not likely to be) a target for Islamic terrorism? Shouldn’t the economy be the sole focus of Kansan concern?

  9. Scott says:

    Seems to me that the President can play hardball and put Ft Leavenworth on a base closure list.

  10. Neither the President nor Congress have control over base closures

  11. C. Clavin says:

    @stonetools:
    They can’t talk about the economy in Kansas, because the Republican economic agenda has decimated it.
    Kansas enacted the pure Republican program: tax cuts for the rich, a tax increase for the middle class, harsh welfare requirements like drug tests and strict work provisions, and tighter eligibility for food stamps. They rejected Medicaid expansion, privatized its functions, slashed thousands of state jobs, and made large cuts to education funding.
    Even though they promised it would be a huge adrenaline shot for the economy….it failed miserably.
    Just as it did in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Jersey.
    If you want something to be afraid of…be afraid of Republican economic theory.

  12. munchbox says:

    I guess beheadings in Oklahoma just aren’t close enough to stoke fear in Kansas?

  13. Eric Florack says:

    @munchbox: Indeed so.
    Meanwhile, Doug getts accused by rabid leftists of cheerinng for ‘team r” once too often and so offers up this stuff.

    yawn.

  14. al-Ameda says:

    “Pat Roberts promises to keep terrorists out of Kansas,” says a newscaster in a clip included in one of his recent television ads. ……. And finally the ad turns to Mr. Roberts himself, declaiming, in a voice loud enough to echo across the plains, “Not. On. My. Watch!”

    LOL!
    Sorry, but if terrorists are on their way to Kansas from Cuba it means either, (1) they’re wrapping up a very successful take over of the Midwest, or (2) they’re lost, and looking for directions to Miami.

  15. John D'Geek says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Neither the President nor Congress have control over base closures

    Incorrect.

    The last BRAC (Base Reallignment and Closure) law specifically excluded the politicians, but it is Congress and the President that did that. In fact, this last round of closures was the first (and, to my knowledge, only) BRAC law that did so — every other one had political interference as part-and-parcel.

    FWIW the base I currently work on was on every BRAC list but the last one. On previous BRAC lists, the Senator for the area got it removed from the list. (This time it was left off the list based on its own merits).

  16. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Why don’t you explain to the class why the Republican economic agenda, enacted to it’s fullest, is failing miserably in Kansas?

  17. Neil Hudelson says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Simple. Because it is failing it is clearly not conservative. Remember: conservatism cannot fail. It can only be failed.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @al-Ameda: I expect he’s also doing a good job of keeping elephant herds out of Kansas.

  19. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @munchbox:

    I guess the other facts in that incident (that the perpetrator is a crackhead who had just been fired from his job) escaped you.

    Because turrurizm …

    Uh’mukr’ka

  20. Davebo says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    (e) REVIEW BY THE PRESIDENT.–(1) The President shall, by no later than July 15 of each year in which the Commission makes recommendations under subsection (d), transmit to the Commission and to the Congress a report containing the President’s approval or disapproval of the Commission’s recommendations.
    (2) If the President approves all the recommendations of the Commission, the President shall transmit a copy of such recommendations to the Congress, together with a certification of
    7
    such approval.
    (3) If the President disapproves the recommendations of the Commission, in whole or in
    part, the President shall transmit to the Commission and the Congress the reasons for that disapproval. The Commission shall then transmit to the President, by no later than August 15 of the year concerned, a revised list of recommendations for the closure and realignment of military installations.
    (4) If the President approves all of the revised recommendations of the Commission transmitted to the President under paragraph (3), the President shall transmit a copy of such revised recommendations to the Congress, together with a certification of such approval.

  21. John O says:

    A real leader would be one who makes the case to the public that we don’t need to keep all the prisoners at Gitmo, and that the danger of transferring the ones that we cannot afford to release to Super Max and other facilities in the Continental United States does not pose any significant risk to national security or public safely.

    Any such leader would be dismissed by the American public as untrustworthy. Released terrorists have rejoined the fight despite assurances that they wouldn’t. If they are on American soil what guarantee do we have that they won’t eventually have the same access to civilian courts that we do or that some judge won’t try to interfere with their incarceration or even order them released? Few Americans have any faith in their ‘leaders’ on this issue – as with so much else such trust has been forfeited. Our judgement is all that matters: We are risk averse on the matter and we feel that there is ZERO risk keeping them right where they are. Democrats advocating otherwise cost their side credibility and votes.

  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @John O:

    If they are on American soil what guarantee do we have that they won’t eventually have the same access to civilian courts that we do or that some judge won’t try to interfere with their incarceration or even order them released?

