Friday, November 20, 2009

Grayson Goes On Offense

Secretary of State Trey Grayson is finally drawing a substantive distinction between his positions and those of Dr. Rand Paul.

Earlier this week, Grayson sensibly condemned the Obama administration's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and his co-conspirators in a New York City civilian court, rather then in the military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.

Paul quickly issued a release stating that he, too, thought the 9/11 mastermind and company should be tried at Gitmo, and criticizing the Obama administration. According to Paul,

Foreign terrorists do not deserve the protections of our Constitution. These thugs should stand before military tribunals and kept off American soil. I will always fight to keep Kentucky safe and that starts with cracking down on our enemies.

Well said on Paul's part, though it was a bit of a surprise, given that some in the libertarian end of the party are not exactly aggressive about the War on Terror. Paul's statement tended to reassure that he would approach issues like the terrorist detainees with clear-eyed common sense.

But then the Grayson campaign trotted out three statements that Paul made last May -- statements that appear to contradict his condemnation of the Obama administration's decision to hold the KSM show trial in civilian court.

One such statement appeared on Paul's campaign site; it has since been removed, but is available by Google cache snap shot. That post said that Paul "couldn't agree more" with those who believe that Gitmo "significantly damaged the reputation of the United States" and should be "shut down." The Paul campaign now says that a volunteer posted the language without the campaign's permission.

Assuming, for sake of fairness, that the web site post cannot be attributed to Paul, we turn to two other statements that Paul spoke himself. In both, he asserts that the U.S. should just dump the terrorists back from whence they came.

On the Alex Jones radio show (May 21, 2009), according the the Grayson campaign, Paul said,

it's kind of unclear whether these people are guilty, not guilty. . . . So I really think deportation, sending them back to their country of origin might be the best way to go. And none of it's fair, because some of them have been held years and years.

Of course, that begs the question of what process is appropriate to determine whether "these people are guilty, not guilty." Deportation -- without an adjudication -- seems to give the suspected terrorists a pass; it's certainly not a conviction.

In Paducah (May 8, 2009), Paul said of terrorist detainees, "I think they should mostly be sent back to their country of origin or to tell you the truth I'd drop them back off into battle . . . you're unclear, drop them off back in Afghanistan. It'd take them awhile to get back over here."

The problem with Paul's approach is that it does not account for the recidivism rate among terrorists. What happens after we ship terrorists back to Afghanistan, as Paul suggests? Are these thugs more likely to wave American flags at our troops or set IEDs to kill them? If the latter, then we have just sent reinforcements to kill more Americans -- sort of a reverse surge.

Republican primary voters need to pay close attention to what Grayson and Paul say about Gitmo and the War on Terror. Grayson and Paul are virtually indistinguishable on fiscal issues: both support limited government and low taxes. Republicans must therefore identify those issues on which they differ -- such as what to do about foreign terrorists.


GoldwaterGOP said...

Unfortunately you gave the Grayson campaign the benefit of the doubt and didn't watch whole exchange. As you will see Grayson & Co deserve no such allowance and abused it severely.

The ellipses is where Grayson leaves out the fundamental part of the statement:

I think they should mostly be sent back to their country of origin or to tell you the truth I'd drop them back off into battle. [If you're not going to convict them and you can't convict them,] or you're unclear, drop 'em off back into Afghanistan. It'd take them a while to get back over here."

The brackets are where Grayson's campaign left the ellipsis. Pretty fundamental stuff don't you think?

Unfortunately even if someone like you --who seems to make an honest attempt to look at the issue-- got taken in then this dishonest and despicable tactic may prove successful with many others.

As for Grayson being the same on the issues as Rand Paul. Sure but as we've seen with others like Arlen Specter what matters is credibility. Rand has 18 years of being an anti-tax activist and conservative Republican. Grayson is an ex-Democrat that supported Bill Clinton, whose family is Democratic, and whose career is wedded to the political establishment. Also Rand Paul's funding comes strictly from thousands of small government donors and is independent from the Republican machine. The vast bulk of Grayson's funding comes from the typical banker/lobbyist/lawyer crowd. When something like a bank bailout comes up for vote who has more credibility? Same goes for the other economic issues.

Most importantly... what general credibility does Grayson have now? He left out out the most important part of his opponent's statement that literally changes the entire meaning of the exchange in order to smear his opponent. Why the heck should anyone believe anything he says from now on?

Bridget M. Bush said...

Thanks for the comment. I actually did watch the entire YouTube segment, including the portion that the Grayson campaign condensed with elipses. I really did not think the deletion was unfair, because the bottom line is that Dr. Paul says that he supports sending the detainees back to Afghanistan. Truly, if I thought the Grayson campaign had misconstrued the statement, I would have pointed that out.

GoldwaterGOP said...

That's the problem. I believe Rand Paul and Trey Grayson hold the same position. Here's why:

What happens after you try them in a military tribunal and some are found "not guilty"? Both Paul and Grayson have agreed to try them at GITMO. As I understand it Paul was simply speaking on what will happen with those who are found "not guilty" by the tribunal. Both implicitly acknowledge that they will have to be released. Paul simply clarified on what to do with them afterward. Grayson didn't address the question at all. Why else would Paul say "if you're not going to convict them and you can't convict them"?

For a recap here's Grayson's statement:

"We should never release our enemies back onto the battlefield to kill more Americans. We should try them in military tribunals outside the United States, and Guantanamo is the perfect place for that. We've spent $200 million building a facility to safely house these terrorists outside our borders and try them using military commissions that will protect their rights while keeping Americans safe."

Again what will a happen to those the military "can't convict" as Rand Paul put it? Paul provided an answer Grayson did not.

Bridget M. Bush said...

I think that you are correct that Grayson has not addressed what happens to detainees who are found innocent; hopefully that is an eventuality that will not come to pass if Holder doesn't screw up the prosecution any further. If it does, perhaps deportation is the only alternative.

I read Dr. Paul's quote in the elipse as distinguishing between three situations which he argues merit deportation to Afghanistan: (1) "not going to convict"(2)"can't convict" and (3) "unclear."

I take (1) as the administration determines not to prosecute for whatever reason. I do not understand what (3) means.

GoldwaterGOP said...

Well, I think it's unclear at the very least. If you take Dr. Paul at his word then the statements can be construed as dealing with detainees that are tried and can't be convicted. Like a former Bush administration official I happen to believe that there are indeed cases of innocence. KSM certainly not being one of them.

If there is doubt about his true position the statements become more unclear. Why mention trials in the first place?

Although I'm biased in favor of Dr. Paul I think the best approach is to 1)allow the candidate to state their position, 2)determine whether you agree with it and then 3) see how credible they are on the issue itself.

1 and 2 are settled by his latest statement calling for military tribunals at GITMO. As for 3 it's a matter of believing whether the May post was truly in error or not and the rest of the first quote. I'm fairly certain I remember the initial website being set up by grassroots supporters. As for the first quote the Grayson campaign didn't link to the original. And because of their behavior on the other quote I am suspect.