Then & Now: The Bush Administration on Torture

Remember when the President and Vice President used to say the United States didn’t engage in torture? Today brings yet more evidence of the falsity of those claims.

THEN: We Don’t Torture

“We don’t torture. That’s not what we’re involved in.” Vice President Cheney, October 27, 2006

“This country doesn’t torture, we’re not going to torture. We will interrogate people we pick up off the battlefield to determine whether or not they’ve got information that will be helpful to protect the country.” President Bush, October 27, 2006

“This government does not torture people,” President Bush, October 5, 2007

“This is not torture. We don’t do torture. But what the agency did was they sought formal guidance from the senior leadership of the administration, as well as the Justice Department in terms of what was appropriate and what wasn’t. And they got that guidance. And they followed that guidance, as far as I know. I have no reason to believe anybody out at the agency violated any tenet of the obligations and responsibilities we have in terms of statutes or our treaty obligations. I think it was done very professionally. I think it was done very few times, when it was necessary. I think it produced good results. I think there are Americans alive today because we used that technique on those three individuals.” Vice President Cheney, January 11, 2009

NOW: We Tortured

“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.” Susan J. Crawford, convening authority of military commissions.

“The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge” to call it torture.

“I sympathize with the intelligence gatherers in those days after 9/11, not knowing what was coming next and trying to gain information to keep us safe,” said Crawford, a lifelong Republican. “But there still has to be a line that we should not cross. And unfortunately what this has done, I think, has tainted everything going forward.”

Final Thought “I think the buck stops in the Oval Office.” – Susan J. Crawford, January 14. 2009

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Published on January 14, 2009

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