    I’m thinking that someone was in the bathroom when Boumediene v. Bush, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and Rasul v. Bush came down.

  23. wr says:

    @John O: So what you’re saying is that you are so terrified for your own safety that you think it’s unconscionable that an untried person locked in a supermax prison should ever have access to American courts in case it be discovered that he’s not actually guiltly of any crime and be released somewhere in the world.

    How do you manage to get out of bed in the morning?

  24. wr says:

    @John O: “We are risk averse on the matter and we feel that there is ZERO risk keeping them right where they are.”

    While we’re at it, why don’t we execute all the prisoners? And in fact, why don’t we drop nuclear bombs across the Middle East to make sure to kill everyone there who might want to harm us? Because you know we’re risk averse, and the only thing that matters is that we eliminate anyone who might ever be a threat to us, no matter how miniscule — because risk is scary!

  25. munchbox says:

    @havardlaw92 “Because turrurizm …Uh’mukr’ka”. Is that what we get from the ivy league nowadays? Please enlighten me what the second part is? Bengazhi! Progressive trade mark pending….zimmerman! White hispanic …progressive trade mark pending. I assume it’s along the same lines? anyway that didn’t escape me… You know what else didn’t escape? The hachette wielding muslim in NYC and the ones that just killed three Canadian soldiers….they all may be crack heads… But one thing is for sure …they were all Muslims.

  26. James Pearce says:

    @munchbox:

    I guess beheadings in Oklahoma just aren’t close enough to stoke fear in Kansas?

    What does the beheading in Oklahoma have to do with the Gitmo detainees? Category error.

    (If we want to know why politicians engage in this stuff….Munchbox and Florack show why. They lap it up like the Brundlefly eating sugar donuts.)

  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @munchbox:

    The vast, overwhelming number of murders committed in the US are perpetrated by Christians. Following your logic, when should Christians start reporting for detainment?

    Correlation /= causation.

    (Can someone please page me when this latest DERP invasion has subsided? 😀 )

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @John O:

    If they are on American soil what guarantee do we have that they won’t eventually have the same access to civilian courts that we do or that some judge won’t try to interfere with their incarceration or even order them released?

    No faith in the Justice System?
    Why do you hate America so?

  29. C. Clavin says:

    @munchbox:
    Tim McVeigh.
    Alex Curtis and Tom Metzger
    Pro-lifer Scott Roeder murdering obstetrician George Tiller. (With all respect to Dr. Tiller, the irony is too awesome not to love.)
    Ted_Kaczynski
    Eric_Rudolph
    The Los_Angeles_Jewish_Community_Center_shooting
    The United_States_Holocaust_Memorial_Museum_shooting
    The Austin_suicide_attack
    Looks like you’re in favor of sending all the white folks to Gitmo.

  30. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Crickets from Florack.

  31. munchbox says:

    Wow typical! Gitmo detainees are muslim terrorists. The ones from your so called list should already be locked up were they belong. That causation is Islamic terrorism = gitmo.

  32. C. Clavin says:

    @munchbox:
    Muslim terrorists are different from white terrorists?
    Well at least you aren’t a xenophobe.

  33. munchbox says:

    C clavin they are one in the same no? Zimmerman was white…the Boston bombers were white? What are the crickets in your empty head chirping now?

  34. munchbox says:

    Chirp chirp let’s turn this into a racist issue chirp!

  35. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @munchbox:

    Everybody on that list had the benefit of a trial, yet you believe that the folks in Gitmo don’t deserve one, and should just be locked up indefinitely because … turrurizm.

    Seriously? Were the forums over at Hot Air Freeperland just so unsatisfying that you felt the need to spread freeper bullshit elsewhere across the land?

    You’re out of your depth here, pal.

  36. C. Clavin says:

    @munchbox:
    Zimmerman is a terrorist?

  37. C. Clavin says:

    MUST. NOT. FEED. THE. TROLL.

  38. munchbox says:

    Military tribunals should be conducted by gasp the military. So what was that last part? “Uh’mukr’ka” your ivy league words confuse me….maybe you could explain it slower?

  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @munchbox:

    As I said before, you are out of your depth.

    Read Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and Boumediene v. Bush and get back to us.

    Or, alternatively, just admit that you have wandered into the deep end of the intellectual pool without your floaties on, and need to head for the exit before you drown.

    (the slower version? You’re pretty much stupid. We ridicule you because we don’t take you seriously. You’re being baited into intellectual boxes simply to see if you’ll take the bait. Ponder that and make your decision …)

  40. munchbox says:

    C.Calvin No he was white? You are so f’ ing stupidly dense. You can’t even follow your own arguments. Better get more crickets!

