Even Bush’s logic is tortured
Posted Nov. 2, 2007
editorial cartoon

In what has been labeled “Torturegate,” the Bush administration is facing another allegation of deception and depravity after New York Times stories last month uncovered the administration’s torture tactics of imprisoned detainees.

Through outstanding investigative reporting by Scott Shane, David Johnston and James Risen, there is even more proof that since Bush’s second term as president began, more and more torture of prisoners has occurred.

In two secret memos obtained by the reporters, Bush’s administration is seen allowing extreme forms of interrogation of prisoners (outlawed by numerous treaties) and dictating that any form of torture is acceptable as long as Bush himself has approved it.

Basically, the United States government is saying that it doesn’t have to listen to Congress or the Supreme Court – both branches of whom have been trying repeatedly over the last several years to enact limits on interrogations.

Using his crony, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, to push through legislation that would allow prisons to use torturous methods, Bush was assured a team that would do anything he asked.

The Office of Legal Council (OLC) is a faction of the Justice Department.

This council included Vice President Dick Cheney and Gonzales, who provided legal coverage so that military officials would not have to worry about their interrogation methods being deemed illegal.

These methods included horrific scenes of “slaps to the head; hours held naked in a frigid cell; days and nights without sleep while battered by thundering rock music; long periods manacled in stress positions; or the ultimate, waterboarding.”

Instead of following Senators Richard J. Durbin and John McCain, who vehemently oppose the use of torture in interrogations, Bush and OLC attorney John Yoo communicated through the memos that no torture is unacceptable unless it results in organ failure or death.

The memos also reiterated what approved torture practices were and for what periods of time they could be practiced.

Before Bush signed off on all of this he also added an extra insult – any torture practice is acceptable as long as he has approved it.

It seems that Bush has yet again been allowed far too much freedom and free rein over this country.

With lapdogs like Gonzales and Yoo (whom former Attorney General John Ashcroft nicknamed Dr. Yes because of his willingness to give Bush all legal power), the president has been permitted the usage of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and “black sites” which are secretive overseas prisons.

While there were several officials who tried to make a stand, including the deputy attorney general, James B. Comney, for the most part Bush was saying one thing in public, while addressing the issue an entirely different way in private.

The Justice Department said on its Web site in 2004, “Torture is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms,” while simultaneously allowing the OLC to permit the practice of torture to continue.

The Bush administration is sure to argue that the war on terrorism is probably going to result in some torture on non-Americans and that many 9/11’s have been prevented because of these techniques.

However, many interrogators, psychologists and other experts say that less painful methods are just as likely to produce the same amount of information without the fear and horror that is now being perpetrated by our government.

Do we really want America – land of the free – to be associated with a president that would much rather ignore our rules and sanctions and allow the torture of inmates?

Or maybe we’d rather prisoners were treated in the same manner we would want American citizens to be imprisoned overseas.

Either way, due to more than 20 interviews of current and former counter terrorist officials, the Bush administration once again has some explaining to do.

Even Bush’s logic is tortured

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