The practice of water boarding has historically been acknowledged as torture. But in a recent interview, the former president, George W. Bush, has admitted to sanctioning it:
Bush takes responsibility for giving the go-ahead for water boarding terror suspects, which has touched off a new round of criticism of Bush and calls for his prosecution. He says that he did decide not to use two more extreme interrogation methods, but did not disclose what those were.
Here are excerpts from the book, which CNN obtained on Friday:
'The choice between security and values was real'
Bush reveals the decision points that led him to choose water boarding as an interrogation technique.
"CIA experts drew up a list of interrogation techniques. ... At my direction, Department of Justice and CIA lawyers conducted a careful legal review. The enhanced interrogation program complied with the Constitution and all applicable laws, including those that ban torture.
"There were two that I felt went too far, even if they were legal. I directed the CIA not to use them. Another technique was water boarding, a process of simulated drowning. No doubt the procedure was tough, but medical experts assured the CIA that it did no lasting harm."
Does a memoir count as a signed confession? Why should lasting harm be a criteria when immediate harm is being done? And how glib it seems--he just admits it. We have a culture where enhanced interrogation videotapes have been destroyed, and where the military has sought to keep certain pictures pf alleged torture out of the public eye--post Abu Ghraib, it is well understood that this sort of thing does not help.
But here is Bush--easily admitting he authorized an action we would today and historically have considered torture, with no story prefacing it of any agonizing decision, 3 am talk with God, or call to his own dad. Nope. "Damn right." That is how I think it happened. And why I think the former administration needs to be called on it. The rule of law just didn't matter. And while I don't care a whole lot about KSM--that anyone was subjected to this is a shame.