Obama Attempts to Calm Guantanamo Concerns

Delivering an impassioned defence of his administration’s perspective on the war on terror, US President Barack Obama on Thursday reiterated his determination to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.

Obama said that the goings on at Guantanamo for the past seven years had demonstrated an unjust, haphazard “ad hoc approach” that undermined rather than strengthened America’s safety, he said that moving the prison’s most dangerous inmates to the US was both practical and in keeping with the country’s cherished ideals.

Speaking at the National Archives, which enshrines the Constitution and other documents representing America’s system of Government and justice, Obama promised to work with Congress to develop a safe and fair system for dealing with the Guantanamo detainees who could not be prosecuted “yet who pose a clear danger to the American people”.

“I want to be honest: this is the toughest issue we will face,” the President said.

While not denying the terror threat posed to the US by the Al Qaeda, Obama said, US citizens should not feel uneasy about a relatively small number of detainees being imprisoned in the American homeland.

“As we make these decisions, bear in mind the following fact: nobody has ever escaped from one of our federal supermax prisons, which hold hundreds of convicted terrorists,” the President said.

Minutes after Obama concluded his speech, former Vice-President Dick Cheney offered a far different perspective, defending the anti-terrorism policies of the Bush administration and criticising some of President Obama’s approaches.

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