In Speech, Obama Announces More Restrictive Drone Policy, Renewed Push to Close Gitmo
By Harold Hutchison
In a major speech, Barack Obama announced changes to American counter-terrorism policy, including a new effort to close down Guantanamo Bay and more restrictive rules of engagement involving the use of UAVs like the Predator.
The speech, coming as his administration has been hit by multiple scandals, including one surrounding the 11 September, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS, and Justice Department surveillance of news outlets.
Obama also promised to renew his push to close the facilities at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, where high-ranking terrorists have been detained, drawing criticism from Representative Buck McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
“This speech was only necessary due to a deeply inconsistent counter-terrorism policy, one that maintains it is more humane to kill a terrorist with a drone, than detain and interrogate him at Guantanamo Bay. To close GTMO, I need to know what the President intends to do with those terrorist detainees who are too dangerous to release but cannot be tried; how he will ensure terrorists transferred overseas do not return to the fight, and what he will do with terrorists we will capture in the future as well as those dangerous terrorists still held in Afghanistan?” McKeon asked.
“Podium platitudes cannot make up for solid answers to these questions. Over the past two years I have offered to engage with the White House on these issues no fewer than five times and have always been met with silence. I hope today marks a change in that behavior,” McKeon added.
A Fox News poll shows Obama’s position is unpopular, with 63% of voters favoring keeping the base open for detaining high-value terrorists.