Turning the page on torture

Remember: even the Pentagon concedes that a dozen prisoners have been tortured to death by US interrogators. Human rights groups put that number at close to a hundred. Most of the techniques we saw displayed at Abu Ghraib were authorized by the president and vice-president. And they monitored the waterboarding sessions very closely.

Andrew Sullivan

On Tuesday, Barack Obama will become the President of the United States of America. I strongly supported his candidacy, in part because he forthrightly opposed torture.

That’s a big change from the current administration.

Obama remains steadfast on this point, even though he’s no longer running for office. Here he is on Sunday, on ABC’s This Week. The discussion of torture is kicked off when Stephanopoulos quotes Dick Cheney at 1:33.

I’m not thrilled to see Obama waffle on the CIA’s “special” program. But he sounds all the right notes when he refers successively to the rule of law, the U.S. constitution, international standards, and America’s core values and ideals.

President Bush pays lip service to those concepts, too. He insists that all of the interrogation techniques his administration employed were lawful — even waterboarding. (Beginning at around forty seconds here.)

Obama is a constitutional lawyer; he knows what the law actually says. And I’m prepared to trust him when he says that his administration will act within the law.

America’s first black President? — that’s wonderful!

A President who will not torture? — that’s downright priceless!


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