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January 23rd, 2009
02:26 PM ET

Don't rush to close Guantanamo

Editor's Note: Sen. Sam Brownback is a Republican from Kansas

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/21/guantanamo.justice/art.campjustice.gi.jpg caption="Prosecutions have been halted at Guantanamo Bay's Camp Justice after an order by President Obama."]

Sam Brownback
Special to CNN

The most important responsibility for any president is the safety and security of the American people.

By issuing Thursday's executive orders, President Obama has ensured that his success or failure in matters of national security policy will be defined in part by what he does with detainees.

It amounts to a test of whether the promises of the campaign trail can be reconciled with the fundamental responsibility of protecting all Americans.

I disagree with setting a date for closing Guantanamo Bay's detention facility because I believe that adhering to a schedule is less important than preserving our security.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. JC- Los Angeles

    With each passing day, it's becoming harder and harder to believe that the questionably detained at Guantanamo Bay have done more harm to America than many of our horrifying leaders, executives and politicians.

    While many of the detained were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth, mainlined into cushy jobs, promoted without any decipherable track record or simply married into money, their actions should not be easily dismissed.

    That being said, perhaps we could release many of them and replace them with Stan O'Neil, Dick Fuld, Anthony Cassano, Eliot Spitzer, Jim McGreevey, Angelo Mozillo, Kerry Killinger, Ken Lewis, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Barney Frank, John Thain, Franklin Raines; I could go on all day.

    January 23, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  2. sara

    I highly disagree. In business and in life....if you don't at FIRST set a timeline...a deadline to get things done.....it is likely the debate and waffling and committee meeting will go on indefinitely and nothing will ever get done.
    Setting a deadline is PARAMOUNT and a first step in the right direction. Now the task at hand is that leaders will have to meet and make clear and decisive choices....not engage in years long theoretical debates as has occurred with these detainees during the Bush administration.
    Someone mentioned in another article about the fact that people are reluctant to have detainees in prison on US soil because "then what do we do about their rights....we don't wan't them to have the same rights as us...they are our enemy." The point is that these detainees have NOT been tried, no crime has been proven ,and human rights are just as important on foreign soil as on American soil.
    They MUST be given fair treatment and due process. Some may prove to be "our enemy" and have committed crimes, some may simply prove to disagree with our policies and way of life but have committed no crime....and some may be innocent. We will not find that out by detaining people without trial.
    If you look at the history of many wars....success was often achieved by treating prisoners with kindness....many times they came over to the other side by the extension of an olive branch of peace and friendship. Unfortunately the time has long passed and is sorely overdue when this should have occurred.
    THIS is what Obama is trying to accomplish by closing Guantanamo. Extension of an olive branch of peace....kindness...mercy....even to our enemy...will go a lot farther toward protecting our borders and our interests.
    You CANNOT protect your security by sacrificing your ideals and your own humanity.
    Congratulations Obama....for having the courage to LEAD us in this first VERY important step.

    January 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm |