September 5th, 2007
10:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Hunter: Keep Guantanamo Bay open

Rep. Duncan Hunter discussed the war on terror at Wednesday's debate.

(CNN) - Congressman Duncan Hunter said during Wednesday night's GOP debate that, if elected president, he would hold terror suspects indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay if he felt they were too dangerous to be set free and the U.S. could not convict them.

"And let me tell you," said the California Republican, that "the proof of that is the fact that we have conducted these combatant review tribunals. And we've actually sent back to the battlefield or sent back to Afghanistan some of the people that we thought were no longer a threat."

"Some of those people have shown up on the battlefield bearing arms against our soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines, back on the battlefield after we sent them back," declared Hunter. "If anything, we've been too liberal with the release of terrorists."

Hunter went on to say that the conditions at Guantanamo Bay were, in his view, anything but substandard. "The last time I looked at the menu, they had honey-glazed chicken and rice pilaf on Friday. That's how we treat the terrorists," he said.

"They've got health care that's better than most HMOs. And they got something else that no Democrat politician in America has. They live in a place called Guantanamo, where not one person has ever been murdered," proclaimed the presidential hopeful. "And there's not one politician, one Democrat politician in America, that can say that about one of the prisons in his home district. We've got to keep Guantanamo open."

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Duncan Hunter • New Hampshire
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Cary - Lowell, IN

    Agree with Duncan Hunter. Why would we want terror suspects in the mainland US. We can't even keep illegals out; how are we going to keep danerous criminals from getting in here.

    September 5, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  2. B. Chen

    Keep Duncan Hunter CLOSED.

    September 5, 2007 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  3. Philadelphia, PA

    Wow, what a demagogue!

    September 5, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  4. COL US Army (RET) Larry C. Lynch, San Antonio, Texas

    Rep Duncan Hunter fails to appreciate the burden of a truly free society. We must boldly protect our individual freedoms to ultimately preserve our unique position as a nation with respect for justice and equality. He is an intellectual casualty of the 9/11 crisis.

    September 5, 2007 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  5. RTH, Bellingham WA

    And what, Rep. Hunter, about the people who are found innocent of all wrong doing who have spent years of their lives in captivity? What of the people shipped to Albania – apparently the last place Bush is still admired – who live in poverty, in government housing, because no one else will help them, despite being found innocent? Is it enough that they simply haven't been killed while they sit in prison for nothing?

    September 5, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  6. Matt Heinz, Springfield, VA

    "And there's not one politician, one Democrat politician in America, that can say that about one of the prisons in his home district."
    There's not one Republican politician that can say that either.

    September 5, 2007 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  7. Cary - Lowell, IN

    the few isolated incidents of excessive force aside, our American military, under the government are providing a better life forthese terrorists than most jail inmates get . Free health care? Must be nice.

    September 6, 2007 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  8. David, Chicago IL

    Murders no, suicides yes.

    September 6, 2007 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  9. Chris, Salt Lake City, UT

    Mr. Hunter, don't you find it troubling that President Bush is providing better healthcare to suspected terrorists than to millions of hardworking Americans who pay taxes?

    September 6, 2007 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  10. Lance in Monrovia, CA

    What has the political right in this country come to? What happened when we turned our heads a moment and allowed these criminals to torture, remove our rights, go from calling arab bombers terrorists to people who demonstrate against the government?

    Enough fear. Enough b.s. Enough of the Republican neo con right and their big oil buddies laughing all the way to the bank as our nation and our world burns in conflicts of convenience.

    Mr. Hunter, I don't even know who the hell you are, and after reading your words, I'm glad that I never will have to.

    Just tonight, another man I haven't heard of much, Mr Thompson, asks "what kind of country are our children and grandchildren going to grow up in?"

    It's a good question Fred. I shutter to think of the kind of country you'd like to leave our kids.

    It is a crime, at such a time, to talk about cutting government programs for education, health, etc. while we are languishing due to billions upon billions spent in foreign wars that have eroded our infrastructure almost past the point of no return.

    You are showing how out of touch you are, sir, by ignoring healthcare, ignoring global warming, and ignoring the vast majority of American people that recognize Iraq for the complete lie that it is, was and will be whether you're your parties nominee or not.

    Even in a race of Republican all time lows, you reach lower. You reach only for the convenient sound bite and the "aw shucks" mentality that George Bush so loves. It is as if you are living in a vacuum since Sept. 11, 2001, and have ignored the events and information that have come to light since.

    Would our grandchildren benefit by the continued torture and spying that the current administration has endorsed and you have further advocated?

    Would our children be safer in the womb when you consistantly choose the position on abortion that suits your wallet and your political needs rather than your heart?

    how dare you lobby for a pro abortion group like Planned Parenthood during your time as a Washington Lobbyist, and then turn around now and tell us how staunchly opposed to Roe v. Wade you are and how in your administration it would be immediately overturned.

    This is playing to the stands in the most base, politically pornographic way that I can possibly imagine. You know, as a lawyer, sir, that the President of The United States could never declare such a law totally unconstitutional, it would be up to the states as it is now, but you speak out of political expediency instead of integrity.

    That is your way, and it has been for years, even since you accused Nixon of having the Watergate tapes out of one side of your mouth, when you knew damned well he had them because you called him three days earlier to warn him you would ask the question, because now, like then, you like to hedge your bets.

    I am SICK and TIRED of double speak and politics as usual. I refuse to allow another politician charm his way into the oval office by whispering sweet nothings into the ears of scared, desperate citizens that men like you have convinced are in constant, mortal danger from all sides.

