Bush: “I’d Do It Again”

Former President George W. Bush proudly proclaimed this week “Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed . . I’d do it again to save lives.” Fortunately, he will not be given another chance but, due to the actions of President Obama and Attorney General Holder to bar any investigation or prosecution of torture, future presidents may well indeed to do it again.

Bush’s remarks came at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids. These comments follow Vice President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove virtually bragging about torture during the Administration, here. This shameful moment belongs not to Bush but to Obama who worked to block the fulfillment of our domestic and international obligations to prosecute such offenses. We will continue to have torture discussed casually as just another tough-guy policy choice. Because it would have been politically unpopular to prosecute people for torture, the Obama Administration has allowed officials to downgrade torture from a war crime to a talking point.

For the story, click here.

72 thoughts on “Bush: “I’d Do It Again””

  1. Blouise
    1, June 3, 2010 at 9:16 pm
    “Perhaps Obama and friends are not just ignoring the torture we know about but are instead, refusing to take the legal route for fear of making public horrors we have not even imagined … things that they think would stun the world’s population and destabilize our government.”

    I think this is correct. Obama advocated releasing everything while running for President. I think after getting elected and having the opportunity to veiw the more shocking (more shocking!) photos and even videos according to Hersh, Obama said “Holy Shit!” and decided to bury it out of fear for the political and foreign policy ramifications.

    “It’s not when they saw the photographs,” Hersh stresses. “It’s when they learned how serious it was. They were told in memos what the photographs showed… They showed other, more sexual abuse than we knew, sodomy of women prisons by American soldiers, a father and his son forced to do acts together. There was more stuff [than] was made public. You didn’t need a photograph if you had a verbal description of it.

  2. No American official will ever be charged in the USA with a war crime under internaational law, although he or she might be charged under civil law or military law. The alleged perpetrator could also be charged (theoretically) under internatioal law in a country that claims universal jurisdiction like Spain or the Netherlands. It’s just the way it is.

    The US military has a contingency plan for taking military action to free any high level US official who is arrested and held by the IJC or anywhere else.

    Just one more example of “American exceptionalism.”

  3. There was a former JAG brigadier general on TV last night who said that Bush had done a terrible disservice to our own troops by encouraging and praising torture: the enemy would feel entitled to torture our own troops. This is a military guy, not some left wing hand wringing pussy.

    Also, there was a former interrogator who said that most of the Iraqi
    “insurgants” he interrogated in Iraq were motivated by Abu Ghraib and waterboarding to fight the Americans. When we lose our values . . .

  4. ‘Splain me this. I’ve heard a report that there is no tape or recording of this. A crowd of 2300 and there were no recording devices? Not even the Economic Club of Grand Rapids recorded a former President’s speech and answers to questions after? Wass up?

  5. So George W. Bush CONFESSED IN PUBLIC TO WAR CRIMES. WHY isn’t he being perp-walked, in cuffs, to a plane waiting at the DFW airport that will fly him DIRECTLY to the Hague for his WAR CRIMES TRIALS??


  6. Carterbo “Truly hypothetical. Would a Republican administration swept this under the rug had water-boarding occurred during a Democratic regime?”



    Torture is part of the ‘package deal’ of new powers (that limit Constitutional rights) consolidated under the “Unitary Executive” doctrine put in place by Bush/Cheney post 9-11.

    As I wrote on this blawg after Obama was elected, we’ll never get those rights given back to us, power does not give itself up; once taken, it must be taken back.

  7. “I’m just sayin’ that it’s possible there is more to this than just keeping Bush and Cheney out of prison.”


    In my mind, if that is indeed Obama and Holder’s logic, it makes not prosecuting those responsible in the Bush Admin even more shameful. That’s like saying that the Nazi’s only killed a “few Jews, Russians, etc.” – had the full scope of Nazi atrocities not been known, would the world community have been as inclined to take steps to ensure that those responsible for future atrocities be held accountable?

    Besides, I think it would go a long way in showing those who mistakenly believe that torture is effective that it really istn’, and there really are reasons it’s illegal.

  8. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, something is going on domestically. And it’s awful stuff. But, to date, no one is talking.

  9. The failure of the administration to prosecute Bush and Cheney is an impeachable offense. Let the movement to impeach begin.

  10. Oh, n’ will I wuz waterboardin’ I had this song playin’ in the background for encouragement.

    GO LEO, GO!

  11. Isabela, like you, I had me a beautiful dream. I was standin’ at the center of a waterboardin’ wheel and they wuz the father, the son, and the holey ghost—in the human form of Cheney, Bush, and Rove—all laid out like spokes of a wagon wheel with thez heads inclined towarts my feet. I wuz surrounded by buckets of water n’ I had a farr hose at my disposal hooked to the nearest 1,000 gallon per minute farr hydrant.

    Because I wuz POTUS, I gots to waterboard that sick trio to my li’l dark heart’s content. I’ll give y’all one guess as to whether or not I stopped waterboardin’ after each of them 3 fools confessed before the presence of thez all-mitty He-gawd that they wuz despicable, pathetic war criminals…

    Gabrill blow yer horn, St. Peter open them purly gates..
    Unfortunately, hit was all

  12. Nothing is going to come of this. Bush could tell the world that he shot the sheriff and the in the current administration would do nothing.

  13. I was dreaming of Cheney and Bush in the dock in The Hague. Maybe like Milosevic, Cheney would conduct his own defense. He’s arrogant enough to think he could do it. I knew it wouldn’t happen but it was fun to think about. Seriously, Obama really screwed the pooch when he took the “that was then, this is now” approach to the torture that went on in the Bush Admin.

    You notice that the dude who tried to blow up Times Square didn’t need no water boarding.

    Speaking of Miranda, do you think American citizens are entitled to being “Mirandized” when they arrested if they are accused of “terrorist acts”? I do, it seems pretty simple to me and I don’t get why the right gets so bent out of shape by this.

  14. Truly hypothetical. Would a Republican administration swept this under the rug had water-boarding occurred during a Democratic regime?

  15. Rockola

    Prof. Turley, why not one word so far on Supremes’ having turned Miranda upside down this week???

    Thus far everything I’ve read on the matter goes something like this:

    “A Michigan man will continue serving a life sentence for murder after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that he gave up his rights against self-incrimination because he did not explicitly tell police he wanted to remain silent after his arrest.

    “In a dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the decision “turns Miranda upside down.” It’s counterintuitive, she said, to require a suspect to speak in order to exercise the right to remain silent.”
    (From The Detroit News)

    So what, Prof, does this mean? Do we have to declare our constitutional rights out loud in order to claim them?

  16. I was wondering about that too Rockola. Sotomayor wrote the dissent. She is a former prosecutor.

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