- Right now, there’s considerable debate in this city about the measures our administration took to defend the American people. Today I want to set forth the strategic thinking behind our policies. I do so as one who was there every day of the Bush administration, who supported the policies when they were made and without hesitation would do so again in the same circumstances.
- We did not invent that authority. It’s drawn from Article Two of the Constitution, and it was given specificity by Congress after 9/11 in a joint resolution authorizing all necessary and appropriate force to protect the American people.
- I would advise the administration to think very carefully about the course ahead. All the zeal that has been directed at the interrogations is utterly misplaced, and staying on that path will only lead our government further away from its duty to protect the American people.
- Those are the basic facts on enhanced interrogation. And to call this a program of torture is to libel the dedicated professionals who have saved American lives and to cast terrorists and murderers as innocent victims. What’s more, to completely rule out enhanced interrogation in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness and would make the American people less safe.
- Triangulation is a political strategy, not a national security strategy. When just a single clue that goes unlearned or one lead that goes unpursued can bring on catastrophe, it’s no time for splitting differences. There is never a good time to compromise when the lives and safety of the American people hang in the balance.
- Behind the overwrought reaction to enhanced interrogations is a broader misconception about the threats that still face our country. You can sense the problem in the emergence of euphemisms that strive to put an imaginary distance between the American people and our terrorist enemy.
- Critics of our policies are given to lecturing on the theme of being consistent with American values, but no moral value held dear by the American people obliges public servants to sacrifice innocent lives to spare a captured terrorist from unpleasant things. And when an entire population is targeted by a terror network, nothing is more consistent with American values than to stop them.
- As far as the interrogations are concerned, all that remains all that remains an official secret is the information that we gained as a result. Some of his defenders say the unseen memos are inconclusive, which only raises the question why they won’t let the American people decide that for themselves.
- I saw that information as vice president, and I reviewed some of it again recently at the National Archives. I’ve formally asked that it be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained, the things we learned, and the consequences for our national security.