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2009-05-21 6:16 PM
Obama's Speech about Guantanamo
First, let me say... I love this guy. :) I wish all Presidents were as smart and made as much sense as Obama. Regardless of political party, smart and practical should always be the choice.
I believe that today's speech was prompted by the political uproar about the Executive Order to close GITMO. Most people were in favor of closing GITMO because of the abuses performed within, but as soon as he went to do it everyone freaked the hell out because they didn't want the detainees to be imprisoned in their state. For some stupid reason, they believe that terrorists will escape and run free in the streets... and don't be confused that I'm accusing Republicans of blocking this action. I'm not. Democrats have been saying the same stupid things.
Full Transcript of Obama's Speech on National Security
Some favorite snips from his speech:
... the problem of what to do with Guantanamo detainees was not caused by my decision to close the facility; the problem exists because of the decision to open Guantanamo in the first place.
YES. Closing the facility is a necessary step in solving the problem. The problems started during the Bush Administration are often dirty and unpleasant, but they need to be handled. We elected Obama to fix these problems, so let him fix them!
Now let me be blunt. There are no neat or easy answers here. I wish there were. But I can tell you that the wrong answer is to pretend like this problem will go away if we maintain an unsustainable status quo. As President, I refuse to allow this problem to fester. I refuse to pass it on to somebody else. It is my responsibility to solve the problem. Our security interests will not permit us to delay. Our courts won't allow it. And neither should our conscience.
YES. GITMO doesn't make us safe. Only 7% of the detainees in GITMO were actually captured on the battlefield. Most of them were random innocents who were rounded up and sold to us by warlords for profit. (referenced in Taxi to the Dark Side). Torturing prisoners (some of them to death) doesn't make us safe. It makes people hate us even more. It proves that the horrible things our enemies claim are true. If we abandon our principles then we are no better than those we're supposed to be fighting.
Nobody has ever escaped from one of our federal, supermax prisons, which hold hundreds of convicted terrorists. As Republican Lindsey Graham said, the idea that we cannot find a place to securely house 250-plus detainees within the United States is not rational.
YES. The idea that dangerous people have to be held in GITMO is ridiculous. We have prisons. We can hold them in perfectly safe Federal prisons. Ramzi Yousef and Zacarias Moussaoui are both terrorists who were convicted in our court system and are being held in our prisons with life sentences. How hard is this? It's not.
Now, as our efforts to close Guantanamo move forward, I know that the politics in Congress will be difficult. These are issues that are fodder for 30-second commercials. You can almost picture the direct mail pieces that emerge from any vote on this issue -- designed to frighten the population. I get it. But if we continue to make decisions within a climate of fear, we will make more mistakes. And if we refuse to deal with these issues today, then I guarantee you that they will be an albatross around our efforts to combat terrorism in the future.
YES. I appreciate the fact that he speaks directly to it. The fact is that some people in Congress personally agree with the actions that Obama wants to take but fear reprisal during election time. Their constituents will inevitably be swayed by fear-mongering mailers, commercials, robo-calls, etc. Until our citizens stand up against this kind of terrorist propaganda (yes, terror-ist == fear-mongering) we'll never be able to find the right path.
I have confidence that the American people are more interested in doing what is right to protect this country than in political posturing.
YES. Nuff said.
His speech includes some more good stuff and I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch it:
President Obama: Our Security, Our Values from White House on Vimeo.
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