Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Bringing LIBERTY to Capitol Hill -- 2008
Saturday Morning, March 8, 2008, 10:30am

A Discussion of The President's Saturday Morning Radio Address

Click here to listen to a replay of the March 8, 2008 Ozarks Virtual Town Hall

Notes and Summary of the President's Address -- "Government Torture"

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week, I addressed the Department of Homeland Security on its fifth anniversary and thanked the men and women who work tirelessly to keep us safe. Because of their hard work, and the efforts of many across all levels of government, we have not suffered another attack on our soil since September the 11th, 2001.

How the President Differs from the American vision of "Liberty Under God":

  1. All human beings -- not just American citizens -- have been endowed with unalienable rights from our Creator.
  2. WWJT -- "Who Would Jesus Torture?" Bush claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Is he following Jesus Christ when he authorizes torture?
  3. What is the cause of "terrorism?" Why is it most of the world admired America 100 years ago; why do those same people despise America today? How do terrorist recruiters recruit new terrorists? What do they say about America to encourage a potential recruit to attack Americans? Are these things true? Does the U.S. government really invade and occupy nations, building military bases on other people's property? Does the U.S. really kill hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children?
  4. America's Original Foreign Policy
    The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible."
    — Washington, Farewell Address (1796) [Washington’s emphasis]

    I deem [one of] the essential principles of our government, and consequently [one] which ought to shape its administration,…peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.
    — Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801) 
  5. America was originally a "city upon a hill" -- Christian values and charity (economic productivity) were sent around the world. Trade created relationships. America built rather than destroyed. America was loved and admired.
  6. The Federal Government stopped heeding this wisdom 100 years ago. The 20th century has been a century of totalitarian foreign intervention. America sends bombs, not assistance and technology. America is feared and despised.
    1. Iran, 1953 -- U.S. installs dictator who is worse than the tyrant complained of in the Declaration of Independence
    2. U.S. intervenes in Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, funds Islamic terrorists to irritate Soviets.
    3. Iran-Iraq, 1980's -- U.S. supports Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran
    4. U.S. has military bases around the world
    5. Kuwait -- U.S. supports Arab sheik and his wives, ignoring the rights of Kuwaiti workers.
    6. U.S. Sanctions and Bombing against Iraq kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
  7. Washington's foreign bullying causes resentment, and increases terrorist recruiting.
  8. We would be safer and would have no "need" for torture if Washington D.C. would follow the Constitution and America's Founding Fathers.

President Bush's
Saturday Morning Radio Address

Another Perspective:
"Liberty Under God"

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. This week, I addressed the Department of Homeland Security on its fifth anniversary and thanked the men and women who work tirelessly to keep us safe. Because of their hard work, and the efforts of many across all levels of government, we have not suffered another attack on our soil since September the 11th, 2001. We didn't have any terrorist attacks on American soil during the five years before the formation of the Department of Homeland Security, either. However, we have forgotten that terrorism was hemorrhaging around the world back in 1981, "when Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State Alexander Haig proclaimed that fighting terrorism would be one of the Reagan administration's highest priorities" as James Bovard documents.
This is not for a lack of effort on the part of the enemy. Al Qaida remains determined to attack America again. Two years ago, Osama bin Laden warned the American people, "Operations are under preparation, and you will see them on your own ground once they are finished." Because the danger remains, we need to ensure our intelligence officials have all the tools they need to stop the terrorists. Here is this morning's central question:

Is torturing terrorists the best way to prevent terrorism?

Or is there a better strategy?

Unfortunately, Congress recently sent me an intelligence authorization bill that would diminish these vital tools. So today, I vetoed it. And here is why:  
The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror -- the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives. This program has produced critical intelligence that has helped us prevent a number of attacks. The program helped us stop a plot to strike a U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti, a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi, a plot to hijack a passenger plane and fly it into Library Tower in Los Angeles, and a plot to crash passenger planes into Heathrow Airport or buildings in downtown London. And it has helped us understand al Qaida's structure and financing and communications and logistics. Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaida and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland. Is it really true that the Democrats have taken away the ability of the CIA to detain and question any and all terrorist leaders and operatives? Or are the Democrats merely saying that once detained, they should not be tortured ? Is the President being accurate and honest? Is the entire program of detaining and questioning terrorists being abolished, or just the torture?

Can the President prove that the techniques of torture which the Democrats oppose were actually responsible for this information? Or was the information obtained through legal components of the program? Senator Jay Rockefeller, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said "I have heard nothing to suggest that information obtained from enhanced interrogation techniques has prevented an imminent terrorist attack."

