U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today issued the following statement on the Republican-backed “compromise” military commissions act, H.R. 6616:

“I oppose the legislation creating military commissions because it would sacrifice our moral leadership in the world, delay our fight to prosecute and punish terrorists, and risk our troops. 

“This measure would give this President and any future President the power to reinterpret laws and agreements which bar mistreatment of prisoners whenever and however he feels it convenient.  It would allow the President to weaken the Geneva Conventions and undermine our moral leadership in the world while further risking the safety of our servicemembers.

“This move by the Administration and Congress will confuse our policies surrounding prisoner treatment.  Our policies should be unambiguous:  the United States does not condone torture.  This proposal runs counter to fundamental American values. 

“Five years after 9/11, we still have not convicted a single terrorist.  We absolutely must be able to bring our terrorist enemies to justice through a system that is tough, fair, and effective.  This bill will likely fail Supreme Court scrutiny just as the Administration’s previous system failed, and for the same reasons.  This latest failure would mean we spend more time debating proper treatment of terror suspects instead of making sure they face swift, tough consequences.  And make no mistake: al-Qaeda will not wait around for us to get serious about bringing them to justice. 

“This bill is another example of this President and this Republican Congress failing to win the fight against terror.  The policies of President Bush and the Republican Congress are making us less safe.  It is time for a new direction.”