Reminding his colleagues on the Senate floor "what 9/11 is all about," Sen. Lindsey Graham on Thursday night argued that Americans are against closing Guantanamo Bay to terror suspects because they do not want "these crazy bastards that want to kill us all" brought to the United States.
"Simply stated," the South Carolina Republican said during a Senate debate about the prison, "the American people don't want to close Guantanamo Bay, which is an isolated, military-controlled facility, to bring these crazy bastards that want to kill us all to the United States. Most Americans believe that the people at Guantanamo Bay are not some kind of burglar or bank robber; they are bent on our destruction."
Lawmakers54-41 in favor of an amendment to the defense authorization bill that would prevent the transfer of detainees held at the Cuba facility to United States prisons. But President Obama, objecting to a provision limiting his authority to move terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries, has threatened to veto the legislation. Currently, the facility is holding 166 terror suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, attacks.
"Some of my colleagues in this body have forgotten what 9/11 is all about," Graham said. "The people who attacked us on 9/11, in that prison, want to destroy our way of life. They don't want to steal your car. They don't want to break in your house. And we've got a military prison being well run, so I think the American people are telling everybody in this body, 'Have you lost your mind? We're at war. Act like you're at war.'"
But another Republican senator - Rand Paul of Kentucky, the son of libertarian hero Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas - challenged Graham's assessment, based on the current law's denial of suspected terrorists' right to trial.
"I will tell you, since I know this record of this debate will be widely read, that I want to make formal objection to the 'crazy bastards standard,'" Paul said during his time on the floor. "I don't really think that if we're going to have a 'crazy bastards' standard that we shouldn't have a right to trial by jury, because if we're going to lock up all the crazy bastards, for goodness sakes, would you not want, if you're a crazy bastard, to have a right to trial by jury?"