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freeSpeech: Bob Schieffer

I have no sympathy for those suspected 9/11 ringleaders. If the evidence proves them guilty, I hope they get the death penalty.

But I'm glad they took them out of those secret CIA prisons. For me, it's a matter of national security - ours. Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That's what our enemies do. If we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of people around the world, as the administration says we are, I won't feel very secure if the people around the world believe we are no different than our enemies.

Of course we must do all in our power to protect this country. During the Cold War we built a mighty arsenal of weapons, and it kept the Soviet Union at bay for decades.

But the weapons didn't win the war. We won when the people under Soviet domination could finally look across the Iron Curtain and see that open, democratic government made for a better life. Their governments were buying missiles when all they wanted were better schools and washing machines.

They saw that open government based on law gave them a better chance to have those things than government conducted in secret and based on the whims of unelected leaders ... and so the Iron Curtain fell.

As Americans, we do believe our system offers a better way. But the only way to convince others of that is if we live by our values.

Real security begins with remembering who we are. We gain nothing by adopting the methods of our enemies.

Bob Schieffer is broadcast journalism's most experienced Washington reporter. He is CBS News' Chief Washington Correspondent and also serves as anchor and moderator of Face The Nation, CBS News' Sunday public affairs broadcast.

Schieffer served as interim anchor of The CBS Evening News from March 10, 2005 until Aug. 31, 2006. He will be a regular contributor to The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

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