Obama: Guantanamo 'needs to be closed' - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Obama: Guantanamo 'needs to be closed'

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GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA (NBC) -- President Barack Obama – again – vowed Tuesday to follow through with a 2008 campaign pledge to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Amid a hunger strike being waged by terror suspects at the prison to protest their detainment and living conditions, Obama reiterated his belief that the prison should be shuttered.

"I continue to believe that we've got to close Guantanamo," Obama said at the White House. "I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us, in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counter-terrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed."

The president's sentiment is familiar to anyone who's followed his statements on foreign policy for the last eight years. He campaigned for the Democratic nomination in part on closing the prison. He signed an order seeking to close the facility shortly after being inaugurated for his first term in office. Obama also repeatedly voiced support for closing the prison during his time in office. He has also supported trying most terror suspects in U.S. civilian court.

The issue reared itself again less than two months ago, when the government brought the son of Osama bin Laden to New York City to stand trial on terror charges.

But, as the president noted Tuesday, lawmakers – mostly Republicans – have worked to block any effort to close Guantanamo. And the president said Tuesday he would redouble his efforts to achieve this goal.

"I'm going to, as I said before, examine every option that we have administratively to try to deal with this issue, but ultimately we're also going to need some help from Congress," he said.

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