September 7, 2006


Bush admits to anti-terror CIA program (Stephen Dinan, 9/07/06, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Mr. Bush also sent Congress a bill laying out rules for military trials for terror suspects, in response to a Supreme Court ruling in June that said tribunals for detainees must be approved by legislators.

Speaking at the White House to an audience that included families that lost relatives in the September 11 attacks, he said that soon after the attacks he authorized the CIA to imprison and question the top suspects captured in the war on terror.

He said the interrogations have helped thwart an al Qaeda effort to make anthrax and a plot to fly airplanes into buildings, among other attacks.

Mr. Bush said that the CIA recently transferred September 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and 13 top terror suspects to the Defense Department for military trials, and that the only hurdle left was congressional action.

"We're now approaching the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and the families of those murdered that day have waited patiently for justice," Mr. Bush said.

"As soon as Congress acts to authorize the military commissions I have proposed, the men our intelligence officials believe orchestrated the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on September the 11th, 2001, can face justice."

There are topics the Democrats want to spends the Fall talking about, eh?

President Shifts Argument, Catches Critics Off Guard (Michael Abramowitz and Charles Babington, 9/07/06, Washington Post)

By challenging Congress to immediately give the administration authority to try notorious al-Qaeda figures such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed by military commissions, he shifted the argument with Democratic critics of national security policies and competence. As Bush framed the choice, anyone against his proposal would be denying him necessary tools to protect American security.

His success in catching much of Washington by surprise showed that a president who polls show has his political back to the wall still has formidable tools: the ability to make well-timed course corrections on policy, dominate the news and shape the capital's agenda in the weeks before Election Day.

A Challenge From Bush to Congress (DAVID E. SANGER, 9/07/06, NY Times)
In calling for public war-crime trials at Guantánamo Bay, President Bush is calculating that with a critical election just nine weeks away, neither angry Democrats nor nervous Republicans will dare deny him the power to detain, interrogate and try suspects his way.

For years now, Guantánamo has been a political liability, regarded primarily as a way station for outcasts. By transforming Guantánamo instead into the new home of 14 Qaeda leaders who rank among the most notorious terror suspects, Mr. Bush is challenging Congress to restore to him the authority to put the United States’ worst enemies on trial on terms he has defined.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 7, 2006 7:18 AM

Apparently, nobody in the Democratic Party stops to think about what could happen if their criticisms of Bush cause him to reverse course and put the ball back in their court.

You know, like "OK, so if he doubles back and forces our hand, where do we go from there?"

... crickets chirping...

Even my teenaged son isn't that dumb. Too often.

Posted by: Jeff Brokaw at September 7, 2006 10:49 AM

The immediate spin seemed to be to try and make it look like Bush confessed to some sort of illegal CIA incarceration program. The problem with taking that beyond the first day or so of mere talking point sound bites or blurbs is when you have the alleged 9/11 conspirators as the people being held by the CIA, if you really want to belabor the issue, you end up about as far out there defending these people as Ramsey Clark or Lynn Stewart.

Surely, most of the Democratic Party leadership isn't that stupid (though I'm sure there will be some great moments of passionate cluelessness in the next couple of days from some of those furthest to the left who have safe congressional seats and their supporters, who will try to conjure up some opposition to the new Gitmo detainees).

Posted by: John at September 7, 2006 11:05 AM

Surely, most of the Democratic Party leadership isn't that stupid

Don't be so sure. George Soros and the netroots Angry Left are writing the checks these days, and they are that stupid.

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 7, 2006 1:44 PM

"In calling for the elimination of Saddam's WMD, President Bush is calculating that with a critical election just nine weeks away, neither angry Democrats nor nervous Republicans will dare deny him the power to invade Iraq to depose Saddam." Anyone who's caught in surprise by Bush's move has been sleeping.

Posted by: ic at September 7, 2006 4:35 PM

Yes, they are that stupid.

In my entire lifetime, I have NEVER seen a leftist look more that one step ahead on any policy or program they proposed.

Posted by: ray at September 8, 2006 8:06 PM