June 18th, 2008
11:50 AM ET
12 years ago

Guantanamo detainee prosecution debate rages on


Watch Giuliani's interview from American Morning.

(CNN) – Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani accused Barack Obama of "a softer and more defensive approach to terrorism," while Obama's foreign policy advisor Susan Rice called John McCain's stance on the issue "stupid and fundamentally failed," in separate interviews Wednesday on CNN's "American Morning."

This morning's back-and-forth between the two presidential campaigns was a continuation of a disagreement over how to prosecute detainees held at Guantanamo Bay that began earlier this week.

WATCH McCain and Obama spar over terrorism

The firestorm started when Obama on Monday praised last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling to put Guantanamo Bay detainees on trial, pointing to how the 1993 World Trade Center bombers were prosecuted.

"The real problem is his having said that in essence the 1993 situation was really correctly handled by it being a criminal prosecution," Giuliani said on a conference call with reporters shortly after the CNN interview. "The reality is it wasn't over with in 1993, it led to several other serious attacks on Americans and then of course the catastrophic attack of September 11."

Giuliani also criticized Obama for applauding the Supreme Court ruling to extend Habeas Corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees.

"I do not understand why at a time that we're facing this terrorist threat, we want to create new rights that didn't exist before for people who are alleged to be involved in terrorism or who are alleged to be enemy combatants," said Giuliani.

Rice not only aimed her fire at McCain, but Giuliani as well.

WATCH Obama campaign advisor calls McCain's terror policy 'stupid'

"What Rudy Giuliani and the McCain campaign are doing is straight out of the Karl Rove play book," she said in the CNN interview. "It's distorting, dishonest attacks that bear no semblance to reality. This administration and John McCain have for seven years pursued a stupid and fundamentally failed policy as we try to deal with the war on terrorism."

She later added, "First of all, we'll try to kill Osama bin Laden. But if Osama bin Laden or anybody else is captured, we have deal with that very forcefully. The way you deal with it is not to hold somebody in violation of our constitution, indefinitely in detention and never convict them."

soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. John, Brooklyn, New York

    The Bush administration can't have it both ways...

    EITHER the prisoners at Guantanamo are enemy combatants, in which case we are obliged to follow the international treaties that deal with prisoners of war (just like the rest of the civilized world)

    OR they are civilians who have plotted to kill Americans, in which case Habeas Corpus and due process would apply.

    It is simply not OK to hold people without charging them with a crime for an indefinate period of time without a hearing to determine their guilt. The America most of us love doesn't do that kind of thing.

    June 18, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. les

    A Verb A noun 9/11

    nuff said

    June 18, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. R.I.F.

    In an e-mail, entitled, “Giuliani v Giuliani: 1993 World Trade Center Bombing Case,” the Obama campaign points out that in 1993, Giuliani said at the time, per the New York Times, March 5, 1994: “Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani declared that the verdict ‘demonstrates that New Yorkers won't meet violence with violence, but with a far greater weapon - the law.’”

    Also from that day’s Times: “Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said he hoped that the verdicts would lessen tensions rather than increase them. ‘It should show that our legal system is the most mature legal system in the history of the world,’ he said, ‘that it works well, that that is the place to seek vindication if you feel your rights have been violated.’”

    The DNC takes its shot at Giuliani with an e-mail with a title, parroting Joe Biden’s Greatest Debate Hits: “Rudy, ‘Noun, verb, 9/11’ Giuliani returns.”

    June 18, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. mayahh


    June 18, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. What if?

    Amen.........................McSameMcCain on myspace June 18th, 2008 3:33 pm ET
    Rudy Giuliani took the same approach to campaigning for president that he did in the initial aftermath of 9/11. He hid out until the damage occured. In the latest case, he went down to Florida to hang out in the sun and made himself disappear.
    Rudy is not a hero, never has been, and never will be. He wouldn't even run against Hillary in New York because he thought he would have lost (and he would have).
    Guess what, time to click those rudy slippers together and go home because your 15 minutes are way past being up.
    -------------------------------–You are so right...............YOU HIT THE HAMMER ON THE HEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!I wanted to say the same information, but was afraid CNN would close before I could type and submit it

    June 18, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Bishop

    Rick : June 18th, 2008 3:26 pm ET

    ....In which prisons are we going to hold all these terrorists? In which courtrooms are we going to try all of them? Who's going to pay for their lawyers? American soldiers will have to mirandize every person they capture…how is that going to work on the battlefield?

    Democrats…..they'd be hilarious if they weren't so dangerous.

