Power Wars Blog by Charlie Savage

Marco Rubio lied twice in one sentence but it’s 2016 so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I just noticed that when President Obama nominated someone yesterday to be the first United States ambassador to Cuba in more 50 years, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who opposes Obama’s efforts to thaw relations with the Communist dictatorship, said this in making his argument that the Senate should not confirm that nominee:

Just like releasing all terrorists from Guantanamo and sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Iranian regime, rewarding the Castro government with a U.S. ambassador is another last-ditch legacy project for the President that needs to be stopped.

In the real world, Obama is not trying to release all terrorists from Guantanamo. What Obama wants to do is move the 41 remaining detainees who are not recommended for transfer to a different military-run prison on domestic soil, where the United States would continue imprisoning them indefinitely. (He does want to transfer the other 20 remaining detainees, although most are likely headed to custodial rehabilitation programs run by dictatorships in the gulf, if recent transfers are any guide.) There’s a legitimate good-faith debate to be had about whether it would be a good or a bad idea to open a replacement wartime prison on domestic soil, but either way it is simply false that Obama is trying to release them all. (Rubio also claimed during last Saturday’s weekly GOP radio address that “With just four months left in office, President Obama and his allies in Congress want to release every single terrorist from the military’s custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”)

Also in the real world, the money the United States controversially sent to Iran earlier this year was Iranian money from an aborted weapons deal with the Shah that the United States had frozen after the 1979 revolution. There’s a legitimate good-faith debate about whether finally returning those assets was a good idea or a bad idea — even a “ransom,” given its timing — but either way it wasn’t American taxpayers’ dollars.

The quality of public policy discourse in 2016 is really depressing.