Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

GITMO

May 18 2009

Mr. Speaker, the administration plans to close the state-of-the-art Guantanamo Bay detention facility by January. The problem is, they have no plan for what to do with the terrorist detainees. These are the people who have tried to kill Americans, and they want to keep up their sinful ways by trying to kill more Americans. These are people picked up off the battlefield, sometimes hiding between children and women's skirts in villages. They were not wearing uniforms. They were not state sponsored, but they were there for a reason, and that was to kill innocent people.

For example, they use women and children for two purposes: one, to hide behind as cover, and the other reason is to murder in the name of religion. That's why they're called terrorists. They try to inflict terror and fear in all peoples.

Some of these people have been waterboarded. They gave us vital information that saved American lives. Apparently, two plots were uncovered by waterboarding. One crime was to crash a plane into a Los Angeles skyscraper and another to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.

I wonder if the would-be victims appreciated the waterboarding?

What are we supposed to do to get this information?

But some are now to be more concerned about the treatment of Gitmo detainees than they are about potential American victims. Maybe we don't have our priorities straight. And by the way, Mr. Speaker, I have been to Gitmo, and its facilities are better than many American jails where we keep Americans.

Let's look a little bit at history. General George Washington had a very different way of dealing with folks that were captured who weren't wearing uniforms. A British spy named Major John Andre, who was a buddy of Benedict Arnold, fell into these circumstances. After surveying West Point, Benedict Arnold met with Andre and gave him a sheaf of papers outlining the state of the garrison and the arrangements that had been made for its defense at West Point. Andre removed his uniform as a senior British officer, put on a plain coat, stuffed Arnold's secret instructions into his silk stockings, and set off for New York and his headquarters. Militiamen caught up with him on the road, however, found the papers from Arnold in his boots, and turned him over to George Washington, who had him hanged. Is that better than being waterboarded?

So what do we do with these terrorists if we close Gitmo? If we take hundreds of hard-core terrorists from an isolated island like Gitmo and put them in American prisons, we expose the nearby communities, inmates, law enforcement, prison guards, officials and their families to the possibility of payback, attacks aimed at breaking them out or retaliation against the community for holding them.

If they go to an American prison, they, in all likelihood, would eventually be released into the United States. That's not good news.

We don't want them brought to Texas, by the way, Mr. Speaker. We have enough problems from the Federal Government neglecting our southern border.

Last week, in the Judiciary Committee hearing, Attorney General Holder couldn't name one State that wants these outlaws sent to them. So what are we going to do?

Are we going to reopen Alcatraz and put them there? Who knows?

Do we bring them here and try them in our Federal courts?

Mr. Speaker, if we stop and take a look at why we have separate legal systems for our citizens and for military purposes, maybe the reasons will be crystal clear even to administration lawyers: The Amer