Bush: I Ordered Waterboarding

 Bush: I Ordered Waterboarding

In his memoir to be released next Tuesday, George W. Bush admits that he personally approved the use of waterboarding in the “enhanced interrogation” of prisoners while he was president. The coercive technique of intentional drowning meets the definition of torture under the Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Treaty on Human Rights, the U.S. Army Field Manual and Title 18 of the U.S. legal code.

Secret White House memos approved CIA use of “waterboarding” in 2003 and 2004, according to Joby Warrick in the Washington Post. CIA Director George Tenet had obtained a 2002 Justice Department ruling that waterboarding does not legally constitute torture, but sought specific policy approval from the White House.  Secretary Tenet got his White House approval for use of the technique in the 2003 and 2004 memos.

Condoleezza Rice, then White House Security Advisor, and Vice President Dick Cheney are among those known to have attended briefings on CIA waterboarding. The President was at these meetings. Congress passed specific anti-waterboarding legislation, but it was vetoed by — you guessed it — President George W. Bush.

 Waterboarding is not just criminal, cruel, and inhumane.  It is also useless and unproductive.


Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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3 Responses to “Bush: I Ordered Waterboarding”

  1. jean-philippe Says:

    This quote from Ben Franklin should be all over the DoD: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

  2. Mike Licht Says:

    Jean-Philippe: Military personnel at DoD are well aware that waterboarding is torture — it says so in the U.S. Army Field Manual as well as the Geneva Conventions. They also know that torture is not a productive interrogation method, since victims will say anything to make it stop.

    Military personnel have a more personal stake in prohibiting their colleagues from torturing prisoners. It means that U.S. military prisoners will likely be tortured by their captors.

    It was not career military and intelligence professionals who permitted torture. It was Bush-Cheney political appointees.

  3. jean-philippe Says:

    Agree. My point was mostly that some people were aware more than 200 years ago that such strategy is a dead-end.

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