Bush seeks quick action on plan
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published September 10, 2006
WASHINGTON - President Bush pressed Congress on Saturday to approve his plan for prosecuting suspected terrorists, a proposal lawmakers could debate as early as next week.
"As soon as Congress acts to authorize these military commissions, we will prosecute these men and send a clear message to those who kill Americans: No matter how long it takes, we will find you and bring you to justice," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "As we bring terrorists to justice, we're acting to secure the homeland."
The radio address marked the fourth time this week that Bush has delivered a message about the war on terror. The series of speeches gave Bush an opportunity to buttress the GOP's national security credentials just two months before the critical congressional elections on Nov. 7.
In his speeches, delivered on the eve of the anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush described the enemies and their motives and outlined steps the administration has taken to protect the nation.
He also acknowledged for the first time that the CIA runs secret prisons overseas and uses tough interrogation techniques to get suspected terrorists to divulge information about their networks and plots.
Bush wants Congress to support new legislation the White House drafted for prosecuting suspected terrorists for war crimes. A new plan was needed after the Supreme Court ruled in June that an earlier plan violated U.S. and international law.
Senate leaders back the plan. But some Republicans support alternative legislation, and several of the military's top lawyers worry that Bush's plan could violate treaty obligations and make U.S. troops vulnerable.
Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., has placed the White House proposal on the Senate calendar, allowing debate to begin as early as Tuesday, the day after the nation mourns the loss of the nearly 3,000 victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"On this anniversary, we also remember the brutality of the enemy who struck our country and renew our resolve to defeat this enemy and secure a future of peace and freedom," Bush said in the radio speech. He will address the nation Monday after visiting the Sept. 11 sites in New York, Shanksville, Pa., and the Pentagon.
Democrats, hoping to make the November midterm elections a referendum on Bush's policies in Iraq and the war on terror, argued again this week that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld be made to step down. They claim the White House has mishandled the war, failed to prosecute terrorists and mismanaged the detainee system.
Some Democrats say the first step toward making Americans safe is to chart a new course in Iraq.
"While Iraq was not part of the war on terror before we invaded, it's now a training ground for terrorists and a recruiting tool for the leaders of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations," said Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is running for a seat in the Senate.