Hinchey, of course, has a keen interest in all things terror related, since he remains convinced that George W. Bush intentionally allowed Osama bin Laden to escape from our grasp in Afghanistan as a tool to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Republican George Phillips (who is running against Hinchey in NY-22 this year) expressed a slightly different view:
The question becomes far more personal for us here in the 22nd district now that Newburgh has been offered as an alternate venue. I believe Assemblyman Marc Molinaro was correct in his response. Maurice Hinchey has suggested that he is considering the proposal and that it might be appropriate and effective. I’m not sure what more information Mr. Hinchey needs. Shipping these terrorists into our area for a full civilian trial with all the trimmings is clearly not worth whatever imagined benefit he may see coming from it. After the catastrophe which we very nearly experienced on Christmas Day, one would think that Maurice Hinchey would realize that we’re still at war.
Another GOP hopeful in the neighboring 19th Congressional District, Nan Hayworth, took a similar tone, saying:
There should be no civilian trial in Manhattan, no civilian trial in the Lower Hudson, no civilian trial period for enemy combatants who staged an act of war against the United Stated.
I can only imagine that this is exactly the argument which President Obama and the Justice Department did not want to be having all over again. The focus seems to be rapidly shifting away from where to hold the trials, and back to whether or not these suspects belong in a United States courthouse at all.
Given the early reactions and the inherent logistical difficulties, the prospect of a trial in Newburgh, New York, may wind up being nothing more than an appetizer for the media, but it paves the way for yet another debate over exactly what to do with the remaining residents of Gitmo.
Unlike the initial suggestion of a trial in the Big Apple, upstate politicians seem to be falling in along much more predictable party lines. Sections of the Hudson Valley are populated with folks who are noticeably more conservative than their big city cousins, with a significant active duty and retired military presence. It may remain up for debate as to whether or not this is good policy, but the politics of it are shaping up to be seriously ugly.