How viable were these threats? See here for an example of a pathetic and incompetent "terrorist threat" which the government cites as an example of how it's making America "safe."

The main reason this program has been effective is that it allows the CIA to use specialized interrogation procedures to question a small number of the most dangerous terrorists under careful supervision. The bill Congress sent me would deprive the CIA of the authority to use these safe and lawful techniques. Instead, it would restrict the CIA's range of acceptable interrogation methods to those provided in the Army Field Manual. The procedures in this manual were designed for use by soldiers questioning lawful combatants captured on the battlefield. They were not intended for intelligence professionals trained to question hardened terrorists. "Among the techniques the field manual prohibits are:
   • hooding prisoners or putting duct tape across their eyes.
   • stripping prisoners naked.
   • forcing prisoners to perform or mimic sexual acts.
   • beating, burning or physically hurting them in other ways.
   • subjecting prisoners to hypothermia or mock executions.
     "It does not allow food, water and medical treatment to be withheld. Dogs may not be used in any aspect of interrogation.
     "But waterboarding is the most high-profile and contentious method in question.
     "It involves strapping a person down and pouring water over his cloth-covered face to create the sensation of drowning. It has been traced back hundreds of years to the Spanish Inquisition and is condemned by nations around the world and human rights organizations as torture.
     "The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 includes a provision barring cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment for all detainees, including CIA prisoners, in U.S. custody. Many people believe that covers waterboarding.
     "There are concerns that the use of waterboarding would undermine the U.S. human rights efforts overseas and could place Americans at greater risk of being tortured when captured.
     "The Army field manual in 2006 banned using methods such as waterboarding or sensory deprivation on uncooperative prisoners." (AP)
Limiting the CIA's interrogation methods to those in the Army Field Manual would be dangerous because the manual is publicly available and easily accessible on the Internet. Shortly after 9/11, we learned that key al Qaida operatives had been trained to resist the methods outlined in the manual. And this is why we created alternative procedures to question the most dangerous al Qaida operatives, particularly those who might have knowledge of attacks planned on our homeland. The best source of information about terrorist attacks is the terrorists themselves. If we were to shut down this program and restrict the CIA to methods in the Field Manual, we could lose vital information from senior al Qaida terrorists, and that could cost American lives. "Information" coming from men who are being drowned to death is coming from desperation, and is seldom reliable. Military Prosecutors with integrity, such as Air Force Col. Morris Davis, won't even use waterboarding testimony in court.

Ahmed Errachidi, who confessed to being a top al-Qaeda commander, was a fry cook diagnosed as mentally ill years before being sent to Gitmo. Like a large majority of Gitmo prisoners, he was captured by Afghan and Pakistani bounty hunters, who were as indiscriminate as they were greedy.

The bill Congress sent me would not simply ban one particular interrogation method, as some have implied. Instead, it would eliminate all the alternative procedures we've developed to question the world's most dangerous and violent terrorists. This would end an effective program that Congress authorized just over a year ago.  
The fact that we have not been attacked over the past six-and-a-half years is not a matter of chance. It is the result of good policies and the determined efforts of individuals carrying them out. We owe these individuals our thanks, and we owe them the authorities they need to do their jobs effectively. The President says "We have not been attacked" in the last six years. He means "on American soil." More Americans have died from terrorist attacks in the last six years than died on 9-11. And the United States has killed at least 5 times more people. 
We have no higher responsibility than stopping terrorist attacks. And this is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe. "While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.
George Washington, General Orders of May 2, 1778
 Thank you for listening.  

Additional Resources:

White House Denials:

    PDF Link 2008 National Drug Control Policy (PDF, 6.73MB, 79 pages)

Kevin Craig's Platform:

Libertarian Resources

Communicating with Government and Media

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John Adams once wrote that the American Revolution began in 1761, when Massachusetts attorney James Otis began legal challenges to the Writs of Assistance. He lost the case, but "American independence," Adams wrote, "was then and there born." Now do the math. That means it took 15 years to convince the rest of America to declare Independence (1776). Then another seven years of war was required before a Peace Treaty was signed (1783), and then six years before the Constitution was finally ratified (1789). That's almost 30 years. (And Jefferson said we shouldn't go 20 years without another rebellion!) How can we hope to convince Americans to fight for principles they were never taught in government schools? We need to be in this battle for the long term. "Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty."

The Democrat Party Radio Address:

This week, Roger Martinez, U.S. Army veteran, delivered the Democratic Radio Address, criticizing Republican candidate John McCain, saying Osama bin Laden is a greater priority than Iraq's civil war, and that McCain doesn't have a solution for the mortgage crisis and heathcare.

Click here for a replay of this edition of the Ozarks Virtual Town Hall