Bush defends interrogation program in Michigan speech
updated 2:22 a.m. EDT, Fri May 29, 2009
By Peter Hamby
BENTON HARBOR, Michigan (CNN)-- Former President George W. Bush on Thursday repeated Dick Cheney's assertion that the administration's enhanced interrogation program, which included controversial techniques such as waterboarding, was legal and garnered valuable information that prevented terrorist attacks.
Former President George W. Bush defended his administration in speech Thursday in Michigan.
Bush told a southwestern Michigan audience of nearly 2,500 -- the largest he has addressed in the United States since leaving the White House in January -- that, after the September 11 attacks, "I vowed to take whatever steps that were necessary to protect you."
In his speech, Bush did not specifically refer to the high-profile debate over President Obama's decision to halt the use of harsh interrogation techniques. Bush also didn't mention Cheney, his former vice president, by name.
Instead, he described how he proceeded after the capture of terrorism suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in March 2003.
"The first thing you do is ask what's legal?" Bush said. "What do the lawyers say is possible? I made the decision, within the law, to get information so I can say to myself, 'I've done what it takes to do my duty to protect the American people.' I can tell you that the information we got saved lives."
Bush avoided the sharp tone favored by Cheney in recent weeks and stressed he does not want to disparage Obama.
"Nothing I am saying is meant to criticize my successor," Bush said. "There are plenty of people who have weighed in. Trust me, having seen it first-hand. I didn't like it when a former president criticized me, so therefore I am not going to criticize my successor. I wish him all the best."
The former president was speaking to the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan. In a change in format, he agreed to answer questions directly from the audience instead of responding to pre-submitted questions provided to a moderator....
Go read the rest here. It IS a must read, even for the detractors..
To me, it is a refreshing change from the current 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue resident, who is spending most of his time disparaging, criticising, his predecessor. I also believe that history WILL vindicate President Bush, no matter how many times BO blames President Bush for all that is wrong with America.
President Bush kept his promise. He DID protect America while he was in office. THAT is indisputable.