I've written 15 posts about torture and although I am deeply disappointed at the Obama Administration's decision to let Bush and Cheney get away with their actions leading up to and during the Iraq war, I had thought that the discussion had subsided into a low murmur.
Unable to keep his mouth shut, President Bush made a cavalier comment while speaking in Grand Rapids, Michigan yesterday, saying that he did indeed have Khalid Sheikh Mohammed waterboarded, and would do so again if it would save lives. Never mind that there is significant evidence, as discusssed by Matthew Alexander here, that details how waterboarding detainees made us less safe.
Extensive research, readily available to the President and much of it conducted by the FBI - experts at interrogation - and the Department of Defense, has been conducted on how to elicit useful information from people. As a counselor, it is my job to be able to get people to open up as I have discussed here that I have related to SERE training and torture.
Today, Dan Froomkin reports on the response of top military leaders to Bush's comments. Anger appears to be the universal response. They are appalled that Bush, still, has no conception of the illegality of his actions nor does he appear to care (although, why should he? apparently ex-Presidents are above the law).
"George W. Bush's casual acknowledgment Wednesday that he had Khalid Sheikh Mohammed waterboarded -- and would do it again -- has horrified some former military and intelligence officials who argue that the former president doesn't seem to understand the gravity of what he is admitting."There is no question that waterboarding is torture regardless of what has been discussed in the media in the past year or two. This country has imprisoned people and even executed people for waterboarding, and as recently as a few years ago, a sheriff's deputy in Texas was jailed for using waterboarding as an interrogation technique. More discussion here.
The article goes on to quote military leaders:
"Waterboarding, a form of controlled drowning, is "unequivocably torture", said retired Brigadier General David R. Irvine, a former strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner of war interrogation and military law for 18 years."Irvine told the Huffington Post that Bush doesn't appreciate how much harm his countenancing of torture has done to his country.
"As a nation, we have historically prosecuted it as such, going back to the time of the Spanish-American War," Irvine said. "Moreover, it cannot be demonstrated that any use of waterboarding by U.S. personnel in recent years has saved a single American life."
"Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," Bush told a Grand Rapids audience Wednesday, of the self-professed 9/11 mastermind. "I'd do it again to save lives."
But, Irvine said: "When he decided to do it the first time, he launched the nation down a disastrous road, and we will continue to pay dearly for the damage his decision has caused.
"We are seen by the rest of the world as having abandoned our commitment to international law. We have forfeited enormous amounts of moral leadership as the world's sole remaining superpower. And it puts American troops in greater danger -- and unnecessary danger."The article continues by quoting other military leaders:
"James P. Cullen, a retired brigadier general in the United States Army Reserve Judge Advocate General's Corps, told HuffPost that the net effect of Bush's remarks--and former Vice President Cheney's before him--is 'to establish a precedent where it will be permissible to our enemies to use waterboarding on our servicemen in future wars."What is it with these men? Don't confuse me with the facts? As I wrote about yesterday, this is willful ignorance in the extreme, and the serial stupidity of the Republican Party to the nth degree.
"Cheney famously once agreed with an interviewer that a 'dunk in the water' was a 'no-brainer' if it saves lives."
Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.
SUN: 7:02PM Edited for duplicate section