Sen. Jon McCain’s statement on President Obama’s terrorism speech

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

I have to admit, I am surprised by Sen. John McCain's fairly gracious response to President Obama's terrorism speech on Thursday.

Here is Sen. John McCain's statement:

STATEMENT BY SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN ON
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S SPEECH ON TERRORISM TODAY

May 23, 2013

Washington, D.C. ­
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement on
President Obama’s speech on terrorism today at the National Defense
University in Washington, DC:
 

“There
is much that I support in President Obama's speech today. Though I
continue to have questions and concerns about specific details of how he
plans to achieve the goals he laid out today, I believe there is common
ground to work with the President to advance both our counterterrorism
objectives and our highest values as a nation of laws.

“I
support the President’s plan to consolidate the use of armed drones in
the Department of Defense. That is the appropriate department of our
government to conduct military operations against our enemies. Assigning
this role to the Department would enable our other government agencies
to focus their precious time and resources on furthering their own
essential core missions.
 

“I
also support the President’s reaffirmation of the goal of closing the
detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. That is a goal I have long
shared. More than four years ago, the President said he would close
Guantanamo but did not put forward a concrete plan to do so. I look
forward to seeing the specifics of the plan the President outlined
today.

“As
the President suggested, closing Guantanamo will require bringing some
detainees inside the United States to stand trial in civilian courts or
military commissions, as appropriate. It will also require transferring
other detainees back to their home countries or to other foreign
locations in a way that limits the risk of recidivism as much as
possible. And, for those detainees who unfortunately cannot be brought
to trial but who are too dangerous to release, closing Guantanamo will
require those individuals to be held indefinitely in the United States.
This long-term detention should include periodic review and additional
due process safeguards. I encourage the President to work with Congress
on what additional authorities may be needed to establish a legal
framework to meet this goal that is consistent with our national
security and principles of justice.
 


“The
task of closing Guantanamo has gotten harder over the past few years
but it is not impossible. The Secretary of Defense is required by law to
make an important national security certification before transferring a
detainee from Guantanamo to either the United States or a foreign
country. I will work with my colleagues to review those certifications
on a case-by-case basis. But, nothing in current law prevents the
President from beginning this process. He should do so.

“I
also have many questions and concerns about the advisability of
transferring Yemeni detainees to their country at this time, even though
many are cleared for release. Yemen has a weak government that
continues to face numerous security threats. With this in mind, I will
be traveling to Yemen in the near future to assess how conducive the
conditions in that country are to begin responsibly returning detainees
to Yemen.
 

“No
American wants the fight against terrorists to become a perpetual war.
But the fact is, this fight will endure long beyond President Obama’s
term of office. Future Commanders-in-Chief will need all of our tools of
national power, both civilian and military, to protect our country
against the evolving threat posed by Al-Qaeda and its associated forces.
The President and the Congress need to work together to establish a
sustainable legal framework for our counterterrorism policies. A central
part of this effort must be an update of the 2001 Authorization for Use
of Military Force, and I welcome the President's willingness to engage
with Congress on this issue.

“America
is a nation of laws, and I strongly believe that we must codify in law
the principles, authorities, transparency, and limitations on the use of
force that can guide our democratic nation though our current conflict,
just as those same values have guided us through prior conflicts. Such
legislation would be a fitting legacy for this Congress – and for
President Obama.”
 

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