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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Emotions Run High in GITMO Townhall

The first opportunity for citizens in and around Thomson, Illinois to speak out about the potential for some of the GITMO detainees to move near them came this evening.

Emotions ran high Tuesday at a hearing that gave the state's residents their first chance to weigh in on a plan to bring terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a rural western Illinois prison.

Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sell the nearby Thomson Correctional Center to the federal government to house detainees and for a maximum-security federal prison, and the public hearing probably will not change that.

Many in Thomson, about 20 miles from Sterling, and other northwest Illinois communities say they welcome the estimated 3,000 jobs that the White House says would be generated by the prison. But opponents say the move is too risky.

"Terrorists would want to hit us to make a point, here in the Midwest, in the American heartland," protester Amanda Norms said before the meeting. "Is a little economic gain worth the risk?"

You can expect that scenes like this to continue. Much like the summer was known for the scenes created at health care town halls, so to will there be plenty of these scenes. Right after the health care debacle, President Obama is putting himself into yet another debacle with this decision.

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