Crisis of the big house divided

Today comes word that certain terrorist detainees now held at Guantánamo Bay are to be transferred from the secure facility at Guantánamo to the Thomson Correctional Center built by state authorities in Thomson, Illinois. Thomson sits in northwestern Illinois on the Mississippi River along the border with Iowa.
President Obama has reportedly ordered the federal Bureau of Prisons to purchase the state maximum security prison and the Department of Defense to lease a portion of the prison from the bureau for the the detention of the strain of “militant extremists” formerly known as enemy combatants. Part of the prison will be reserved for the use of federal maximum security inmates, part for the detention of enemy combatants.
Illinois is of course best known as the Land of Lincoln. When he accepted the nomination of Illinois Republicans to run for the Senate seat held by Stephen Douglas in 1858, Lincoln famously observed in his magnificent “house divided” speech: “”If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”
If this venture is to come to pass, funding for it must be put to a vote in Congress. Obama’s relocation of our sworn enemies from the secure military detention facility at Gitmo to a prison in the heart of the United States should therefore help the American people get a better handle on what to do, and how to do it, come next November.


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