Saturday, February 09, 2008

History Will Now Record George W. Bush As 'The President Who Tortured'

After years of denial, obfuscation and the frequent use of supreme powers of spin, President George W. Bush will now go down in history as the president who signed off on torture, then lied about it.

This Washington Post lead editorial explains why :

The admission this week by CIA Director Michael V. Hayden that three terrorism suspects were subjected to waterboarding in 2002 and 2003 puts to rest any doubt about whether President Bush authorized torture.

For centuries, civilized countries have considered waterboarding, or simulated drowning, to be torture. The United States rightly condemned as war criminals Japanese soldiers who employed the technique against U.S. personnel during World War II. It prosecuted U.S. military officers who waterboarded prisoners at the turn of the 20th century. The practice, which causes its victims to feel that they are about to die, is unquestionably cruel. Every administration prior to this one has judged it to be prohibited by U.S. law and treaty obligations. It is incontestably a blot on the reputation of this country and a breach of the very values we claim to want to export to the rest of the world.

Congress must act now to put an end to the continued twisting of the law and fundamental American values. Lawmakers can do so by passing legislation requiring all U.S. interrogators to abide by the techniques authorized in the Army Field Manual, which military officials have said allows them the flexibility they need to gather intelligence. The administration has balked at this restriction, and President Bush may well veto it. If he does, it will be but another stain on his legacy.