Obama Uses Senate Report As A Decisive Blow To The Republican Torture Agenda

Read: Samuel Alito Is The Insurrectionist Threat To Democracy On The Supreme Court

Upon the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s torture program, President Obama praised the work of those who keep us safe, but reminded us that we are safer when we adhere to our values. The President said he hoped the report would do much more than cause us to fight old fights, “I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past.”

Before leaving anything in the past, President Obama put the kill shot in the Republican torture agenda. The President said in a statement:

Today’s report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence details one element of our nation’s response to 9/11—the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which I formally ended on one of my first days in office. The report documents a troubling program involving enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects in secret facilities outside the United States, and it reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests. Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners. That is why I will continue to use my authority as President to make sure we never resort to those methods again.

As Commander in Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the safety and security of the American people. We will therefore continue to be relentless in our fight against al Qaeda, its affiliates and other violent extremists. We will rely on all elements of our national power, including the power and example of our founding ideals. That is why I have consistently supported the declassification of today’s report. No nation is perfect. But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better. Rather than another reason to refight old arguments, I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past. Today is also a reminder that upholding the values we profess doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us stronger and that the United States of America will remain the greatest force for freedom and human dignity that the world has ever known.

The President sees a cautionary tale for the future in this report, but there is also the death of Jeb Bush’s political ambitions within this report. It is definitely too soon to open that wound.

America needs leadership that does not use fear as a weapon by which to gain and maintain control over the people. After 9/11, we could have been brought together as a nation, had we been led by someone with great vision like Abe Lincoln or JFK. Instead we were treated to divisive fear tactics, terror alert levels at the airports and shunning of anyone who dared to speak their mind (literally). Those were not American values.

The President is right to uphold our values and honor those who served honorably, which is the majority of those who serve. This is true leadership. But it falls to the people to say enough, to remember this come election time, to never forget that there is no excuse for torture.

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