Talking Points

My eye was drawn to a letter to the editor in yesterday’s Baltimore Sun (third one down):

President strives to protect us all

The U.S. government has no more urgent and basic obligation than to protect the American people in time of war.

In his Sept. 6 speech, President Bush outlined the steps the United States is taking to detain and question the world's most violent terrorists and also announced needed legislation to bring these terrorists before military tribunals ("Bush says CIA has prisons overseas," Sept. 7).

The secret CIA prisons whose existence the president acknowledged are a necessary tool to keep us safe from these dangerous terrorists.

Yet time and time again, some Democrats in Washington have continued to question why our government needs tools such as these tribunals to prevent attacks on American soil.

They have questioned the terrorist surveillance program by the National Security Agency and tried to kill the much-needed Patriot Act.

The terrorists in U.S. custody are dangerous murderers who would kill again and again if set free.

It is vital to fully support our intelligence agencies and military and see that they have every necessary means to combat this threat.

Al Eisner

The language of the letter was curious. It was very slick rhetoric. Almost too neat. I ran key phrases through Google and quickly found a September 6 posting on Talking Points Memo that excerpted an email from Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman:

It's very simple. Our government has no more basic obligation than to protect the American people in a time of war. Today, President Bush outlined the steps America is taking to question and detain the world's most violent terrorists, and announced legislation to try these terrorists before military commissions.

Read the President's speech and watch the video.

Because of interrogation programs by the CIA, our nation has gained invaluable intelligence that has saved American lives. Interrogations of terrorists including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, have led to the arrests of al Qaeda operatives planning to carry out attacks inside the United States and revealed the terror network's plan to obtain biological weapons. In one chilling interrogation, Mohammed described instructing his operatives to set off explosions in buildings at points high enough to prevent those trapped from escaping out of the windows.

These new revelations are a clear reminder that the threat is real, and that we must pursue victory in this war with all our might. Because a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year put the CIA's interrogation program at risk, the President is sending legislation to Congress to specifically authorize the creation of military commissions to try these suspected terrorists for war crimes. When this legislation is passed, the people our intelligence agencies believe orchestrated 9/11 can face justice.

Watch key excerpts of the President's address and write a letter to the editor on these important efforts to keep Americans safe.

Time and time again, some Democrats in Washington have questioned why our government needs tools like these to prevent attacks on American soil. They have questioned the terrorist surveillance program, and bragged about "killing" the Patriot Act. The #2 Democrat in the Senate even likened America's interrogation practices to those in Nazi or Soviet concentration camps.

Americans now have the facts about these vital efforts to prevent future attacks. The terrorists in American custody are not just innocent bystanders. They are dangerous murderers who would kill again if set free. Take a stand and ensure our military and intelligence agencies continue to have every tool they need to fight this threat.

I contacted Franz Schneiderman, the Sun’s letters editor, to bring this to his attention. He asked me to send him the link to Talking Points Memo, which I did. Later in the afternoon, he wrote back:

Yes, I see. The letter must have been derived from that memo indeed. We do watch out for the mass-mailed ones from poltical organization but this one didn't have the obvious earmarks and the formatting those usually come with... Thanks for letting me know, though of course it's not like we can un-publish the letter now.

We are living in a state of war, with a dishonest and manipulative government, a piggish do-nothing Congress, and media that are asleep at the switch. No wonder citizens are disgusted and fed up.

On primary day, Baltimore’s only daily paper runs unattributed verbatim GOP talking points from the RNC chairman, and it merits a shrug.


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