Senate Republicans said Thursday that the U.S. needs a tougher, more comprehensive military detention policy for terror suspects. Six senators–five Republicans, including Lindsey Graham, and independent Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman–have proposed legislation that would keep open the military prison at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) by barring money for any alternative form of incarceration of terror suspects or transferring detainees to foreign countries. The measure also calls for military commissions to be used to try detainees, not civilian courts.
Appearing on Fox News Thursday morning, Senator Graham said President Obama has not followed through on his early pledge to close Gitmo, so we might as well continue to use it.
The reason we haven’t closed Guantanamo Bay is because he (President Obama) never came up with a plan to allow it to be closed. They (the Obama Administration) have been trying to criminalize the war. They’ve been trying taking people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and treating them as common criminals and not warriors. The difference between the law of war and criminal law is big, and it’s real. He should never be in a civilian court with the same rights as an American citizen, and we’re saying that the people at Guantanamo Bay represent a national security threat. We don’t have a new jail for suspected terrorists, so let’s use Guantanamo Bay.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a Pakistani in U.S. custody in Guantánamo Bay for alleged acts of terrorism, including mass murder of civilians. He is accused of being the mastermind of the 9/11 attack of the World Trade Center in New York City.
The senators proposed their measure just days after President Obama’s decision to resume military trials for detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Upon taking office, Obama said he wanted to close the Guantanamo prison within a year, but the move has been hamstrung by opposition from members of Congress.
Graham says that Congress will never pay for a civilian trial for an accused terrorist because a public platform should not be given to harbingers of hate.
I don’t think many senators want to give Khalid Sheikh Mohammad a trial in New York City that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to give him a platform to spew his hate and criminalize the war. I don’t think many senators want to read Miranda rights to people who just tried to blow up an airplane, and I don’t think many senators want to let people at Guantanamo Bay go back to Yemen, Somalia, or Pakistan. I think we are going to do very well with our legislation, and I wish the administration would have helped us.