    What you are not telling us, but which you also surely know, is that there is as much danger from internal factors as external, and that no country like our battered Republic has ever fallen due to external forces, they always fall from the internal, the insideuous, the forces like yourself, Mr. Thompson, who can lie with a straight face and blame bad memory or your "everyman attitude" for anything you actually manage to get caught doing.

    I am angry at your careless words. I will not stand by the side and watch you grin and pretend to be an ordinary American when in fact, sir, you are a fraud.

    You were during Watergate, you were when you were lobbying for the very issues you pretend to now abhor, and you will be every time you step onto a stage big or small and tell the biggest lie of all…

    the lie that you care what kind of country our children and their children will grow up in.

    All you care about sir, is the same thing you always have… money, power, and fame.

    Isn't that what all actors are about after all? That, and their own insecurities, which will no doubt excert themselves by the size of the nuclear weapons you'd just love to build, and use, against any enemy that provides profit and motive for further fear mongering to you.

    I wish you luck in your race Mr. Thompson, because you sure as hell need all you can get and if logic, God, and the American people have anything to say in the matter you will be relagated to the dust bin of history next to the neocon hogs that have devastated this country and others.

    September 6, 2007 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  11. david, philadelphia, pa.

    This guy should be a comedian for himself not just the republican party. Funny!

    September 6, 2007 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  12. Jordan, Farmington Hills MI

    I cannot believe Hunter is trying to make Guantanamo sound appealing. it's still a prison, and people are still being held their against their will. To hold people there indefinitely without a conviction or trial is against the morals and norms of western society. this is the suspension of Habeas Corpus, and is yet another step toward a police state made since Bush took office.

    September 6, 2007 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  13. James Flaherty, San Diego, CA

    The last time I checked, Guantanamo was a US Navy base and NOT a prison, and only in light of 9/11 were facilities converted for the means of housing political prisoners (ie. suspected terrorists).

    And if he is going to throw stones, Hunter should never forget the 20 people who were killed in 2003's Cedar Fire in East San Diego County – in his jurisdiction – which was fuelled by the thousands of acres of dry and dead brush in the Cleveland National Forest, which was never thinned back after bark beetle infestations. He should also remember the thousands of people who lost their homes in that fire and are still waiting, four years later, for a resolution with their insurance companies so they can rebuild their homes. This was the single largest fire in California history, something he could have presided over, if he wasn't a career politician first.

    As a resident of San Diego, CA for more than 28 years, it's been obvious that Hunter's commitment to the people he represents is negligible at best. There is no basis to his infused smear tactic against any "Democratic politician" and no cause or credibility to be in this election in the first place.

    September 6, 2007 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  14. Michael Gunnoe

    Well, let's see...if I were held for years, with no hope, no representation, no charges, subjected to torture, not allowed the basic rights of the Geneva Conventions, I might pissed off too when and if I was released. Would't you be? I might even want to hurt the one's who hurt me....after all, I was a farmer who was swept up in a net of suspicion and sold to the CIA as a terrorist. Not everyone at Gitmo fits this description, but some do. How do we decide? "Black detention sites". torture manuals...My God, we have become our enemies!

    September 6, 2007 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  15. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Can't we just put all the theocratic right-wing morons like Hunter in Guantanamo?This guy authored the military commission bill with the retro-active legislation.Apparently Mr. Hunter believes in time travel,that he can go back in time to change laws and make things people have already done into crimes so that they can be executed.I think that alone disqualifies him from public office and I think if his constituents knew he was insane they'd boot him out of congress.(I think Craig is waiting to use Hunter's time machine to go back and change his plea.)

    September 6, 2007 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  16. Chris Moller, Cary, NC

    "They live in a place called Guantanamo, where not one person has ever been murdered."

    And I presume from this that Mr Hunter would support the notion of treating American cities like prisons and their citizens like terrorists?

    September 6, 2007 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  17. WDRussell, East Liverpool, Ohio

    There appears to be no shame in the GOP.

    September 6, 2007 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  18. Pete, T.S. FL

    Yes, please prepare the cells for the worst enemy of our times, "W", Dick, Rumsy and the rest of them.

    September 6, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  19. John Purves, New York City

    So much for the rule of law and Habeas Corpus in the United States. I urge US citizens to write/email their congressman to support the Habeas Corpus restoration Act 2007. English passed the Habeas Corpus Act in 1679, let's bring back law & justice to America

    September 6, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  20. Tim Barnes, Johnson City, NY

    I'm glad prisioners don't have to worry about being murdered at Guantanamo, and they have good health care. I'm glad all those people could disappear for that.

    September 6, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Boudicca Blanc, Ithaca, NY, USA

    D. Hunter has about as much chance of winning the Republican nomination as Dennis K. has of winning the Democratic nomination.

    I suppose on both counts the American people should be grateful.

    September 6, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Mary, Beaver, PA

    If Duncan Hunter thinks that institutionalized honey-glazed chicken and prison health care are better than freedom, then by all means let's give him a chance to enjoy them. What an idiot! But then again, neo-cons ARE idiots.

    September 6, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Michael Fitzpatrick, Seattle, Wasington

    So i add a comment opposing Hunter and it appears for one minute then disappears from this page? so much for "liberal-conrolled media", huh?

    September 6, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Cory Newton Tampa, Fl

    Duncan Hunter is great.
    That is a good position on gitmo, and Lou Dobbs likes the Hunter fence.
    Go Hunter!

    September 6, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. Ryan, Provo, UT


    A Lou Dobbs endorsement isn't a good thing in many people's eyes.

    September 6, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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