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Public Statements

Closing Guantanamo

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. CARTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

As you were talking about Guantanamo Bay, it dawned on me that the world talks about American treatment of political prisoners, they call them. We call them enemy combatants, which I think, since we pick them up from the battlefield, we've got a pretty decent argument. We don't hear anybody talking about our enemies' treatment of our combatants when captured on the battlefield. There is a reason, I think. First off, we do everything in our power to make sure that we don't lose any of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines to the enemy. We even remove our dead. We leave no soldier on the battlefield; it's the pride of our military. But there is also an underlying principle here because, if you will recall, less than, I think, 3 or 4 years ago, they got their hands on some people and they dragged them behind cars and hung them from the bridge in Baghdad. They got their hands on another guy; and on television, with everybody watching, they cut his head off in front of anybody who wanted to watch it.

So let's compare nine selected menu items, temperature regulated to suit your lifestyle, and your religious material of choice treated with great respect--which is our way of dealing with prisoners versus decapitation, dragging, setting on fire, and hanging from a bridge. Where is the outcry? Well, there certainly can't be any comparison of treatment because we're doing our dangest not to see that happen again. And I'm proud to say that our guys are doing a great job on that; they're protecting Americans on the battlefield. It's because the enemy has no qualms with what they're going to do. Do you really think the enemy would be providing Bibles to the Christians that they captured? Do you really think, if they were from the border regions of Texas, one of their choices on the menu would be Mexican food? Give me a break. Anybody that's got any logic at all knows exactly what would happen to American prisoners that were captured, and that's why we fight so hard to keep them safe. I yield back.

Mr. KING of Iowa. Reclaiming my time and thanking the gentleman from Texas, I think it's an especially important point, and very illustrative, when you asked the question, Do you think the enemy will provide Bibles to any of our soldiers that they might one day capture as prisoners of war?

It sounds even ridiculous when you say it because it's so far out of the realm.

We are talking about one of the pieces that have to do with immigration, talking about renewing the religious workers visa, and we'll have about 5,000 religious workers come into the United States each year. And they should be and generally are required to, and often it doesn't work out that way, be affiliated with existing religious observations. They might well come from countries like Saudi Arabia or other countries in the Middle East, for example, those countries that aren't very tolerant of our missionaries going in there. So it occurred to me that if we really wanted to have religious workers visas here in the United States, we should turn around and require reciprocity. Just simply say to them, Fine, send your imams here to the United States, but the condition is we're going to send you some Baptist ministers and Catholic priests.

I yield to the gentleman from Texas.

Mr. CARTER. That's a very interesting position, and I agree with you actually. That would be the kind of world we would create. That's the fairness that Americans give to others. It's not the world of those we fight against. The world we fight against is an autocratic world in which it's their way or the highway.

One more thing I want to point out. I get kind of tired of hearing people say we've got to close Gitmo because it is the target for creating more terrorists. So let's see. What do you think is going to be the target if we take everybody out of Gitmo and put them in Leavenworth? Then next year the recruiting tool is going to be, guess what? Leavenworth. So now we're going to close Leavenworth, because it could cause people to go over to the terrorist side, and send them to La Tuna down in El Paso. But wait a minute. In a year that's going to be the target. That's going go to be the evil Guantanamo. So eventually they're going to end up in the Williamson County Jail. But wherever you put them, until they are back home on the enemy terrorists' battlefield, they will recruit based on that holding facility. It's a ridiculous argument to say you have to close Guantanamo because it becomes a recruiting tool for terrorists, because if they were in Leavenworth, it would be the recruiting tool for terrorists.


Mr. CARTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding. Don't be comparing it to ``Remember the Alamo.'' That's pretty sacred stuff from where I come from.

But, seriously, today I was watching the news, and I saw these four detainees who are now living in probably the most luxurious setting I believe I've ever seen in, I believe it's Bermuda. I mean it's a beautiful house overlooking the ocean with a swimming pool. It's like a three-part swimming pool, a swim area and I guess that's the lounging area or maybe a kiddie pool. I don't know what it is. And these guys are sitting there. Like the guy said the other night about what was reported on the money we were going to spend to send to Palau, where they were talking about putting some people out on that

island. He said at that rate of spending, $200 million for 12, I think it was, that were going to go to Palau, if that's the rate of spending, why don't we just buy the Waldorf Astoria and put them all in there because it would come out cheaper? And, you know, it would.

