From Walter Miale:

Q: Mr. President, you are a transformational, they call it, and promoting democracy in the world is a very ambitious goal; and achieve peace, changing the world, and it’s also acknowledging Europe. But such a far-reaching idealism can also easily lead to moral inconsistencies that risk to undermine your credibility. For
instance, how does the way detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being handled, how does that relate to your promotion of democracy and the rule of law?

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. That, and, for example, the pictures people saw about the prison — prison abuse is different from the detainees in Guantanamo. We’re working our way forward, so that they — and our courts, by the way, are adjudicating this. It is a clear, transparent review of the decision I made by the courts, so everybody can see it. And they’re being argued in the courts as we
speak. People are being treated humanely. They were illegal non-combatants, however, and I made the decision they did not pertain to the Geneva Convention. They were not — these were terrorists. Obviously, we’ve looked at Iraq differently.

I can understand people being concerned about prison abuse when they see the pictures out of Abu Ghraib, and it made Americans universally sick, because the actions of those folks didn’t represent the heart and soul of America, didn’t represent the sentiments of the American people. And I am an idealistic person, because I believe in what is possible. I believe that freedom is universal, and I believe, if given a chance, people will seize the moment.

But I’m also a realistic person, and I’m realistic enough to know that images on TV have sullied our country’s image, at times. And we’ve just got to continue to spread — tell people the truth, be open about the mistakes of Abu Ghraib, hold people to account.

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