Monday, May 21, 2007

Gitmo on the Demo campaign trail

Democratic presidential candidates seem even more united than Republicans on the issue of Guantánamo/"Guantánamo"; that is, not only on questions of closure of the detention camp that bears the name, but also on post-September 11 practices of coercive interrogation. As detailed yesterday, nearly all GOP candidates favor the camp and/or the harsh methods. In stark contrast are the Democrats: nearly all have advocated closing the camp, and none has supported coercive interrogation. Here's a sampling of Demos' comments this campaign year (and in the 1st example, well before):

U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, 2005 TV appearance:

This has become the greatest propaganda tool that exists for recruiting of terrorists around the world. And it is unnecessary to be in that position. ... I think we should end up shutting it down, moving those prisoners. ... Those that we have reason to keep, keep. And those we don't, let go.

U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Senate committee hearing:

Rather than keeping us more secure, keeping Guantanamo open is harming our national interests. It compromises our long term military and strategic interests, and it impairs our standing overseas. I have certainly concluded that we should address any security issues on what to do with the remaining detainees, and then close it once and for all.

U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut:

Dodd has sponsored the Restoring the Constitution Act 0f 2007, a bill that would not close Guantánamo, but would allow detainees to petition federal courts for writs of habeas corpus, and also would address some due process concerns related to the military commissions set to try some Gitmo detainees.

Former U.S. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, speech to the California Democratic Party Convention, San Diego:

On my first day in office, you have my word that Guantanamo will be closed.

Former U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska, radio appearance:

I will withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 60 days and raze Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo. We must tell the world that the United States does not stand for
torture. It is unacceptable human behavior.

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, news interview:

You could close Guantanamo; that’s a good move — but until the United States ends the occupation (of Iraq), we will still have this war.

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, speech in Kansas City:

He also called for the closing of Guantanamo -- the American military base in Cuba where putative al-Qaida terrorists are imprisoned: 'Why don't we say we don't do torture, we don't do rendition, that's not who we are as a people.'

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, 2007 speech in Washington:

... Richardson told an Arab-American group that, as president, he would close the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorists ... Richardson said the prisons at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib had made Americans 'very, very ashamed.'

'Nuff said.

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