Calling the last 8 years a “season of fear”, President Obama continued to push ahead with his plans to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison which has been holding hundreds of terror suspects without trial for many years.
The President made his speech in a building that houses copies of the constitution and the bill of rights. The President referenced those documents in his speech saying “We can not keep this country safe unless we enlist our most fundamental values”
Here is a recap of our twitter feed on the speech:
“Our values have been our best national security asset”. Enemies surrender to us in battles because they know they will treated well
“We have been the nation that shuts down torture chambers” Our govt. made some hasty decisions based on fear rather than foresight. Trimmed facts- set aside principles as “luxuries”
Obama: “Ad hoc” ways to fight terrorism was neither legal or effective. Obama: I banned the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation. – Not effective! (HUGE APPLAUSE)
Obama: Waterboarding undermines the rule of law and increases the will of our enemies to fight us, risks the lives of our troops.
Obama : Waterboarding did not advance our war against terrorism, it undermined it.
Obama on closing Gitmo: we had a total of 3 convictions of terrorist in 7 years. Meanwhile 500+ detainees were released by Bush.
Obama: Gitmo forced us to defend positions that undermined the rule of law.
Obama: Gitmo likely created more terrorists than it every contained. Cost of keeping it open are more than closing it.
Obama: Gitmo is a “misguided experiment” , a “mess” the Obama admin has to clean up.
Obama: we are not going to release anyone from Gitmo if it endangers our security.
Obama: whenever possible we will try terrorists in our federal courts. Obama: Terrorists have been tried and convicted in our federal courts. Detainees from Gitmo will face the same.
Obama: Detainees that violate the rules of war will be tried by military commissions. This is the appropriate venue
Obama: This is not a reversal on my part. I’ve said I support military commissions with reforms. those are the reforms we are now making.
Obama: 21 Gitmo detainees ordered released by the courts. We will abide by those rulings.
Obama: We have approved transfer of 50 Gitmo detainees to their native country for detention.
Obama: Those remaining Gitmo detainees who are dangerous to our country and can’t be prosecuted, they will not be released.
Obama: However, any prolong detention of Gitmo prisoners must be justified and legal. Should not be decision of any one man.
Obama: “You can imagine the direct mail pieces” from a cong. vote on closing Gitmo. Doing what is right more important than posturing
Obama: Democracy depends on transparency. Some information must be shielded to protect our troops and National Security.
Obama: We seek the to do what’s right over the long term, not what’s politically expedient.
Obama: Not going to refight the last 8 years. Let’s focus on the future. Media enables the finger pointing blame game.
Obama: “if we can not stand with our core values, then we are not keeping faith with the documents (constitution) enshrined in this hall”