Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) brought a lot of anger to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday morning, providing a classic Capitol Hill moment.
"Islamic terrorists don't need an excuse to attack the United States," Cotton said.
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"They attack us for who we are. It is not a security decision–it is a political decision based on promise the president made on his campaign. To say that is a security decision based on propaganda value is a pretext, a justified political decision.".
Cotton interrogated Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon about Guantanamo Bay policy.
Cotton compared the argument that the prison served as a recruiting tool for terrorists to recidivism rates. The senator’s first point was that there were zero recidivists currently in Guantanamo Bay because they remained incarcerated, a dig at Obama’s Taliban Five trade.
Cotton asked McKeon how many terrorists were in Gitmo during all the terrorist attacks previous to Sept. 11, 2001. Forcing McKeon to answer the rhetorical questions, Cotton made his point clear: Terrorists do not need the prison to persuade extremists to carry out attacks.
"In my opinion, the only problem of Guantanamo Bay is there are too many empty beds and cells there right now," Cotton said. "We should be sending more terrorists there for interrogation to keep this country safe. As far as I'm concerned, every last one of them can rot in hell, but since they don't do that, they can rot in Guantanamo Bay."