Friday, March 7, 2008

Bush To Veto Bill Banning Waterboarding


"President Bush's veto will be one of the most shameful acts of his presidency." ~ Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Mar 7, 7:18 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House says President Bush will veto legislation on Saturday that would have barred the CIA from using waterboarding - a technique that simulates drowning - and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects.

Bush has said the bill would harm the government's ability to prevent future attacks. Supporters of the legislation argue that it preserves the United States' right to collect critical intelligence while boosting the country's moral standing abroad.

"The bill would take away one of the most valuable tools on the war on terror, the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives," deputy White House press secretary Tony Fratto said Friday.

The bill would restrict the CIA to using only the 19 interrogation techniques listed in the Army field manual.

The legislation would bar the CIA from using waterboarding, sensory deprivation or other coercive methods to break a prisoner who refuses to answer questions. Those practices were banned by the military in 2006, but the president wants the harsh interrogation methods to be a part of the CIA's toolbox.

Backers of the legislation, which cleared the House in December and won Senate approval last month, say the interrogation methods used by the military are sufficient.

"President Bush's veto will be one of the most shameful acts of his presidency," Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said in a statement Friday. "Unless Congress overrides the veto, it will go down in history as a flagrant insult to the rule of law and a serious stain on the good name of America in the eyes of the world."

He noted that the Army field manual contends that harsh interrogation is a "poor technique that yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say what he thinks the (interrogator) wants to hear."

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20080308/D8V8TO002.html

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress would work to override Bush's veto next week. "In the final analysis, our ability to lead the world will depend not only on our military might, but on our moral authority," said Pelosi, D-Calif.

But based on the margin of passage in each chamber, it would be difficult for the Democratic-controlled Congress to turn back the veto. It takes a two-thirds majority, and the House vote was 222-199 and the Senate's was 51-45.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Bush often warns against ignoring the advice of U.S. commanders on the ground in Iraq. Yet the president has rejected the Army Field Manual, which recognizes that harsh interrogation tactics elicit unreliable information, said Reid, D-Nev.

"Democrats will continue working to reverse the damage President Bush has caused to our standing in the world," Reid said.

Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch, said Bush "will go down in history as the torture president" for defying Congress and allowing the CIA to use interrogation techniques "that any reasonable observer would call torture."

"The Bush administration continues to insist that CIA and other nonmilitary interrogators are not bound by the military rules and has reportedly given CIA interrogators the green light to use a range of so-called 'enhanced' interrogation techniques, including prolonged sleep deprivation, painful stress positions, and exposure to extreme cold," Daskal said. "Although waterboarding is not currently approved for use by the CIA, Attorney General Michael Mukasey has refused to take it off the table for the future."

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20080308/D8V9BH60D.html

Mar 8, 10:03 PM (ET)

By DEB RIECHMANN


WASHINGTON (AP) - Democrats and human rights advocates criticized President Bush's veto Saturday of a bill that would have banned the CIA from using simulated drowning and other coercive interrogation methods to gain information from suspected terrorists.

Bush said such tactics have helped foil terrorist plots. His critics likened some methods to torture and said they sullied America's reputation around the world.

"This president had the chance to end the torture debate for good, yet he chose instead to leave the door open to use torture in the future," said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

She said Bush ignored the advice of 43 retired generals and admirals and 18 national security experts, including former secretaries of state and national security advisers, who supported the bill.

"Torture is a black mark against the United States," she said.

Waterboarding involves strapping a person down and pouring water over his cloth-covered face to create the sensation of drowning. It has been traced back hundreds of years to the Spanish Inquisition and is condemned by nations around the world and human rights organizations as torture.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he had heard nothing to suggest that the CIA, through enhanced interrogation methods, had obtained information to thwart a terrorist attack. "On the other hand, I do know that coercive interrogations can lead detainees to provide false information in order to make the interrogation stop," said Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

There also are concerns that the use of waterboarding would undermine U.S. human rights efforts overseas and could place Americans at greater risk of being tortured if they are captured abroad.

"The president's refusal to sign this crucial legislation into law will undermine counterterrorism efforts globally and delay efforts to rebuild U.S. credibility on human rights," said Elisa Massimino, Washington director for Human Rights First.

http://apnews.myway.com//article/20080309/D8V9L8900.html

2 comments:

Doug said...

I hope that history remembers Bush as the sadistic moron that he is and doesn't try to gloss over his image the way that they have Regan's

~~alapoet~~ said...

Yeah, me too...

Bush's record is so unrelievedly bad that it's hard to imagine how it could be whitewashed, but that won't be for lack of trying, I'm sure...