In more important news —
Talking Points Memo reports that President Bush has vetoed the Senate authorization bill, which would have effectively outlawed waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation” techniques for the CIA. Bush asserts,
The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror — the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives. This program has produced critical intelligence that has helped us prevent a number of attacks. The program helped us stop a plot to strike a U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti, a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi, a plot to hijack a passenger plane and fly it into Library Tower in Los Angeles, and a plot to crash passenger planes into Heathrow Airport or buildings in downtown London.
But the President would say that, wouldn’t he? He isn’t about to say, “No good has come of the CIA’s torture program — we’ve thrown America’s reputation under the bus when it comes to human rights, and gained nothing in return.”
Maybe the President is telling the truth. The trouble is, we only have his word on it. All of the supporting information is confidential. We’ll have to be satisfied with the President’s summary: “Here are all the terrible evils that torture has prevented.”
But the President isn’t the only person with access to the classified information. The Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (D-WV) had this to say:
I have heard nothing to suggest that information obtained from enhanced interrogation techniques has prevented an imminent terrorist attack. And I have heard nothing that makes me think the information obtained from these techniques could not have been obtained through traditional interrogation methods used by military and law enforcement interrogators. On the other hand, I do know that coercive interrogations can lead detainees to provide false information in order to make the interrogation stop.
Our government needs to have clear standards for interrogations, and that standard should be the tried and true methods in the Army Field Manual. These methods have been used by military and law enforcement interrogators for decades, often in life and death situations on the battlefield and in counter-terror investigations.
The President says / the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says. Ultimately it comes down to the President’s credibility. He has none with me.
Yes, I believe there is something more important going on than the Democratic nomination process. In fact, the reason I care so passionately about this year’s U.S. election is because it’s past time to consign George “Dubya” Bush to the dustbin of history. Americans are overdue to sweep their house clean.
Which means “No” to John McCain, too. McCain also opposed the bill, despite his reputation as someone who implacably opposes torture.