U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today responded to news that the Obama Administration is planning to reverse course on its previous ban on military tribunals. He was one of the first members of Congress to visit the detention facilities in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GITMO) nine years ago, and has been a lone voice in the Senate advocating to keep the facilities there open to try terrorist detainees using military tribunals.
"The news that the Obama administration is planning to reverse course and allow detainees to be tried through the military tribunal system means this is over, and we have won. For the last nine years, I have lead the fight to keep the detention facility at GITMO open. It has been a lonely battle - much like the fight against Cap and Trade. From my visit on the first trip there on January 25, 2002, just days after the first detainees arrived, it was clear to me that those held there posed a high national security risk and needed to be handled through a military process. I knew then that we couldn't afford to close GITMO, because it is nothing less than a crown jewel.
"Since the detention facilities in GITMO opened after the 9/11 attacks, the President Obama and his liberal left have been trying to close the camps, bring the terrorists onto American soil, and try them in our civil justice system. The prosecution of terrorist detainees belongs in a military tribunal not because it ensures a particular result, but because it is the best way to present classified information and present evidence that has been taken from the battle field. Within the military tribunal system, terrorists do not need to have their Miranda Rights read to them when captured, and obtaining a warrant on the front lines of the war is not necessary. Trying them under our civil system where the rules of evidence are different and where they would be guaranteed Constitutional Rights reserved for U.S. citizens could have dangerously devastating consequences. A prime example of this is the recent trial of terrorist Ahmed Ghailani in New York City where the administration succeeded in getting a conviction on only one of 285 charges.
"Since President Obama made his announcement to close GITMO within the first year of his Presidency, we have fought to expose the serious national security implications his decision would have on our nation. This new decision by the Obama administration means that, for the first time under his administration, justice in Guantanamo for these terrorist detainees can once again move forward. This just proves that Obama's original decision was political, aimed at appeasing his ultra liberal left base."