Reid: Torture Might Have Been Illegal But Still “Right” Thing To Do

225px-harry_reid_official_portraitChristiane Brown has released an amazing audio interview with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid where he admits that waterboarding is torture and we did torture people. However, he suggests that it was “the right” thing to do and should not be punished. The audio tape is worth listening to. It is a brilliant interview by Brown.

Here is the key segment of Brown’s interview:

Reid: Listen, if you ask me my opinion.

Brown: Yeah.

Reid: What went on, waterboarding, torture, of course it was. I don’t want to be drowned. I I think that as afraid of – as afraid of – as afraid as I am with water, frankly probably you could drown me and I would confess to a lot of things that weren’t true….

Brown: Isn’t it the responsibility of the United States to enforce criminal law if it appears that war crimes have occured?

Reid: No matter how I personally feel about torture, I think that we as you’ve indicated that we are a nation of law. And that’s why we have to get the facts and then have people render legal decisions which certainly don’t take very long, render opinion as to whether or not what was done was wrong, illegal, immoral, and you know all the other issues.

Brown: Well let me ask you, Senator Reid, you’ve seen the evidence come forward. We’ve heard Dick Cheney himself say he waterboarded and he’d waterboard again…. Isn’t that therfore an obvious and admitted crime right there in the face of the American people?

Reid: Something everyone has to weigh is this, we’re a nation of laws and no one can dispute that, but I think what we have to, the hurdle we have to get over is whether we want to go after people like Cheney. That’s a decision that has to be made….

Brown: …Isn’t it our obligation if he’s violated the law … ?

Reid: There are a lot of decisions that are made that are right that may not be absolutely totally within the framework of law. For example with President Nixon . . . I mean . . . should he have been impeached or did President Ford do the right thing?….

“There are a lot of decision that are made that are right that may not be absolutely totally within the framework of law.” I would be very interested in reading the rest of this interview to see his examples. Even at this stage in our history, you have the majority leader suggesting that the law is not binding and that it is permissible to violate the law when you believe it is the “right thing to do.”

Reid fumbles miserably in trying to resist any submission of the matter to a prosecutor. Instead, he insists on allowing Senator Feinstein (who is viewed as one of the key people who has prevented past investigations and actions on torture) to investigate this matter further. Reid refuses to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence and admissions of torture as sufficient evidence to submit the matter to a prosecutor instead of a Senate committee. Reid attempts to portray the various reports and investigations as a “rush to judgment” and insists that we lack the facts. He does not explain why he has adopted this standard as opposed to the myriad of past controversies where Democrats have called for a special prosecutor on a fraction of the available evidence. In this case, we have various Bush officials admitting this was torture, tapes destroyed of torture sessions, the International Red Cross defined it as torture, Cheney and other have admitted to the waterboarding etc. It is clear that the Senators are now engaging in open denial, as shown in this interview, and hoping that Feinstein can frustrate or further delay efforts to prosecute. Reid does not mention Feinstein’s conflict of interest in this matter as one of the Senators who failed to stop this program and one of the key Senators accused of blocking past efforts to investigate torture. If this were prosecuted as torture, Feinstein would face the same criticism as Nancy Pelosi in her failure to act as a key member on the oversight committee.

For the interview, click here.

For further discussion of the interview, click here.

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