Alex Massie

Harry Reid: Pretend Stupid or Truly Stupid?

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The great thing about Washington is its variety. Sometimes it's the Republicans who infuriate you and sometimes it's the Democrats whose bone-headed nitwittery is singularly depressing. Today it's Harry Reid's turn to annoy:

"QUESTION: If the United States -- if the United States thinks that these people should be held, why shouldn’t they be held in the United States? Why shouldn’t the U.S. take those risks, the attendant risk of holding them, since it’s the one that says they should be held?

REID: I think there’s a general feeling, as I’ve already said, that the American people, and certainly the Senate, overwhelmingly doesn’t want terrorists to be released in the United States. And I think we’re going to stick with that.

QUESTION: What about in imprisoned in the United States?

REID: If you’re...

(CROSSTALK)

REID: If people are -- if terrorists are released in the United States, part of what we don’t want is them be put in prisons in the United States. We don’t want them around the United States."

To the extent that the Plain People of America* suspect that closing Guantanamo means letting its 240 inmates rampage across America as though they were remaking Natural Born Killers then perhaps that's because politicians in Washington have done a poor job in stressing that, actually, they'd still be imprisoned. 

Then again, with leaders of the calibre of Harry Reid  - altogether too small a man for the position he holds - who can be surprised that mendacity and stupidity prevail?

And, you know, if there's one thing the United States is very good at it's locking people up. Now perhaps this is all just a canny delaying tactic, buying Obama time to draw up a comprehensive plan for closing Guantanamo, but I doubt it. There's little in Harry Reid's past, as far as I can recall, to suggest he's capable of such subtlety. A degree of low cunning, yes, but not much more than that. And, as we see, a dollop of stupidity so impressive that you half assume it can't really be, well, real...

*Not to be confused with the Plains People of America who are fewer in number these days and have had a much tougher time of it.

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Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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