    You are as stupid as Guili is. There were terrorist captured and tried before, why couldn't that be done again. In the battlefield???? Nimrod...WHO GOES TO COURT IN A BATTLEFIELD??? DOES THAT EVEN SOUND LIKE A SMART THING TO TYPE??? COPS MIRANDIZE PEOPLE EVERYDAY, "STUPID"...

    June 18, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. With friends like Obama...

    Terrorists should be immediately put in "time out!" Take that, Mr. Head-chopper!

    And if they persist, we'll take away their iPods and their internet privileges.

    If they behave better, like good girls and boys, they'll get a pizza party and a trophy! Yeah, trophies for everyone!

    June 18, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. M.S. Indiana

    Rick, But it is ok to moved people from one part of the world and hold them in an other part ?? thought that is how police/military states operate.

    What about moving them back to Iraq and Afghanistan ?? or maybe UN could take over..but then that could include bush and cheney to too for war crimes...

    June 18, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. J. Dean Juno Beach, FL


    June 18, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Alexis

    I don't understand why it even matter that Rudy gives his oppinion on anything... WHY?.. The guy is a loser nothing else, a loser that used 9/11 to get ahead and stupid us and the media are we gave him credit for it. The guy is like a little puppy, he wiggles his tail for whoever might have a chance to be president.... this is one thing I hate when the media call him America's mayor, how the hell can you call him that when the guy was basicly going down right before 9/11 and as soon as the worst tragedy in our life happened, he became a heroe. I'm strongly against anybody that use 9/11 for his personal success and Rudy is on top of that list, and in second place Bush....... and this one of the reason I will never consider being a republican cause a lot of them used and still using 9/11 for their personal success. Come on people wake up and see what's happening again, the same strategie of scarying people, of blind folding us from seing who's and what's right for us, for this country.

    Obama/ Clinton 08

    June 18, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. lovable liberal

    If McCain were to win election, taking the oath of office would be a flip-flop – he'd be swearing to law and the Constitution that he has publicly, though not explicitly, stated his opposition to. Habeas corpus, FISA, and the Fourth Amendment are prominent examples.

    June 18, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Frequent Flyer NYC

    Rudy HA!....this guy was a joke in New York City....He didnt do anything on 9/11 it was the NYPD and the FDNY emergency response teams that came up big. This guy thinks because he was the mayor here when 9/11 happened that he is an expert on terrorism...HAHAHAH....

    Vote for change get these idiots out of the White House... INDEPENDANT FOR OBAMA!

    June 18, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  13. 5two

    I'm sure you heard that this morning Art, but that's not what she said. She called the Bush/McCain policies and stance on the issue stupid.

    Perhaps closed captioning will help you since listening didn't.

    There's nothing wrong with disagreeing with what she said, just tell the truth when you disprove her point of view.

    However, you didn't find it offensive that the Conservatives referred to Obama's policies as dangerous and naive, did you?

    Does the good ol' fashion fear tactics work for you?

    June 18, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. James, Redlands, CA

    Senator Obama is not just a politician. He is a lawyer. And not just a lawyer, he is a Constitutional lawyer. So if there is anyone in this political discussion who understands the Bush doctrine on torture and imprisonment and the decision by the Supreme Court, it's Obama.

    The Bush Administration currently has the ability to proclaim ANYONE an enemy combatant. And Republicans are delusion if they believe that an American citizen could not be classified as such. They won't care about your driver's license, birh certificate, passport or any other legal document you may posess. You will CEASE to have a right to be appropriately charged and tried.

    Any of us, all of us could be taken by our government and treated that way.

    Please stop getting your viewpoints from people like Rush, Hannity, Guliani, Ingram, and the entire list of so called conservative mouthpieces.

    The Supreme court's decision did not free terrorist. And out of the 500 that have been freed, 30 have been documented to actually show up on a battlefield. The others attempted to go back to their lives.

    None of us are safe if we give up our rights out of fear.

    June 18, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. Boye

    To all who think that terrorists should not have their day in court, I have one question. If the terrorists are American citizens should they be treated any different from non-American terrorists?

    If so, then should we apply the same logic to non-American criminals (illegal immigrants that commit a crime)? Should be throw them in jail without due process?

    If not, then should we strip the rights of American citizens because they engage in terrorism? What makes terrorism a worse crime than murder?

    In my opinion, they should be afforded the right to trial but maybe with the exception of lawyers paid by the taxpayers. That part is debatable.

    June 18, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. Cynthia - Arkansas

    I have a real problem with these idiots saying it's wrong to give people a trial. They talk about these detainees like they're all guilty. How do they know? They haven't been charged with any crime at all! At least charge them and give them a chance to defend themselves. What happened to justice and the principles we are supposed to stand for? If it hadn't been for the family of the man from Australia speaking out about their son, he would still be there as well.

    June 18, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
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