Sunday, December 03, 2006

Republican Questions Bush on $ Millions for Gitmo Compound

"The issue of the tribunals is very controversial. For them to want to move this fast makes me wonder why."

- Congressman James Walsh, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Quality of Life, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies

From an article by Mark Weiner/Newhouse News Service

On November 17, after uncovering a Defense Department notice on the internet, the Miami Herald broke the story about the Pentagon's plans for a multi-million dollar "mini-city" military commissions compound to be built for Guantanamo Bay terror trials.

In a Syracuse Post Standard article by Newhouse News writer Mark Weiner today, it is reported that the Bush administration plans to approach Congress this coming week with an "emergency request" for over $100 million to build this military compound that will be "seen around the world as a permanent monument to an unfair system of justice", as the group Human Rights Watch has politically framed the compound in question.

Congressman James Walsh (NY-25), who chairs a House military appropriations subcommittee for only three more weeks before Democrats take majority control, is uncomfortable with this "emergency spending" request which would divert already-apropriated funds from other necessary military projects. Congressman Walsh is asking the White House what the hurry is all about.

With the legitimacy of the military commissions set up for the Gitmo terror trials not even settled, with Donald Rumsfeld and other officials [past and present] of the Bush administration are being charged [in Germany] with war crimes at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, and with key strategical errors having been made in our nation's war in Iraq for which history will surely judge on a harshly criftical basis, this is no time for acting quickly, before Republican power is diminshed by the Democrats, to seal the repuation of the already-distrusted Republican-led Congress with one last ugly rubber stamp. James Walsh finally gets it.

After technically losing the November election in his home county, Onondaga, and in Monroe County [Rochester], but winning the overall race by a razor-thin margin against challenger Dan Maffei with the help of gerrymandered rural voters in Upstate New York, James Walsh seems to understand that he needs to do something that until now has seemed foreign to him. He is steppping back and consciously challenging the policies of the Bush administration rather than rubber-stamping them, as he did 90% of the time before nearly losing his Congressional seat.

Mark Weiner's article can be read here.

Pentagon Proposal here [Miami Herald pdf]

UPDATE: And on Monday, December 4 the continuing story made the Washington Post.