CBS's Schieffer: Bush 'Adopting the Methods of Our Enemies' with Secret Prisons

Bob Schieffer, CBS's Chief Washington Correspondent and host of Face the Nation, used the “freeSpeech” segment on Wednesday's CBS Evening News to denounce the Bush administration's “secret prisons,” arguing in establishing them the U.S. has adopted “the methods of our enemies.” But our terrorist enemies don't put Americans into prison -- they murder Americans. Schieffer, who anchored the CBS Evening News until two weeks ago, told viewers of the broadcast now anchored by Katie Couric that he was “glad” the U.S. took the “suspected 9/11 ringleaders” out “of those secret CIA prisons. For me, it's a matter of national security -- ours. Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That's what our enemies do. If we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world, as the administration says we are, I won't feel very secure if the people around the world believe we are no different than our enemies.”

Schieffer also contended that “weapons didn't win the [Cold] War. We won when the people under Soviet domination could finally look across the Iron Curtain and see that open, democratic government made for a better life. Their governments were buying missiles when all they wanted were better schools and washing machines.” He concluded by arguing: “As Americans, we do believe our system offers a better way. But the only way to convince others of that is if we live by our values. Real security begins with remembering who we are. We gain nothing by adopting the methods of our enemies.” (Transcript follows)

Schieffer's “freeSpeech” commentary on the September 13 CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:
“I have no sympathy for those suspected 9/11 ringleaders. If the evidence proves them guilty, I hope they get the death penalty. But I'm glad they took them out of those secret CIA prisons. For me, it's a matter of national security -- ours. Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That's what our enemies do. If we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world, as the administration says we are, I won't feel very secure if the people around the world believe we are no different than our enemies.

“Of course we must do all in our power to protect this country. During the Cold War we built a mighty arsenal of weapons, and it kept the Soviet Union at bay for decades. But the weapons didn't win the war. We won when the people under Soviet domination could finally look across the Iron Curtain and see that open, democratic government made for a better life. Their governments were buying missiles when all they wanted were better schools and washing machines.

“They saw that open government based on law gave them a better chance to have those things than government conducted in secret and based on the whims of unelected leaders. And so the Iron Curtain fell.

“As Americans, we do believe our system offers a better way. But the only way to convince others of that is if we live by our values. Real security begins with remembering who we are. We gain nothing by adopting the methods of our enemies.”
CBSNews.com has posted video of Schieffer on its “freeSpeech” page.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center