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.

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

  1. I have carefully reviewed the statutory and treaty language and must confess that I have been unable to locate Harry Reid’s “when it is the right thing to do” exception to the prohibition against torture. Jill’s conclusions about cowardice are spot on. Sen. Reid would have us think that there is some sort of civil disobedience analogy to be drawn from the actions of the Bush administration, but all I see is another absurd and nonsensical statement from someone who knows what need to be done, but lacks the leadership abilities and moral courage to make it happen. Just another reason I would like to see Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi drop kicked to the back bench.

  2. Sen. Reid needs to go right now. Not Tomorrow, or the next day, but Now. To dance around the issue and say that we had to torture is not only incorrect, it is insane. Impeachment of Reid and Pelosi can’t happen soon enough for me. I would give them this choice: You can investigate and prosecute all who ordered and authorized and carried out torture or you can go to jail for obstruction of justice. Which will it be?

  3. BVM,
    Finally a post I can agree with, without the hysteria and hyperbole.

  4. During the Nuremberg trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, stated: “To initiate a War of Aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other War Crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

  5. The “Right” thing to do is respectfully arrest all the conspirators in the Wars of Aggression i.e. Arrest Bush, Cheney, Leahy, Obama, Biden, Reid, H. Clinton, Feinstein, Pelosi, Hatch, Specter, Cornyn, Byrd, Dodd and hundreds more for War Crimes.

    Arrest all those in Congress who voted to invade Iraq, those who voted to fund the war and the continuing occupation and all the political, civil and military leaders of America responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And don’t forget the large list of conspirators in the media.

  6. Janus:

    The first test of a lawyer is how well he persuades. Are you convinced of anything Reid says?

  7. FFLeo:

    “Factual, perhaps, but they win and we are still the fools.”


    Their victories are Pyrrhic as history always shows. All one really has are his reputation and his character, and in those regards, they fail miserably. Would you really like to be remembered as the champion for torture?

  8. Reid seems to be mentally confused and erratic. Was he really trained well as a lawyer so as to remain consistent and to ably state the details of an issue?

    The Senator majority needs a leader that is articulate, persuasive, and able to keep his/her listeners strongly attentative. Reid is about as inspiring and interesting as someone monotonously reading the names from the Chicago and suburban telephone directories.

  9. Harry Reid has been a Warmonger / War Criminal for years in initiating, funding, conspiring and waging Wars of Aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan. He could be arrested today under USC TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 118 > § 2441 – War Crimes and other laws.

  10. M72

    “They may delude themselves and their fellows; they do not fool us.”

    Factual, perhaps, but they win and we are still the fools.

  11. Do we really need to reply to this patent sophistry as Greytdog properly points out. That fools are among us is nothing new, and that they attain positions of power by virtue of their influence, religious affiliation, etc. is likewise de rigueur. What is worthy of comment is the utter lack of principle these bastards exhibit while mouthing the platitudes that they believe will win them re-election. Hannah Arendt had it right:

    “What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.”

    They may delude themselves and their fellows; they do not fool us.

  12. Reid’s argument is sheer sophistry. Either we are a nation of law or we aren’t. I’m starting to believe that under the red white blue lurks scarlet and black, that instead of stars and stripes, we are nothing more than an swastika. We are the fascists of the 21st Century.

  13. The old classic, If I’m goin down you’re goin wit me. You’ll burn just like me. With the Wicked Witch to the West screaming, I was not informed. Evey CIA memo needs to be released. Let the people decide.

  14. Harry Reid’s wearing magic underwear for sure. He’s passed it around to even non Mormons who will be baptised at death. That underwear protects you from accountability for torture, murder and the destruction of the Constitution. It works in tandem with rose colored glasses that allow denial of what is in plain sight.

    If any of these people were sincere when saying they broke the law but it was “the right thing to do”, they would do the right thing and submit, voluntarily, to the rule of law. They would say I did this because I thought it was right but because I also know we are a country where the rule of law is a foundation of our nation, I willingly submit to the law’s judgement. I don’t see any of these people, not one, offering to submit to the rule of law. I see them flout it. It shows their true colors–cowardice, sadism, powermongering, corruption and contempt for the Constitution and the people of the United States.

  15. Impeach them all. Boil them in the Saudi Oil. Frog and bits of snake an all. Boil them in that Saudi Oil.

  16. Betsy to answer your Question

    Is October 0f 2007. I believe it was an Telephone Interview by Ms. Brown.

    He is the article for DU and below is another one for you. – Similar pages – 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?….

    .And on that note, while Russert fiddles and Rome burns, the exchange with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also fiddling, as conducted by the tenacious Christiane Brown of Reno’s progressive station talk station, KJFK, is both disturbing and illuminating.

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