PI Original Josh Kalven Sunday May 24th, 2009, 1:17pm

Durbin: Illinois' Supermax Prison Can Handle Gitmo Detainees

Appearing with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on NBC's Meet the Pressthis morning, Sen. Dick Durbin said he would be fine with housing some of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay in Illinois' super max prison.  "We've never had an escape from one," ...

Appearing with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on NBC's Meet the Pressthis morning, Sen. Dick Durbin said he would be fine with housing some of the detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay in Illinois' super max prison.  "We've never had an escape from one," Durbin pointed out.  Watch it:

Expect the right-wing blogs to turn apopleptic over this one.  But as Durbin said on the Senate floor last Monday, those who think our prisons can't handle these detainees "ought to have a little more respect for the men and women who are corrections officers."  Think Progress captured the video:

The debate over what will happen if we simply transport these detainees to U.S. prisons is, in Glenn Greenwald's words, "embarassingly stupid."  Those fearmongering about the prospect deserve every ounce of ridicule that can be heaped on them.  As the Daily Show's Jon Stewart remarked back in February, "You know, they're not just going to be walking around.  They're not going to be working at your local Dairy Queen."

More from Greenwald on this "irrational fear":

[W]e never tire of the specter of the Big, Bad, Villainous, Omnipotent Muslim Terrorist.  They're back, and now they're going to wreak havoc on the Homeland -- devastate our communities -- even as they're imprisoned in super-max prison facilities.  How utterly irrational is that fear?  For one thing, it's empirically disproven.  Anyone with the most minimal amount of rationality would look at the fact that we have already convicted numerous alleged high-level Al Qaeda Terrorists in our civilian court system (something we're now being told can't be done) -- including the cast of villains known as the Blind Shiekh a.k.a. Mastermind of the First World Trade Center Attack, the Shoe Bomber, the Dirty Bomber, the American Taliban, the 20th Hijacker, and many more -- and are imprisoning them right now in American prisons located in various communities.  

We've been doing that for two decades.  What are all the bad and scary things that have happened as a result?  The answer is:  "nothing."  Take note, Chris Cillizza and friends:  while it's true that "not a single prisoner has escaped from Gitmo since it was created," it's also true that no Muslim Terrorists have escaped from American prisons and our SuperMax prison "has had no escapes or serious attempts to escape."  Actually, the only person to even make an escape attempt from a SuperMax is Green Arrow, who hasn't succeeded despite the help of Joker and Lex Luthor.

Durbin has been great on this issue and deserves credit.  He was one of only six senators to vote to fund the closure of the Guantanamo detention facility.  What's amazing is that it's an "issue" at all.

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