Speaking In Cairo, Obama Tells Muslim World That America Sometimes Acted Contrary to ‘Our Traditions and Our Ideals’ after 9/11

June 4, 2009 - 12:27 PM
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President Obama tours the Sultan Hassan Mosque with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, June 4, 2009. Obama arrived in Egypt on Thursday before delivering a much heralded speech to an audience at Cairo University. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(CNSNews.com) - Speaking in Cairo, Egypt, today, President Barack Obama told the Muslim world that in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks the United States sometimes acted “contrary to our traditions and our ideals.” He then specifically alluded to what he called “torture” and the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
 
“And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles,” Obama told the crowd in Cairo. 

“Nine-eleven was an enormous trauma to our country," he said. "The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals.  We are taking concrete actions to change course.  I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.”

Obama has called the enhanced interrogation techniques that the CIA used on certain high level al Qaeda detainees "torture," although the techniques were taken from Survival Evasion Rescue and Escape (SERE) training that has long been given to some U.S. military personnel.