A Teleconference With Senator Saxby Chambliss About Guantanamo Bay

Here are the notes, not quotes, from a blogger teleconference with Senator Saxby Chambliss that was just completed.

Opening Statement: I have been to Guantanamo Bay and will be going again soon. I have seen interrogations and have looked these terrorists in the eye. These guys get up every morning hoping for another opportunity to kill Americans.

I oppose ever letting these men set foot on American soil and if they do make it here and win their release in the courts, I want to prevent them from being released into American society.

There will be amendments on this next week on the supplemental. While I am not supportive of the President’s decision to close Gitmo, I do understand it is symbolic from an international standpoint. Still, this was a major decision and it shows Obama’s lack of experience that there is no plan as to what to do with these people.

Q&A Section

The President is going to reverse himself and not release additional detainee photos. What do you think?

It was unwise to release the photos and I am glad to see him reverse himself. Those pics from Abu Ghraib were terrible and created a lot of emotion. Why would we want to go through that again and reopen an old wound? I think he ought to rethink some other issues as well like defense spending.

Should there be a full investigation of who in Congress knew what about what was going on in Gitmo?

I think Nancy Pelosi’s insincerity about the issue came through when it came out that not only was she briefed, she was the first person briefed. I don’t know if it requires a full blown hearing, but I think she needs to come forward to admit she knew about this and didn’t have any objections. The Senate is already investigating who knew what in the Senate.

(Question from me) There has been talk that the lawyers who advised the Bush Administration that waterboarding wasn’t torture could be punished somehow. There is even talk that they should be disbarred. What’s your opinion of that?

I think it’s atrocious that they would even consider that. We’re trying to get the brightest minds in the world to advise the President. The idea that a lawyer might be subjected to prosecution for giving his best advice is going to shut them down. People aren’t going to want to do it. It would be very foolish to try to take any move against them.

Can we have John Stewart, Perez Hilton, and Wanda Sykes classified as Weapons of Mass destruction? What do we do?

Call Jack Bauer!

The Sykes comments were really out of bounds. Thoughts?

I thought the comments were really personal and very inappropriate. Y’all deal with this every day on your blogs. The Left is full of themselves and out-of-control. They’re kind of feeling their oats right now.

Can we come to Gitmo on your next trip?

We could bring you and subject you to some enhanced interrogation.

Can we get other countries to take these Gitmo detainees and make the problem disappear?

That would be great, but it seems unlikely. There are Uighurs the court has ordered released, but the administration has no takers for them. They think they would be imprisoned or tortured there, so they don’t want to do that. I’m not sure we should be making that decision. These people were trained in Al-Qaeda terrorist camps. The Administration is talking about bringing them into our country? There’s no one from Mayberry to New York that wants these people. That’s their inexperience showing. They are trying to satisfy the far Left and not thinking ahead.

Do you think Obama may change his mind and not close Guantanamo?

I have to think he’s considering it. Nobody seems to even want to have these people imprisoned in their state and even there, people were saying they don’t want them. They say they are working with other countries to take them, but the Bush Administration did that, too, and didn’t have too much luck. I think most of these countries don’t want them back.

What do you think about the Crist/Rubio race in Florida?

Charlie Crist is a friend, even though I don’t agree with him on a lot of issues. I encouraged him to get in and he is conservative, although he may not agree with us on some things. Florida is a moderate state. I think Rubio is a great guy, with a great future, but I think right now we need Charlie Crist.

(Question from me) Do you think it was appropriate for the NRSC to endorse Crist?

It is unusual, but Crist is head and shoulders above Rubio, so I understand it.

What about cap and trade?

We don’t have much time between now and August. We have appropriation process going and then you throw in the health care debate and there’s an energy issue, too. So, I don’t think they can get it done before August. I think the current bill that’s out there doesn’t have the votes. It would be dead before it got there.

What about health care reform?

I think Senator Baucus is trying to get Republican votes, but if the bill is going to turn health care over the government, there is no way to fix that. It will be a heated debate — but, until you get away from the concept of having the government take over health care, there’s not much that can be done on a bipartisan basis.

Summary: Senator Chambliss was very folksy, very genteel — perhaps a bit too much so, in regard to Barack Obama — but, I guess we can’t expect these guys to really start knocking his head off until his approval rating tapers off a bit more.

Chambliss made a lot of great points about Gitmo and although I didn’t much care for the fact that he’s supporting “Arlen” Crist in Florida, he’s friends with the guy, so what can you expect?

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