Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on Sunday blasted President Barack Obama for taking a “moral tone” in shaping U.S. counterterrorism policy.
In the first major speech of his second term on Thursday, the president highlighted the need to restrict the use of unnamed drones, close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and eventually end the war on terror.
During an ABC News panel discussion on Sunday, King said he was offended that Obama would change U.S. policy for “moral reasons.”
“That’s what bothered me about the president’s speech, this moral anguish that he was going through,” he explained. “Listen, every soldier, every cop who is faced with a decision to make, life or death, does the best he or she can and I think our country has done more than any country in the history of the world to limit civilian casualties so that just offended me, that whole tone of it.”
King added that “this policy basically has worked,” but there may be ways to “put more emphasis on clandestine activity of actually gathering intelligence rather than relying so much on drones.”
“But for me, I don’t think the president really addressed that in the speech. I think he was coming at it from a more from this moral tone which I just think was misplaced. I don’t think it’s called for.”
Again on Obama’s assertion that Guantanamo should be closed because “that’s not who we are,” King said he was “offended by the moralizing.”
“The fact is whether people agree or disagree over Guantanamo, many experts agree it did work,” the New York Republican opined. “It’s something that had to be done at the time. And the president’s had five years to end this. If he really wanted to, he could have moved most of those prisoners certainly out of the country, he could have sent the back to other countries. He’s the one that suspended the detainees going to Yemen.”
“I’ve been to Guantanamo, it’s a model prison. Is it ideal? No. But we live in a very un-ideal world. And for him to be saying, what will people think about use 10 to 20 years from now, I would say maybe they felt that we prevented an attack on the homeland for the last 11 and a half to 12 years.”
Watch this video from ABC’s This Week, broadcast May 26, 2013.