This is Matt Lauer cornering Bush on terror. It's disgusting. He can't make any articulate defence of his position, other than "We're doing what's in the law." Um, Mr. President: you're not. The Supreme Court has said you're not. The entire civilized world says you're not. John "Torture" Yoo is the "lawyer" who said that what you're doing is okay. No one else believes him.
And how specious is Bush's claim that he can't discuss techniques because the "enemy" will change their tactics. Okay, because terrorists will behave differently if they know interrogation will consist of pulling their fingernails rather than waterboarding them. He can't even defend the waterboarding!
And finally, I'm really over Bush falling back on "we're doing it to protect you and your family" (ahem, the family I'm not allowed to have, btw). As Daliah Lithwick pointed out in Slate,
I am willing to be persuaded, five years later, that provisions of the Patriot Act really do make us safer. But I am not persuaded by assertion alone. How can I balance the security benefits of so-called national-security letters, or the subpoena of my library records, if the government refuses to disclose how that information is used and why? If I am only weighing the curtailment of my civil liberties against the government's bare assertions that such curtailment makes me safer, then there is no real balancing to be done. And if that information is unknowable, am I not just balancing my own subjective sense of freedom against the president's promise that I am safer?
Exactly. Whenever George II is questioned, he falls back to "I'm trying to protect you." The ancient refrain of totalitarian regimes everywhere. You can't have free speech because we're protecting you. We must arrest people to protect you. We must torture people to protect you.
I would expect that from Stalin. Not from the American president.