- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SUE THE BUNCH

“Slander!” Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, repeated not once, not twice, but four times during an interview with Inside the Beltway upon his return this week from leading a congressional fact-finding mission to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Mr. King said that if he had his wishes, every member of the U.S. military assigned to the U.S. detention facility would file lawsuits charging slander against every politician, reporter, foreign country, political activist, human rights group and enemy who has charged that the suspected terrorists being held at the prison were being “mistreated.”

The congressman said the tour of Guantanamo on Monday by four Republicans and two Democrats - on the same day Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. arrived to assess the military center that President Obama has pledged to shut down within a year - clearly revealed that the mostly Middle Eastern detainees “are being treated far better than they should be” - certainly better than inmates “in American jails,” he said.

He said the facility has “very humane” treatment and privileges for “very bad” detainees. For that reason, among others, he said, “I don’t believe Guantanamo should be closed.”

STILL THEY COME

Illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border into the United States are “everywhere you look; they’re just everywhere.”

“I cannot believe how many are coming through right now,” says Arizona rancher Roger Barnett, who just last week, after a nine-day federal jury trial, was found not to have violated the civil rights of 16 Mexican nationals he held at gunpoint at his ranch until authorities arrived.

“I followed protocol just like Border Patrol does it,” Mr. Barnett tells this columnist in an interview (hear it in its entirety on Inside the Beltway Radio at www.washingtontimes.com). Nevertheless, the border crossers, who had sought $32 million in damages, were awarded $78,000 for “emotional distress,” among other claims.

Mr. Barnett says he will appeal the decision and also seek attorney fees.

Otherwise, the rancher says, a few of the illegal immigrants have become so brazen they’ve erected ramps atop the U.S. government’s border wall and are “driving over it.”

“The fence built south of my ranch is only a vehicle barrier,” Mr. Barnett notes, pointing out that individuals easily scoot under or scale the wall. “Lately, they are putting up ramps and driving over it,” he said.

“Our government hasn’t solved the problem yet,” the rancher concludes. “Six [illegal immigrants] just yesterday were walking up to the house.”

OR SO WE WISH

Observer of everything Pat Buchanan has come up with a dandy quote attributed to geostrategist James Burnham, which we suggest can be affixed to any number of the quandaries our country faces today: “Where there is no solution, there is no problem.”

U.S. IN TROUBLE?

The March “Harper’s Index” is so chock full of intrigue we can’t decide which of the 40 facts to call to our readers’ attention, so rather than just one, here are three of the new eye-openers:

• Percentage of residents of former Communist-bloc nations who say they live better now than in 1989: 30

• Date by which the head of Russia’s foreign-service academy says the United States will have totally disintegrated: July 4, 2010

• Number of times that Caroline Kennedy said “you know” during a 45-minute interview with the New York Times: 138.

• John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or e-mail John McCaslin

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