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Public Statements

Guantanamo Bay

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, amidst all the other business we will be facing this week, I wish to note a welcome development in the war on terror. For the last 2 years, the Obama administration has actively sought to bring the 9/11 plotters into our communities for civilian trials, a completely horrible idea that rightly drew overwhelming bipartisan opposition from the American people and from their elected Representatives here in Congress. Today, the administration is announcing it has changed course. The administration, incredibly enough, today is announcing it has changed course and that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the others who plotted these horrible attacks will be tried in military commissions at Guantanamo Bay rather than in a civilian trial in New York or some other U.S. city.

I remember all of our discussions on this issue over the last 2 years. The President issued an Executive order on day 1 to close Guantanamo. He indicated they were going to mainstream these terrorists into the U.S. court system, so this change today is truly a welcome development, the administration announcing that KSM and the others who plotted these crimes will be tried in a proper jurisdiction, these military commissions, at the proper place for these commission trials, Guantanamo Bay. This is the right outcome to the long and spirited debate that preceded this decision. Military commissions at Guantanamo, far from the U.S. mainland, were always the right idea for a variety of compelling reasons which I and others have enumerated repeatedly over the last years. For the sake of the safety and the security of the American people, I am glad the President reconsidered his position on how and where to try these detailees. Going forward, this model should be the rule rather than the exception. I am sure this decision will draw widespread approval and it is very welcome news.

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