Several prominent Republican senators are decrying President Obama's decision to hand over to the Iraqi government a Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist believed to be responsible for the deaths of at least five U.S. servicemen in Iraq.
After a series of negotiations between the Obama administration and Iraq officials, U.S. authorities handed Al Musa Daqduq over to the Iraqi government Friday morning.
George W. Bush signed off on a Status of Forces Agreement between Iraq and the U.S. in 2008 that called for all prisoners to be turned over to Iraqi authority by the end of 2011.
Still, Sens. John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham on Friday called the transfer of Daqduq "disgraceful," and argued that he should have been tried by a U.S. military tribunal under the laws of war.
The transfer is particularly egregious coming on the heels of the president's decision to withdraw all U.S. armed forces from Iraq, the senators said in a joint statement, expressing concern that he could be released from Iraqi custody and return to the fight against the U.S. and its allies.
"... This failure to keep a committed murderer of Americans in U.S. custody sends exactly the wrong message to our allies and enemies in the region," they said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said administration officials decided to transfer Daqduq to the Iraqis because they felt that it was the fastest possible way to bring him to justice.
"We take this case extremely seriously and for that reason have sought and received assurances that he will be tried for his crimes," Mr. Carney said. "We have worked this at the highest levels of the U.S. and Iraqi governments, and we continue to discuss with the Iraqis the best way to ensure that he faces justice."
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