On Monday evening, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas tore into opponents of Guantanamo Bay, arguing that the idea that Guantanamo Bay should be closed is ludicrous, since it’s full of “savages” who are hardened terrorists.
According to Cotton, there are no “innocent goat herders” to be found, and instead we should be not only maintaining the prison, but sending in more detainees for indefinite detention, as well, The Hill reports. Cotton is a combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the youngest current senator at 37 years old. His stance on Guantanamo is familiar.
Last week, Cotton launched a firestorm during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing when he stated that Gitmo detainees can rot in hell. Under Obama, 50 detainees have been cleared for release and no suspected terrorists have been added to the prison population.
Of those released, the recidivism rate remains incredibly high. Sen. John McCain has previously stated that 30 percent of former detainees re-enter the fight, but government numbers differ, with only 17 percent of former detainees officially linked to terrorist activities. An additional 12 percent are suspected of re-engaging.
“Terrorists need no excuse to attack us here. They’ve shown that for decades and decades,” Cotton said on Fox News’ “The Kelly File.” In response to the Obama administration’s claims that closing Guantanamo Bay is in the United States’ national security interest because it motivates further attacks. “We should be proud for the way we treated these savages at Guantanamo Bay and the way our soldiers conduct themselves all around the world, to include the people doing the very hard work at Guantanamo Bay.”
Cotton isn’t alone in his thoughts. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia stated that he “had really the same feeling that Senator Cotton had for a lot of years,” according to Bloomberg. Sen. Joni Ernst from Iowa echoed Cotton’s heated remarks. “My sentiments are exactly like Senator Cotton’s. I could care less. They really should not be out there where they can threaten American lives or our NATO allies, their lives.”
Obama has repeatedly stated his strong commitment to closing the facility as soon as possible, but officials in his own administration have complained about micromanaging and overt pressure from above. Incoming defense secretary Ash Carter recently promised the Senate Armed Services Committee that he wouldn’t be pushed around, and others in the Pentagon have considerably slowed down the process, as well, compounding Obama’s frustration. (RELATED: Obama’s Own Team Slows Down Guantanamo Bay Closure)
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