NewsOK: Criticism from U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe echoed by Republicans

Jun 05, 2009
In The News

WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe criticized President Barack Obama’s speech Thursday in Cairo, saying it was "un-American” for him to give an address on foreign soil that referred to the war in Iraq as "a war of choice” and that didn’t criticize Iran for pursuing a nuclear program.

Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said the president also suggested in his speech that torture was conducted at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"There has never been a documented case of torture at Guantanamo,” said Inhofe, who has been harshly critical of Obama’s intent to close the prison.

"I just don’t know whose side he’s on.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, didn’t call Obama un-American, but he echoed Inhofe’s theme, saying Obama "was wrong to implicitly and explicitly criticize our military and intelligence efforts while on foreign soil.”

"It was wrong of him to imply that torture was a policy of the United States,” Cole said. "It was a mistake to trumpet his misguided decision to shut down Guantanamo Bay. Finally, he ought to recognize that the democracy that is taking shape in Iraq would have been impossible without the removal of Saddam Hussein and without the force of American arms.”

Cole said parts of Obama’s speech "will be very helpful in fostering mutual understanding,” but that the president should have built on former President George W. Bush’s "freedom agenda, as opposed to glossing over the defects of authoritarian regimes.”

Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, said Obama "needs to take a stronger stance against regimes, which threaten international peace, sponsor terrorism, brutalize their own citizens and threaten the existence of other nations with the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.”

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, said, "When the United States promotes peace around the world, it ensures our own security — militarily, culturally and economically.

"We should not, however, support any actions or offer any aid to those countries, which directly or indirectly support groups that promote the destruction of our way of life. The president has offered the Muslim world an open hand, but we must keep in mind that there are those few who would use his offer against him.”

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