  41. tom metzger says:

    Your definition of White is far different than mine.lol

  42. munchbox says:

    That’s the whole point “Uh’mukr’ka and turrurizm” are progressive talking points when they can’t actually discuss the issues. Take it from the guy from harvard he has a degree that says he’s the sharpest tool in a box full of spoons.

  43. Eric Florack says:

    @C. Clavin: MUST NOT ALLOW DISSENT FROM LEFTIST DOGMA.

    There. Fixxed it.

  44. Eric Florack says:

    There. Fixxed it.@C. Clavin: Unibomber.

    Oops. forgot that one, huh?
    Let’s try a few more….

    Eric Holder.
    Ayers.
    Dorn.
    etc.

    These just slip right by you, huh?

  45. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “MUST. NOT. FEED. THE. TROLL.”

    Thank you.

  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @munchbox:

    The issues are:

    1) you are seemingly conflating ANY act of violence committed by a Muslim as terrorism, and by association as an indictment of all Muslims as being terrorists. You, meanwhile, seem loathe to apply that same characterization to Christians, despite the fact they they commit the vast, vast majority of all violent crime perpetrated in the US. That’s both xenophobic and intellectually weak.

    2) You are evidently ignorant of the case law concerning these issues, as you keep touting arguments that SCOTUS shot down up to a decade ago.

    So, please, by all means enlighten me as to why I should take you seriously? This is the fundamental burden of conservatism – despite me personally knowing many erudite conservatives whose precision of thinking and presentation of argument can blow the walls off of brick buildings, they get tarred by association because freepers like you are intent on picking up their banner and waving it for them.

    Believe me on this one – the degree of contempt with which I view you is nothing compared to their opinion of you. The best thing to do when you are out of your depth is to realize that, and retreat. I’m sure they are keeping your spot warm over in Pajama Land.

  47. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Ted Kaczynski was the Uni-bomber you stupid fwck.
    You still haven’t told the class why the Republican agenda has failed in Kansas.
    Not to mention Minnesota and Wisconsin and New Jersey.
    We’re waiting.

  48. Eric Florack says:

    @Doug Mataconis: You mean Obama is bound by what Congress does?
    since freak in’ WHEN?

    @C. Clavin: Mostly because of Washington.
    Oh, and explain Texas.

  49. wr says:

    @HarvardLaw92: ” You’re being baited into intellectual boxes simply to see if you’ll take the bait. ”

    I hate to say this, but you’re the one being baited here. This troll shows up, says outrageous and stupid things, and waits for people to get annoyed and engage. You can never win an argument with someone like this because for them the win is your response — any response.

    Just watch what happens if you don’t respond: He’ll start flailing harder and harder, he’ll become ever more deliberately offensive… and then finally he’ll go away and plague some other site for a while.

    If you doubt this, read any thread “Jenos” has ever been a part of.

    As that all-powerful computer says in WarGames, the only way to win is not to play.

    (And yes, I have spent plenty of my life doing exactly what I am counseling you not to do. I’ve stopped, and now can’t imagine why I ever bothered…)

  50. Eric Florack says:

    @C. Clavin:

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLYou feel NJ is run by conservatives? And I’m not even going to bother with the rest.

    Good Gosh, man you really DO need help.

  51. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    I treat toying with people like this clown as an intellectual exercise for my own amusement. Sort of like shadowboxing for the mind. I assure you that there has never been a point at which I took anything he’s said even remotely seriously.

  52. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I’m not even going to bother with the rest.

    So you got nothing….you could have just said that.

  53. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Texas is easy to explain…high property taxes and strict regulation of the mortgage industry prevented the real estate bubble…for instance the total amount of debt on a home cannot exceed 80 percent of its appraised value and proceeds from second mortgages or refinancing cannot be used to pay off other debts. You are for strict government regulation right?
    Then there is massive immigration. You are for massive immigration, right?
    State spending levels lead to terrible education and health care…and an extremely high rate of poverty and uninsured.
    Throw in terrible pollution and Jerry Jones…and they should feel free to secede at any time.

  54. al-Ameda says:

    @munchbox:

    Zimmerman was white

    What happened, did he undergo an orange spray tan treatment at Gitmo?

  55. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLYou feel NJ is run by conservatives? And I’m not even going to bother with the rest.

    Good Gosh, man you really DO need help.

    How many years has NJ been governed by a Republican?

