Michele Bachmann unswayed by Obama’s latest comments on terrorism

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Michele Bachmann is the first Minnesota lawmaker out of the gate this afternoon with a reaction to President Obama’s afternoon address on terrorism and, well, let’s just say she didn’t change her mind. 

“For the sake of U.S. national security, President Obama must immediately make a fundamental change to his policy in dealing with terrorism,” Bachmann said. “It’s simply not enough to apologize for the government’s lapse in national security. Instead, the President must stop treating terrorists as criminals as opposed to the enemy combatants they are.”

Failing to do so, she said, “will continue to put the men and women of this country at risk.”

Bachmann has long been a critic of detaining accused terrorists on U.S. soil and of trying them in federal courts. She opposed the decision to try accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City, and disagrees with the president’s plans to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and transfer the remaining inmates to a prison in Illinois.

Her full statement is below: 

“For the sake of U.S. national security, President Obama must immediately make a fundamental change to his policy in dealing with terrorism. It’s simply not enough to apologize for the government’s lapse in national security. Instead, the President must stop treating terrorists as criminals as opposed to the enemy combatants they are.

“How can we honestly believe the President when he says he will not rest until he finds out all who were involved in the attempted Christmas day bombing when we’ve already given Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent? We should be using all legal means necessary to push this terrorist to release all his information, not allow him to lawyer up. He should not be afforded the rights of American citizens like you and me. He is a terrorist, and he should be treated like one. Abdulmutallab’s actions were an act of war and not akin to breaking an entering. Thus, they must be treated as such.

“Therefore, I’m calling on President Obama to immediately change his approach to this ongoing struggle against terror, and never again allow terrorists Miranda Rights. Our law enforcement should be allowed immediate access to any and all combatants for interrogation in the interest of national security. Anything less and the President will continue to put the men and women of this country at risk. There’s too much at stake.”

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 01/07/2010 - 07:13 pm.

    If it’s war, do we apply the Geneva Convention, Michelle, or do we simply shoot them on sight because they’re not wearing uniforms? Seriously, what is it she proposes we do with those we catch, before, during or after the act?

  2. Submitted by Thomas Edman on 01/07/2010 - 07:27 pm.

    She wants to suspend Miranda rights a priori! What rule of law does she subscribe to?

  3. Submitted by Roger Bidwell on 01/07/2010 - 10:03 pm.

    Discussion board, not anger board. Why is everyone always so angry on these discussion boards?

    OK, do we think terrorist should be afforded the same rights as American citizens? If your answer is yes, then the discussion is over. Obviously Ms. Bachmann does not believe terrorist should have the same rights (and most Americans believe this) and so the question becomes, how should they be treated? Ms. Bachmann, in my opinion, is calling on the President to solve that puzzle. Could she provide an answer? Probably. However, it would seem that it is the President’s responsibility to come up with an alternative since it is his responsibly . . . especially given the fact that he is moving to close Gitmo . . . where these matters use to be handled. Slowly, yes, but handled. Maybe I’m wrong but I think it is our Representative’s responsibility to call upon the President to address matters that are important to us. I know I’m never going to be heard by the President. However, my representative, whom I elected (R or D) needs to fill that role. And honestly, I think Ms. Bachmann does a pretty good job. So, don’t be angry. Respond, fine. Disagree, great. Agree, even better.

  4. Submitted by John Roach on 01/08/2010 - 08:36 am.

    So, in Bachmann’s mind it would be much better for our global effort to eradicate this scourge if we treated these people like “soldiers” and “warriors” instead of like criminals.

    Military detention, military tribunals, calling them “enemy combatants”, constant references to the “War” on terror; all of these things glorify and romanticize what is essentially a criminal network. They are very successfully being used as recruiting tools for new al Qaeda “soldiers” and “martyrs”.

    The way to solve this problem is to make it clear to the Islamic world that these people are criminals-not “holy warriors”; this seems lost on Michele.

  5. Submitted by James Warden on 01/08/2010 - 11:01 am.

    RAND Corp., hardly a liberal bastion, did an interesting quantitative examination of 648 terrorist groups active between 1968 and 2006. The report – although extremely nuanced – lends support to combating terrorism as a police action rather than a military action.

    To quote the report:
    “Of the 648 groups that were active at some point between 1968 and 2006, a total of 268 ended during that period. Another 136 groups splintered, and 244 remained active. As depicted in the figure, the authors found that most ended for one of two reasons: They were penetrated and eliminated by local police and intelligence agencies (40 percent), or they reached a peaceful political accommodation with their government (43 percent). Most terrorist groups that ended because of politics sought narrow policy goals. The narrower the goals, the more likely the group was to achieve them through political accommodation — and thus the more likely the government and terrorists were to reach a negotiated settlement.

    In 10 percent of cases, terrorist groups ended because they achieved victory. Military force led to the end of terrorist groups in 7 percent of cases. The authors found that militaries tended to be most effective when used against terrorist groups engaged in insurgencies in which the groups were large, well armed, and well organized. But against most terrorist groups, military force was usually too blunt an instrument.

    Furthermore, post-Surge Iraq was very much focused on police-like activities instead of military operations. After Jan. 1, 2009, they had to get warrants through the Iraqi justice system, with which they were largely unfamiliar until that point.

    My point is that following the rules combats terrorism in the long term even if it makes life more difficult and dangerous in the short term. This isn’t a touchy-feely concept. It’s one supported by quantitative analysis like the above Rand Corp. report and pursued by our own military.

    The full report is well worth reading, although I’m afraid many of our government leaders are woefully under-read on counterterrorism/counterinsurgency literature:


  6. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/08/2010 - 08:18 pm.

    According to the Constitution, we are at war when Congress declares war.
    I’m waiting for the strict constructionist conservatives to address this.
    So far all I see is loose destructionists.

  7. Submitted by Michael Zalar on 01/12/2010 - 02:52 pm.

    Hmmm… anyone considered a terrorist should have thier rights stripped away, and dealt with as enemy combatants.
    Does that include some of the ‘tea party’ members whose verbiage (at least) gets pretty vitrolic at times? Should the be considered harbingers of a potential attack on the president?
    Maybe some of the people who were carrying guns to town hall meetings on the health care bill might be considered terroristic in nature.
    Certainly the man who shot the abortion doctor must be considered a terrorist and immediately rushed off to Guantanimo for an extended stay.
    Are these the people you are talking of Michelle?

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