For months now the Whitehouse has repeatedly denied that the U.S. Government is involved in any kind of torture. Despite the clear proof from Abu Ghraib, a mountain of evidence from Guantanimo Bay, and the reports of CIA Black Ops prisons throughout Europe - the Bush Administration continues to proclaim, “we do not torture” - while at the same time fighting like hell to defeat the McCain anti-torture legislation.
In these times of extreme partisanship, the issue of torture is about as non-partisan as it gets. Free societies do not torture, even their most hated enemies, because in the end, it always does more harm than good. This concept is simple. One I think even George Bush can understand. The fact that the press hasn’t asked more tough questions on this issue is an outrage. But Wednesday at the Whitehouse press briefing, Helen Thomas decided to play “Name That Administration Tune”. She exposed the absurdity of the their position – and she did it with very few words.
Q I have another question. You keep saying we don't torture, but you're trying to negotiate a compromise where we can, an exemption.
MR. McCLELLAN: That's not correct, and I've told you that before.
Q What is correct?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President has made it very clear that we do not torture and we do not engage in torture.
Q But you want an exemption.
MR. McCLELLAN: Now, what we do want to do is continue working with Senator McCain and others to come up with a good solution. And Steve Hadley had a meeting --
Q A solution to what?
MR. McCLELLAN: Steve Hadley had a good discussion with Senator McCain earlier today; it was a constructive discussion. We are continuing to work with Senator McCain and his staff to find a good solution on how we move forward. And Secretary Rice spoke about this at length just last week --
Q Why do you need a solution if we don't torture?
MR. McCLELLAN: -- and talked about the difficult issues that are involved here, because we're talking about the safety and security of the American people, and we're engaged in a different kind of war against a very dangerous enemy.
Q -- need an exemption? Isn't that what you're trying --
MR. McCLELLAN: That's not a correct assessment, Helen, because there are already laws that prevent and prohibit torture.
Q What's it all about then?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think we've made it very clear. Maybe you should go back and look at what we've said over the last couple weeks.
Q It has not been clear. I want to know why you need an exemption to torture.
Thank you Helen for calling a spade a spade. Is it a coincidence that Thursday the Whitehouse suddenly flip flopped and decided to sign on to the McCain legislation?