Ron Paul Makes Case for Closing Gitmo

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," May 20, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, GUEST HOST: I thought I was in his chair. There he is. We'll find him before the show is over.

The Senate voted to block the millions of dollars needed to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, today. The House of Representatives voted down a similar measure last week. Lawmakers say the president hasn't presented a solid plan for what to do with the prisoners.

Congressman Ron Paul, Republican of Texas joins us me now.

Congressman Paul, welcome to the show.

Should Guantanamo Bay be closed as a prison camp for detainees?



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PAUL: Sure, it should be closed because we don't need it. It was unnecessary, the way these prisoners were captured were very questionable. They haven't had really due process. So, the real thugs that need to be tried, they ought to be tried.

But they've deleted the funding mainly because the Republicans have really won the argument because they turned this into -- you know, if you don't support the continuation of these military tribunals and you don't support Guantanamo, maybe you support sending these people into your district and they'll be your neighbors. And the Democrats were convinced of that. They won the PR fight, and so therefore, they all became squeamish and even the president backed down.

So, that's why there's no funding for closing Guantanamo, and I guess it will be open for an indefinite future.

NAPOLITANO: And now, I visited Guantanamo about three years ago. As a physical plant, it is extraordinary. And it's better than many prisons -- there I am in one of the jail cells -- it's better than many of the prisons in the United States of America.

But the issue is not the physical plant. The issue is not the three square meals a day. The issue is why are these people there, and how can we keep them without proving that they've done something wrong in some legitimate recognized court of law?

PAUL: I think that's the key to it. And so far, they don't have an answer, because they're not allowing them to be tried in a legitimate court of law.

I think a good example was set with the individuals that were involved with the bombing of the towers in 1993. I mean, we even went into Pakistan, arrested them, brought them over here, tried them in our court system, and they're not our neighbors. They are in a federal prison and nobody feels threatened by them. So, I'm not so sure why they are so determined not to pursue the law.

Anyway, it's been politicized enough and it looks like the politicians are going to win this argument and the rule of law will not win.

NAPOLITANO: Should the government be regulating credit card companies and tell them what kind of interest they can charge and when they can penalize people or should the free market do this?

PAUL: Well, you know, there is a provision in the Constitution that allows us to be involved in some of this activity, and that that is to protect contracts. So, what we're doing here is violating that mandate by the Constitution to protect contracts, we're violating contracts. So, no, I think they shouldn't be doing it at all. I voted against that bill.

And I talked to one Democrat on the House floor. He says, "Why do you fought -- why are you are against this bill?" And I said, "Well, I think the states or the people ought to determine that." He says, "Yes, but the people aren't -- the individuals aren't smart enough." I said, "Oh, you make the assumption that everybody is dumb" and he more or less acknowledged that: They're not smart enough to take care of their own business.

And, you know, we've encouraged people to borrow. We've created this credit. They went way overboard on this. It's a -- it's a real mess.

NAPOLITANO: What is it -- what is it about people...

PAUL: We should not be regulating interest.

NAPOLITANO: What is it about people in government that they think that they can make decisions for us, because they know more than we do about what we need and what we want and they can take our freedom of choice away from us? The Congress does this every day. You are one of the few people who consistently argues against it and dissents.

PAUL: You know, and this is so key, because once they believe that, they have to make the assumption that the people are idiots and they're going to take care of us. But great harm is done by that. But how do they know what we want to do? How do they know how we want to spend our money and our lives and our entertainment?

So, it really is a total rejection of the principle of liberty to assume a bureaucrat or a politician knows what's best for us. And it's left and right, some want personal liberties and some want economic liberties, but they are always telling us what is best for us. And it just undermines the Constitution, because the Constitution doesn't give them that authority to do so.

NAPOLITANO: Congressman Paul, thanks very much.

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