The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Archive for June 22nd, 2011

Datebook: June 22 – George V crowned 100 years ago

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George V was crowned on June 22, 1911. He was the King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from May 6, 1910 through WWI and until his death in 1936. George was a grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the first cousin of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. From 1877 until 1891 he served in the Royal Navy. On the death of Victoria in 1901, George’s father became King Edward VII, and George was made Prince of Wales. On his father’s death in 1910, he succeeded as King-Emperor of the British Empire. He was plagued by illness throughout much of his later reign and at his death was succeeded by his eldest son, Edward VIII.

It’s Wednesday, June 22

Today is the last day to reserve a spot at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art’s children’s picnic.  The picnic is this Friday from 11 to 1.  Highlights include a hot dog and marshmallow roast, folk dancing, and a performance by the bluegrass band Heaven’s Path.  Call the museum at (270) 685-3181 to sign up.

There’s an opportunity to double your donation to Paducah charities thanks to the Community Foundation of West Kentucky.  Donations will be matched by the foundation as part of the Fred Paxton Fund Run for Charities, which takes place on July 16th.  Find a list of participating charities and a donor form at cfwestky.org.

Market House Theatre partners with Project Hope No-Kill Animal Shelter during this weekend’s performance of “Disney’s 101 Dalmatians Kids.”  Following Saturday’s 2:30 performance, cast members will collect donations of dry dog and cat food, kitty litter, litter box deodorizer, bleach, and laundry detergent.  To reserve tickets, call 270-444-6828.

Find more news and regional events at wkms.org.

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McConnell: “Guantanamo is the place to try terrorists”

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Senator Mitch McConnell wrote an op-ed today for the Washington Post, in which he suggests Guantanamo as a location for trials for suspected terrorists. In this piece, he references the alleged Bowling Green terrorists Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi. Should they be tried in Kentucky or Guantanamo?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/guantanamo-is-the-place-to-try-terrorists/2011/06/21/AGXg31eH_story.html

Guantanamo is the place to try terrorists

By Mitch McConnell  Washington Post op-ed  June 22, 2011

Speaking to a crowd of lawyers in Washington last week, Attorney General Eric Holder made an audacious claim about the war on terrorism. Overlooking the all-volunteer military force that has heroically battled terrorists and insurgents for nearly a decade, our outstanding intelligence and counterterrorism experts, and many others, Holder asserted that America’s “most effective terror-fighting weapon” is its civilian court system.

These comments insult those who have served on the front lines, but Holder’s clear intent was to justify the Obama administration’s two-year misadventure in treating captured terrorists like common criminals. This is evident most recently in Bowling Green, Ky., where two Iraqi nationals who have admitted to targeting American troops in Iraq were arrested last month.

Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi made their way to the United States from Iraq in 2009 through what appears to be a bureaucratic mistake. Expert intelligence and police work led to the discovery of their violent past and their plans to support their terrorist comrades from the safety of their new home. When they were arrested, they were plotting to equip foreign fighters in Iraq with missile launchers, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, sniper rifles, machine guns and cases of C4 explosives.

The Justice Department says Alwan and Hammadi should be tried in a civilian setting because they were caught here. This is ludicrous. The fact that bureaucrats mistakenly allowed two foreign fighters into the United States does not entitle them to all the rights and privileges of U.S. citizens. If it did, we’d have to grant the same rights and privileges to any foreign fighters who had escaped from the battlefield and illegally entered the United States. Once we knew who they were, our top priority should have been to capture, detain and interrogate them to ensure they could no longer harm Americans.

Outgoing CIA Director Leon Panetta recently estimated that there are 1,000 members of al-Qaeda in Iraq operating in that country. Kentuckians, including the state’s Democratic governor, want to know why two of them are sitting in a Kentucky jail cell instead of the military facility we built for such men at Guantanamo. I called on the Obama administration last week to transfer them. I have not yet received an answer, nor have I heard a good argument as to why Guantanamo is not a superior alternative.

Aside from the propriety of housing and, if necessary, trying enemy combatants such as Alwan and Hammadi in a military setting, the costs and burdens of trying them in a civilian setting are significant. My constituents do not think that civilian judges and jurors in their community should be subjected to the risk of reprisal for participating in a terrorist trial. Nor should the broader community have to shoulder the security costs or inconvenience of such trials.

Consider the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui in Alexandria, before the military commissions legislation was passed. Alexandria’s Democratic mayor summed up residents’ reaction: “We’ve had this experience and it was unpleasant,” he said. “Let someone else have it.” Last year, New Yorkers rejected Holder’s plan to try Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed in a civilian court in Manhattan, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) calling the proposal to hold terror trials in New York a “wrongheaded idea.” In April, Holder reversed course and said the trial would be held at Guantanamo.

Like Bowling Green residents, New Yorkers knew that while it may be possible to try terrorists in civilian courtrooms, our overriding goal in such cases should be to prevail in the war against terrorism, not to make a point about the flexibility of our justice system.

Early on, the administration signaled its intent to use conventional law enforcement and courts to deal with unconventional enemies. The problem with this is that the civilian system was never intended to deal with foreign fighters or to gather intelligence in the pursuit of additional terrorists. The confusion surrounding the interrogation of the would-be Christmas Day bomber underscores this. Moreover, the criminal justice system is oriented toward prosecution, while our top priority in battling terrorism should be to find, capture and detain or kill those who would do us harm.

The administration has shown admirable flexibility in making decisions concerning national security and has shown that it is willing, on occasion, to put safety over ideology. President Obama launched a counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, ignored calls to hastily withdraw from Iraq and recently agreed to extend the Patriot Act without weakening its provisions or making them harder to use. He should make the right decision about the treatment of captured enemy combatants.

Guantanamo is uniquely suited to the unconventional threat posed by foreign terrorists. By sending Alwan and Hammadi to Guantanamo, the president could again show his flexibility, make us safer and let Holder know that our civilian courts are off-limits to foreign fighters captured in the war on terrorism.

The writer is the Senate Republican leader.

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Written by Matt Markgraf

June 22, 2011 at 11:08 am

the morning cram [junk food attack edition]

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Is it wrong that junk food ads target teens?

NPR reports the government wants junk food ads to quit targeting kids not only on t.v., but also online, in schools, and in stores.

Kentucky~ Paducahans may be greener in the future. The flood wall murals need work. Karen Comer’s family members pull a tricky move to keep Burke in prison. A KSP Trooper is awarded a medal for sacrificing his life nearly 40 years ago.

Tennessee~ Piper has resigned from his CDE Lightband position.