Saturday, December 11, 2004
Helen Thomas, who, by the way, Bush is afraid of, rattled Scottie a little at the the gaggle today:
HELEN: I asked you the other day and didn't get an answer and I'll ask you again, do we follow the Geneva Conventions at Guantanamo?
SCOTTIE: The President has already answered that question. We've answered that question on numerous occasions, Helen. The President's most solemn obligation is to protect the American people, and in terms of -- in terms of Guantanamo, it's related to the war on terrorism that we're fighting. We're fighting a different kind of war and we face an enemy like we have never faced before. The President designated individuals again Guantanamo as unlawful enemy combatants who do not share -- they are people who do not share our values, who do not respect the rule of law, and who have no regard for innocent --
HELEN: You haven't even charged them.
SCOTTIE: Helen, I'm going to move on to other people if you're not going to let me answer the questions.
HELEN: Go ahead.
SCOTTIE: I would like to answer your question and I'm trying to do that. We can disagree on the war on terrorism, but I want to make my points, too.
But these are people who have no regard for innocent civilian life, and the military -- and in terms of the military and the detainees who are at Guantanamo Bay, the President expects them to be treated humanely and consistent with the Geneva Conventions. That's what he has said to the Pentagon, and that's what he expects to happen. We are a nation of values and laws, and we adhere to our values and laws.
HELEN: Why are there so many reports, then, of abuses at Guantanamo?
SCOTTIE: You should direct your questions to the Department of Defense if there are any allegations of abuse. They take them very seriously.
HELEN: You're not aware of any?
SCOTTIE: Okay, Helen, we can disagree on this, but --
HELEN: It isn't a question of -- I'm asking you a very valid question.
SCOTTIE: And you're not letting me respond to it, Helen. I would like to respond to it, but you're not letting me.
HELEN You said that we don't really have to obey the law in this case, in terms of not giving these people a fair trial and charging them --
SCOTTIE: These are people that are -- that do not adhere to the Geneva Conventions. These are enemy combatants who were picked up on the battlefield trying to do harm to Americans, or plotting to carry out attacks against the American people.
HELEN: How do you know that without charging them?
SCOTTIE: John, go ahead. Helen you've got to let me have a chance to respond. Thank you.