  56. munchbox says:

    Al ameda. No he wasn’t and that’s the point…. turrurizm, bengazhi with an explanation point. It’s all progressive talking (deflection)points. He was white when it suited their need. Just like the Oklahoma beheader was just a crack head…see no Islam there. Just like in NYC with the hatchet guy…. Move along nothing to see there either. Oh and do please recognize I didn’t bring this up, the lap dogs turned this into a white Christian issue not me. That’s the typical liberal theme…. talking about islamist terror ….deflect to white Christians. But that guy is from harvard …..

  57. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:

    If we want to know why politicians engage in this stuff….Munchbox and Florack show why. They lap it up like the Brundlefly eating sugar donuts.

    Half right. Eric laps it up and internalizes every little bit into his real ™ conservative meme. Munch just grabs hold because he knows he can get a reaction. All he wants to do is annoy. More like a flea or some other annoying parasite that gives an uncomfortable itch that it’s hard not to scratch, than the brundlefly.

  58. al-Ameda says:

    @munchbox:

    Al ameda. No he wasn’t and that’s the point

    Okay, I’ve got to ask: Do you find the Roberts’ ad to be credible, that Muslim terrorists might (as in, more than an infinitesimal chance) come to Kansas?

  59. munchbox says:

    Well I guess in the sense that if gitmo shuts down they have to go somewhere? So he is saying not in my sta
    te… Fair enough.

  60. munchbox says:

    And to have a beheading an hour south is probably a little unnerving for the people of the bread basket. Or to liberals the fly over states….

  61. al-Ameda says:

    @munchbox:

    And to have a beheading an hour south is probably a little unnerving for the people of the bread basket. Or to liberals the fly over states….

    An hour South? Well, to have an entire Federal Building in Oklahoma City blown up by a non-Muslin extremist was a bit unnerving for ALL Americans, not just people in the Midwest.

    Honestly, I’ve never seen a group of people who consider themselves to be as victimized and disrespected as today’s conservatives. It’s all about resentment.

  62. C. Clavin says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Have you ever heard of Chris Christie? Big fat guy. No?

  63. Grewgills says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Christie isn’t a real ™ conservative in Bithead fantasy land, so NJ is run by a real ™ conservative.

  64. Tony W says:

    @C. Clavin: And no, Florack is not going to discuss Kansas, because he loses if he does. It’s not like this thread is about Kansas anyway…..

  65. muchbox says:

    al-Ameda On February 26, 1993, a truck bomb was detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. So what is your point mcveigh learned from the best? Or that ALL Americans weren’t unnerved about that? <– I guess that one falls under the category of see no islam here?

  66. munchbox says:

    @ havardlaw92 I noticed that you seem to like the words freeper and derp a lot…then I was thinking was that you that responded to the Hawaiian Muslim day link? with this scathing rebuttal?
    “that’s the most freeper crap…. it marks 9/11 because of DERP? “
    And then this gem …
    “Because turrurizm …Uh’mukr’ka “
    Then later goes and says this?
    “an intellectual exercise ..Sort of like shadowboxing
    for the mind.”
    In referring to yourself responding to MUNCHBOX the internet troll…???

    For a Harvard law grad you sure can form an argument…your Alma mater must be proud.

  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @munchbox:

    I have no interest in swinging at the dirt. Seek joy elsewhere.

  68. munchbox says:

    Right be proud of your six figure ignorance. Because you sure hit it out of the park today.

  69. al-Ameda says:

    @muchbox:

    So what is your point mcveigh learned from the best? Or that ALL Americans weren’t unnerved about that? <– I guess that one falls under the category of see no islam here?

    A conservative Republican like Tim McVeigh learned from Islamic terrorists? Okay, I’ll concede you that point. I’ll also concede you the point that Islamic terrorists might be interested in Kansas.

  70. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @munchbox:

    That would be 7 figure ignorance, thanks. Have a nice day …

  71. munchbox says:

    Wow! You really overpaid then. That makes you even more of an idiot then I first thought. I will thanks.

  72. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @munchbox:

    LOL, no, nimrod, my law firm pays ME 7 figures. Isn’t life grand?

  73. munchbox says:

    Well nimrod considering we were talking about your education…you do have trouble with following an argument..your employer is certainly overpaying you. But good for you living the dream. Ignorance is bliss isn’t it?
    Harvardlaw92 derp you don’t even know how to follow an argument…shows again. First with his thread with John O now with me…like I said before you are one sharp spoon. Don’t feed the troll you will be eaten. In fact you already were…I am happy to keep shadow boxing with you…you obviously could use the help.