Archive for Thursday, May 28, 2009

Guantanamo threat still exists, Roberts says

At town hall meeting, senator describes ‘firestorm’ over possibility of detainees being moved to state

Senator Pat Roberts listens to a question from Richard Fry, Olathe, about immigration reform. Roberts held a town hall meeting at the Riverfront Community Center Wednesday to talk about the possibility of Guantanamo Bay detainees being sent to Fort Leavenworth.

Senator Pat Roberts listens to a question from Richard Fry, Olathe, about immigration reform. Roberts held a town hall meeting at the Riverfront Community Center Wednesday to talk about the possibility of Guantanamo Bay detainees being sent to Fort Leavenworth.

May 28, 2009

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., has been voicing his strong opinion against bringing the detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Fort Leavenworth, and during his trip to Leavenworth, he continued making his voice heard.

Roberts conducted a town hall meeting Wednesday evening on the subject with some of the people who would be directly affected by the move. Roberts said he wanted to make sure the people of Leavenworth “understand the seriousness of the threat that still exists.

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“Announcing that he is going to close Gitmo first without a plan as to what to do with the terrorists has caused a firestorm out here, and I think it is a well-deserved firestorm,” Roberts said about President Barack Obama’s executive order to close the prison.

For about 90 minutes, Roberts gave his thoughts to a room of around 200 concerned residents and then responded to their questions.

Roberts said that he wasn’t worried that the Army wouldn’t be able to handle the detainees, but that they shouldn’t have to, especially when it would cost a lot of taxpayer money to properly modify the prison and it could endanger the relationships with other countries that send their military officers to the Command and General Staff College at the fort.

Many of the residents who asked questions were worried about how safe the area would be if the detainees were moved.

Sharon Evans, Roeland Park, wanted to know why the Obama administration was thinking about moving the detainees to the United States because she said the one thing the federal government can do is to keep U.S. residents safe.

“They won’t close our borders, and they are letting these people cross the border who come from terrorist countries who want to hurt us,” Evans said. “These people are evil, and I think our federal government should stand up and protect us.”

Others said they thought world opinion had a hand in Obama’s decision to close Gitmo and that the world’s opinion shouldn’t matter.

Roberts agreed but said that he wanted to give the president the benefit of the doubt because he believes Obama thinks he is acting in the country’s best interest.

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