President Bush Defends Administration on Latest Torture Flap

President Bush came out today to address the latest controversy over torture involving secret memos that appear to endorse the use of methods considered torture under international law. The President, however, simply repeated his statement that “we don’t torture.” The problem is that the Administration has simply changed the definition of torture to exclude recognized forms of torture. It is like saying “we don’t rob banks” under a definition that excludes stealing money at gunpoint. The two Justice Department legal opinions detailed by The New York Times allow the use of beating, freezing temperatures and simulated drownings, or waterboarding. Yet, the President again insists today that “We stick to U.S. law and international obligations.” Notably, he would not take questions, including the obvious that question of whether water boarding violated international law (it does). While the Administration continues to mislead the public on its position, part of the blame rests with Congress, including the Democrats. They pushed through the bill on torture with John McCain that was weirdly heralded by the media as a great achievement. In reality, it gave the White House legal cover for torture. Under the bill, interrogators can still engage in physical abuse and water boarding. Indeed, it tracts the Administration’s chilling standard in the torture memo that ruled out only techniques that cause organ failure or death. For the full story, click here