President Bush's fusillade of speeches over the past number of days have reminded us of the man we saw in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. After months of inanition, he seems to have received a shot of adrenaline.
In a speech on Sept. 6, the president came out swinging at those who have misrepresented the Guantanamo Bay detainees. "These aren't common criminals," the president declared, "or bystanders accidentally swept up on the battlefield. . . . Those held . . . include suspected bomb makers, terrorist trainers . . . and potential suicide bombers. One detainee held at Guantanamo told a questioner questioning him -- he said this: 'I'll never forget your face. I will kill you, your brothers, your mother and sisters.'"
Directly contradicting two myths about Guantanamo, the president assured the world that a) the U.S. is not practicing torture, and b) the interrogation of detainees has directly prevented a number of planned attacks. By offering names and dates, President Bush immeasurably strengthened the case -- particularly in the wake of the London plot's disclosure. ("Bush Justifies Detainee Abuse" headlined the Reuters Foundation website the next morning.)