The man who convinced President George W. Bush to reinterpret the Geneva Convention’s prohibitions on torture on Sunday declared that “we can never be safe in a society like ours” and terrorists will always want to attack America because they are “unhappy about U.S. foreign policy.”
On Sunday, CNN’s Candy Crowley invited former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to explain what might have radicalized the men who carried out last week’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.
“The next attack is likely to come from someone who looks like you and I — American citizens, someone who speaks perfect English, someone who can travel freely in this country,” Gonzales remarked. “The truth of the matter is, there are some people in this country — around the world who are very unhappy about U.S. foreign policy, and as a result of that, hostility rises, rage rises. And people want to reach out against the United States.”
Crowley wondered if it was even possible to “keep America America and keep America safe.”
“I think we can keep America America,” Gonzales insisted. “But clearly we can accommodate both our security and we can accommodate our liberties. But let’s face it, let’s be realistic. In a society like ours where we enjoy so many freedoms, you know, to expect that we can be 100 percent safe, I think, is unrealistic. We are clearly safer today than we were on 9/11, we’ve done a lot to make America safer today.”
“But we will never be safe in a society like ours.”
In a 2002 memo to then-Presiden George W. Bush, Gonzales argued that the so-called War On Terror meant that the United States was not bound by “quaint” rules in the Geneva Convention that prohibit torture.
“This new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions requiring that captured enemy be afforded such things as commissary privileges,” Gonzales wrote.
Bush eventually agreed and within weeks, military interrogators were being trained on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques, which a nonpartisan group recently determined were “clearly torture.”
Watch the video below from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast April 21, 2013.