I think that the world is going to look and say, Look at how the administration is reacting to this criticism of Guantanamo. They're pulling them out of a state-of-the-art prison which has state-of-the-art rules and state-of-the-art treatment and they're moving them to the tune of $200 million to an island out in the middle of nowhere?

By the way, none of these guys are on the no-fly list. Because I remember we voted on that less than 2 weeks ago to put them on the no-fly list, and the majority killed it in a big, big way.

Now, we pay $200 million to Palau. They go out there and hang around a while until they kind of get their feet on the ground, and then they're on a great white jet headed anyplace they want to go. And they're not under detention there. In the Bahamas where those four guys are, they've got freedom of the island. In the Bahamas you could get on a boat and go to the United States. We've got drug smugglers probably that smuggle that route.

But, seriously, this is ridiculous how we are overreacting to this thing and doing things that I'm sure the rest of the world has got to be saying, These guys are crazy in the United States, setting these guys up in a seaside resort in Jamaica. Insanity rules.


Mr. CARTER. I thank the gentleman for his description of just exactly what is going on. Just as you were saying, it came to mind some of the things that just in my lifetime I can remember.

If you study history, you learn when we put in the Panama Canal we had a horrible, horrible situation when we built the Panama Canal because of malaria and yellow fever that were insect-bearing diseases. We invented DDT, and we used DDT to hold down those bug populations, and by that we were able to build the Panama Canal.

As a child growing up in Houston, Texas, without air conditioning, the DDT truck went by every Friday night and sprayed the whole neighborhood. And yet a lady wrote a book called Silent Spring. She said that all the research shows--I hate it when people say ``all the research shows''--all the research shows if we continue to use DDT, we will have no insect life on Earth and the birds will die and we will have a silent spring. When spring comes, the birds won't be singing, the crickets won't be cricketing, and they will go away.

And being loyal, progressive believers, we launched a campaign to get rid of DDT, and we got rid of it. It has been gone. But we now have one of the--we actually give millions, maybe even billions now, of dollars from this Congress to fight malaria. Something that was almost eradicated when I was a kid is now a major worldwide problem because we did away with DDT. And, guess what? Now the research, the real, present-day, 21st century research, says everything they said about DDT is just not true.

It was made up. And now, we're even finding out the lady knew she made it up. But she just didn't like DDT.

Now, you talked about global cooling. I can remember global cooling. I can remember people talking about why it was going to cool down. We were going to all be in the ice age. We were going to blame the Russians. It was going to be the Russians fault, okay? All this stuff. And we had to build big industries around global cooling.

You know, we told our people, you better quit propagating, because you're going to run out of space on this Earth. By the 21st century it will be standing room only on the Earth, unless you limit the number of children you have. And being good, college-educated progressives, we launched out to reduce the amount of children we had. And we did it with birth control. And later we did it with that horrid invention, abortion. But we limited our birth control, and our Western European friends limited their birth control. We still replace ourselves. Well, I think 2.1 children to the family. But I believe the Europeans now, some of the countries over there are like 1.2. And I think some of the best countries over there are 1.8, so they're not even replacing their families with the number of children that they're having.

And then we wonder why 12 million people cross the Texas and Canadian border to come into the United States to fill jobs, because we don't have enough people to fill these jobs. And we wonder why that is.

And, hey, Europeans have got the same problem and they've had that problem--I can recall they had the problem in 1956. The Germans were importing Turks into Germany because they didn't have enough population.

Now, when you buy into a program, as you point out, down the road, if they're not telling you the truth, it has major consequences. And when you made that 10-year comment, at the present rate this Congress is going, 10 years from now, we may find ourselves sitting around trying to watch television by candle light, okay? Because we're using batteries for our television sets. Because, quite frankly, we are in the process of trying to tax our energy industry out of business, every form or fashion that has any kind of carbon connected. So 10 years from now we could have, we could be a Third World country and wonder why.

That's why this science is so very important. That's why knee jerk reaction, overreacting to things, which the government is famous for, I don't care if it's knee jerk conservatives or knee jerk liberals, any time you get in a hurry, bad things happen. And if you study the history of legislation in this country, it is absolutely true, and nobody will dispute it. You can look at slavery, you can look at the labor laws, you can look at the environmental laws, you can look at anything and see where knee jerk reaction and quick--that's why we have a Senate to slow things down because our Founding Fathers knew that knee jerk reaction created bad legislation. Well, we're about to knee jerk ourselves into the poor house if we're not careful.


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