Tuesday, November 08, 2005
The Torture President
Yesterday speaking to reporters in Panama President Bush basically admitted that he is the torture President. Here is the exchange. Read between the lines.
Q Mr. President, there has been a bit of an international outcry over reports of secret U.S. prisons in Europe for terrorism suspects. Will you let the Red Cross have access to them? And do you agree with Vice President Cheney that the CIA should be exempt from legislation to ban torture?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. The executive branch has the obligation to protect the American people; the legislative branch has the obligation to protect the American people. And we are aggressively doing that. We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture.
And, therefore, we're working with Congress to make sure that as we go forward, we make it possible -- more possible to do our job. There's an enemy that lurks and plots and plans, and wants to hurt America again. And so, you bet, we'll aggressively pursue them. But we will do so under the law. And that's why you're seeing members of my administration go and brief the Congress. We want to work together in this matter. We -- all of us have an obligation, and it's a solemn obligation and a solemn responsibility. And I'm confident that when people see the facts, that they'll recognize that we've -- they've got more work to do, and that we must protect ourselves in a way that is lawful.
So Bush is basically saying that Cheney has been "briefing" Congress about how to keep a legal loophole that allows this administration to continue to "aggressively pursue information". They are obviously hiding behind their legal definition of torture. I can't help but remember the Republican outrage at President Clinton's attempt to hide behind the legal definition of sex. At least we weren't subjected to pictures of Clinton's behavior. I have seen the Abu Ghraib photos and that sure looks like torture to me. And yet Bush can stand in front of the world and say we do not torture. Next he is going to say that what happened at Abu Ghraib and is surely happening at the CIA black-op sites is consensual.
At least be consistent with your own administration Mr. Bush. "Aggressively investigate" the leak case. Call in Cheney and Rove and DO NOT TORTURE THEM.