A new poll released by CBS News finds that:
Fifty-five percent of Americans think the [Guanatanamo Bay] prison should be kept open, according to the poll, which was conducted from Jan. 6 – 10. Last November, by contrast, 50 percent of Americans thought the prison should remain open, and just 46 percent thought so in February 2009.
Just 32 percent of Americans think the facility ought to be closed and the prisoners there transferred somewhere else. That figure is down from 39 percent in November and 44 percent last February.
So 32 percent of Americans believe, as the president does, that it makes sense to close the off-shore terrorist detention facility with a perfect track record of zero escapes and zero American fatalities in favor of a plan that would ship terrorists to middle America or hotbeds of terror like Yemen. The events of the past year -- and the recidivism of former detainees -- have helped convince more than a quarter of the people who supported closing the facility back in February that maybe that's not such a good idea. Also contributing to the decline may be the return of rational thinking to an issue that, at the height the hoopla surrounding Obama's swearing in and subsequent grand gesture to the world of ordering Gitmo closed, had become thoroughly politicized by Democrats (politicizing national security, what an outrage!).
Of course it is irrational to believe that building a "Gitmo North," where the very same terrorists will be held indefinitely and without trial, would somehow mitigate the real or imagined recruiting potential of Gitmo among Muslim youths. If anything, the conditions at this Gitmo North would be harsher than at Gitmo proper, requiring detainees to be kept on super-max lock-down for 23 hours a day. The prison would also become a target for jihadists who have a habit of attempting prison breaks (and succeeding). There are other concerns -- that indefinite detention on U.S. soil will not stand up in court, that the courts will be able to order the release of dangerous terrorists confined only on the basis of inadmissible evidence, that those terrorists will be given $40 and a bus ticket to Chicago, etc. That even 32 percent of Americans (and the president) would close Gitmo despite all this is sort of disturbing, but then you can find 32 percent of Americans who believe in almost anything. Some 34 percent of Americans believe in ghosts and UFOs, for example.