The Washington Times - July 27, 2009, 11:30AM


My hometown is hurting. It has been for some time, for far too many reasons to mention here. Not the least of which is the state’s record-breaking 15 percent unemployment rate. (In contrast: when Republican John Engler was governor, just prior to Democrat Jennifer Granholm’s reign, it had an unprecedented 4 percent unemployment rate; which was far below the national numbers at the time.)


But because Michigan (more specifically Detroit) doesn’t have enough problems (bankrupt automakers, a corrupt ousted mayor and city council member, laughing stock of a housing market, we won’t even mention the sports teams) someone thought it was a good idea to send a few Guantanamo Bay terror suspects their way for good measure. That someone? Michigan’s own Democratic Sen. Carl Levin and Reps. Bart Stupak and Dale Kildee, according to United Press International (UPI).

It’s another hair-brained attempt at finding “creative” ways to pump more money into hemorrhaging state coffers and “create” needed jobs.” So, these lawmakers apparently think the money (roughly $12 million per detainee) is worth the tradeoff - compromised public safety, more spending on infrastructure and the potential for lost future investments. Local lawmakers have boasted that the deal “beats the price of gas.” Cheap gas for a terrorist, now that’s a tradeoff.

The caveat to what the Democratic congressmen and senator are offering is that Michigan residents must approve of the scheme. If these guys have been listening to citizens in other locales where this “idea” has been floated, they’d already know the answer is a resounding “no.” Why do they keep insisting that they know better than their own constituents? I’m thinking that someone is forgetting who they work for.

Back in January, President George W. Bush, while saying he too wanted to close down Gitmo, warned a newly minted President Obama about the dangers of why that was easier said than done. Bush told me in a one-on-one interview:

“There are quite a few [detainees] that are very dangerous people and to put them in a position where they can eventually get out on the street and come back and harm our citizens would be very dangerous policy.”

Obama has had to find out the hard way that Bush was right, the process not so simple. No matter, the president is determined to do away with one (already well-equipped) prison just to house the 200+ men in another - on U.S. soil - regardless of whether we want them parading back and forth through our courts and contemplating their next acts in quarters not up to par.

There is no official word on just which Michigan prison the terror suspects would be placed, though the word on the street is that its in the Upper Peninsula. At the very least it is a PR nightmare for the beleaguered state and its (arguably) largest city. While the alleged bomb makers, hijackers, plotters and murderers “may” not be housed right in the city of Detroit, it’s irrelevant. For a city struggling to turn its image around, like it or not, it’s guilt by association. One can’t think of Michigan without thinking of Detroit and imagining this potential pitch to investors:

“Detroit: We’ve got Motown, Hockeytown, and Terrortown.”

-Tara Wall is a news anchor and political analyst at The Washington Times and editor of