John David Ashcroft (born 9 May 1942) was the 79th Attorney General of the United States; he is now a federal lobbyist.
== Quotes ==
Unique among the nations, America recognized the source of our character as being godly and eternal, not being civic and temporal. And because we have understood that our source is eternal, America has been different. We have no king but Jesus.
Bob Jones University commencement (8 May 1999)Since Tuesday the Justice Department has received reports of violence and threats of violence against Arab-Americans and other Americans of Middle Eastern and South Asian descents. We must not descend to the level of those who perpetrated Tuesday's violence by targeting individuals based on their race, their religion, or their national origin. Such reports of violence and threats are in direct opposition to the very principles and laws of the United States and will not be tolerated.
"Excerpt from remarks of Attorney General John Ashcroft" (13 September 2001)Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you.
As quoted in an interview with Cal Thomas (November 2001), he later indicated that the remarks "do not accurately reflect what I believe I said", as quoted in "Ashcroft Invokes Religion In U.S. War on Terrorism" in The Washington Post (20 February 2002)To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.
Testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (6 December 2001)The last time I looked at September 11th, an American street was a war zone. There was a street in Virginia that was a war zone.
Statement during a discussion with the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in June 2003, as quoted in "Ashcroft wants powers expanded to fight terror" in The Washington Times (6 June 2003)The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved.
Resignation letter to President George W. Bush, dated (2 November 2004)(Allegedly) Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.
On senior Bush officials discussing specific torture techniques, as quoted in "Sources: Top Bush Advisors Approved 'Enhanced Interrogation'" at ABC News (9 April 9 2008)I'm trying to think of all the reasons that are appropriate for me to refuse to answer that question.
Response to a question from the House Judiciary Committee, which held a hearing to investigate interrogation techniques at Guantánamo Bay (July 2008)
=== Never Again: Securing America and Restoring Justice (2006) ===
Sometimes the act of walking in the face of the elements helps us come to grips with reality. Or it simply exhausts us to the point of seeing the futility of resisting reality and the futility of denial.
p. 11I was deeply grieved and suddenly depleted by a draining weariness. This day had been a nightmare, and I had not yet been asleep.
p. 12My family has never suggested to me that my identity or value to them depended on my station in life. I knew that they did not consider me any more or less valuable because I held some political office. They valued me as a husband and father, whether or not I won an election. Nor did they regard holding office on Capitol Hill or in the Missouri statehouse as the epitome of success. Quite the contrary, my family had endured numerous personal sacrifices because of my public positions.
p. 30A trustee has a responsibility to guard the assets of others with a higher degree of care than he does his own.
p. 31Through it all, I've learned to trust that God does indeed have a plan and purpose for me. Trust doesn't come into play when you can figure everything out; that's mere reason. Trust operates when you can't understand why circumstances or events happen. That's where it takes faith to believe that God knows what is best for our lives.
To me, failure is not fatal unless you quit; getting knocked down is not embarrassing unless you allow it to keep you down.
p. 42Politics disabuses a person of the notion that you can please everybody. It is an inescapable fact that people will always have different opinions, and some people are going to disagree. Sooner or later, a person constructs his or her own "platform" and stands on it, regardless of what others think, say, or do. It is also true that some people delight in another person's demise.
p. 67I decided this early on at Justice: if the traditional way was the most effective way of doing something, then we'd maintain it. But if it was not functioning at optimum levels, we would be doing the country a disservice by continuing to do things "like we've always done them."
p. 90-91It wasn't that people were antagonistic; it was more that they were accustomed to doing their work in a certain way, and change always causes some people to be uncomfortable.
p. 91I'm convinced that faith is a matter of inspiration, not a matter of imposition. It is something a person models rather than mandates. Faith does not impose itself on other people. Imposition usually sacrifices somebody else; it seeks to injure or extort others. This is what the terrorist does in an attempt to impose his religion on the world.
p. 98It is not enough that we have a guilty defendant. We must have an innocent system as well.
To me, capital punishment is a form of societal self-defense. It should not be employed indiscriminately, but in cases of the most heinous crimes, the death penalty may be the only appropriate punishment. Some people believe it is right to take a life to save the life of someone else, but they would not vote to take the life of a convicted criminal, no matter how horrible the crime. Others believe that killing another person for any reason is simply wrong. I respect those opinions, but I disagree with them. I'm convinced that government has a duty to promote community defense. The death penalty, when applied in appropriate cases, can be a strong deterrent to crime. It is certainly a deterrent to the convicted criminal sentenced to death, and it is also a deterrent to other potential capital offenders.
p. 112I have to chuckle sometimes when I am painted as "hard-nosed." In truth, our Justice Department wasn't nearly as aggressive as Roosevelt's. And our respect for civil liberties was far more extensive than the response following Pearl Harbor. Yes, we were tough, but we always operated within the law; it was never our policy or practice to detain any noncombatant without charges. In our conduct, we never approached the limits of the law as closely as Roosevelt did.
p. 178-179Do not allow your sorrow or your rage to become hostility toward people on the basis of their ethnicity or their religious views. That is unacceptable; it is out of bounds, and if you break the law, we will prosecute you for it.
Soldiers defending a country at war are not subject to the rules of procedure designed for court trials. For example, if a soldier encounters an enemy, under internationally agreed upon rules of war, that soldier can take whatever action is necessary to protect himself and neutralize his enemy, whether it involves capturing and detaining the enemy or killing him on the spot.
p. 181Since lives and liberties depend upon clarity, not obfuscation, and reason, not hyperbole, let me take this opportunity today to be clear: Each action taken by the Department of Justice, as well as the war crimes commissions considered by the president and the Department of Defense, is carefully drawn to target a narrow class of individuals- terrorists. Our legal powers are targeted at terrorists. Our investigation is focused on terrorists. Our prevention strategy targets the terrorist threat.
p. 192We need honest, reasoned debate; not fear-mongering. To those who pit Americans against immigrants, and citizens against non-citizens; to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message to you is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists- for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil.
p. 192Doing what is right in the face of adversity is not always easy or popular. Critics may assail you, but the critics don't always realize what they don't know or don't understand, because they don't have access to all the information.
p. 229Some people in our country seem more concerned about respecting the dignity and privacy of criminals and terrorists than they are about having an airport full of people obliterated, or a completely booked hotel blown to bits. Perhaps they think, Let's not get so upset about attacks on our embassies or military bases. Maybe, they surmise, the terrorists have good reason for attacking us. We have no right to be harassing innocent people in our country. For some people, not even the grotesque images that filled our television screens after al Qaeda's blatant attacks on 9/11 seem enough to wake them out of their utopia feel-good world.
How sad, that the group with the most access to the truth chose in several strategic instances to look the other way.
p. 263Simply put, international terrorism made international cooperation mandatory rather than elective. Collective security has become the only real security against the hydra-headed monster of international terror.
p. 265-266The goal of terror is not traditional territorial enlargement; rather the war target of the terrorist is the dismemberment of the will of the community it terrorizes.
p. 285We must remain constantly vigilant. We dare not underestimate our enemy. Al Qaeda is committed to the destruction of America, and they are in it for the long haul. They are much smarter than many give them credit for being, and they are definitely much more patient than the pace of our fast-food society conditions us to be. Their commitment does not depend on bin Laden or any other single leader.
== External links ==