While cable news outlets and major newspapers continue to use euphemisms such as “harsh interrogation tactics” to describe the Bush administration’s approach to intelligence gathering, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) used a more succinct term Thursday: “torture.”
“Last week, they released these memos outlining torture techniques. That was clearly a political decision and ignored the advice of their Director of National Intelligence and their CIA director,” Boehner said at a press conference in the Capitol.
The techniques discussed include waterboarding, slamming detainees into walls, and depriving them of sleep for up to 11 days.
Boehner’s admission subtly shifts the debate. At first, the Republicans were trying to shift the debate to whether Obama helped the terrorists by publicizing the techniques we used against them (techniques that everyone already knew about, by the way). Now, Boehner is helping shift the discussion to whether it is ever appropriate for America to torture, not IF America tortured. The larger question, which Boehner has now invited, is whether American officials committed war crimes. That’s a rather serious charge. And it’s utterly beneath what our country is supposed to be about.
Either we are better than the rest of the world, or we’re the same, if not worse. The Republicans, and the majority of Americans, need to decide which America they want to be.