New report: Bush admin. was determined to torture

Last week, the Obama administration released the Bush administration’s legal memos, which authorized torture. This week, we’ve got a new Senate report on the subject of torture. It’s still somewhat sad and extremely disturbing that we’re talking about the United States of America permitting torture. But, that’s what George Bush did to our country. My initial take on the Senate report on torture is that it confrms the Bush crew was hellbent on torturing any suspected terrorist — even if it wasn’t legal and didn’t work. From the Washington Post:

Intelligence and military officials under the Bush administration began preparing to conduct harsh interrogations long before they were granted legal approval to use such methods — and weeks before the CIA captured its first high-ranking terrorism suspect, Senate investigators have concluded.

Previously secret memos and interviews show CIA and Pentagon officials exploring ways to break Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees in early 2002, up to eight months before Justice Department lawyers approved the use of waterboarding and nine other harsh methods, investigators found.

The findings are contained in a Senate Armed Services Committee report scheduled for release today that also documents multiple warnings — from legal and trained interrogation experts — that the techniques could backfire and might violate U.S. and international law.

One Army lieutenant colonel who reviewed the program warned in 2002 that coercion “usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain,” according to the Senate report. A second official, briefed on plans to use aggressive techniques on detainees, was quoted the same year as asking: “Wouldn’t that be illegal?”

So, wouldn’t work and was illegal. That should have thrown up a few red flags, but it didn’t stop the torture program from moving forward.

This report does indeed add momentum to the push for an investigation of what happened and how. This is about the reputation of the United States. We can’t let torturers go unpunished:

The new findings are expected to add further pressure on the White House to authorize an independent investigation of the Bush-era interrogation policies. President Obama for the first time yesterday refused to rule out the possibility of a probe to determine whether government lawyers acted illegally in approving interrogation practices. Obama said Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. should determine whether they broke the law.

The government lawyers who broke the law would be a good start.

One of those lawyers, Jay Bybee, is now sitting as a federal appeals judge in the Ninth Circuit. There are growing calls for his impeachment. Yesterday, Senator Feingold said there are “grouds for impeachment can be made.” Rep. Jerry Nadler is on board. And, he chairs the House Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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