President Obama spoke on Thursday to clean up the “mess” that Guantanamo Bay has become and stood firmly by his decision to close the detention center. The speech came after the Senate voted 90-6 to block $80 million for shutting down Gitmo.
He also attempted to reassure Americans in NIMBY mode that “nobody has ever escaped from one of our federal supermax prisons.”
The New York Times:
“I want to be honest: this is the toughest issue we will face,” the president said.
Nevertheless, despite the evil intentions of some Guantánamo detainees and the undeniable fact that Al Qaeda terrorists are determined to attack America again, United States citizens should not feel uneasy about a relatively small number of detainees being imprisoned in the American homeland, the president said.
You can find President Obama’s full speech here
Meanwhile, across town, former Vice President Cheney gave a speech harshly criticizing Obama’s actions and defending the anti-terrorism policies of the Bush administration.
“To call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives, and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation methods in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and it would make the American people less safe.”
“The (Obama) administration seems to pride itself on searching for some kind of middle ground in policies addressing terrorism. But in the fight against terrorism, there is no middle ground, and half measures keep you half exposed.”
AP photo / Charles Dharapak
President Obama delivers an address on national security, terrorism and the planned closing of Guantanamo Bay prison at the National Archives in Washington on Thursday.