Bush Fights On For "Waterboarding"


That's the ineluctable conclusion from the president's speech yesterday. Marty Lederman sees through the usual lies and obfuscation:

In a story today, Jeff Smith of the Washington Post quotes one "well-informed source" as saying that the techniques [the president is asking to authorize] "include prolonged sleep deprivation and forced standing or other stress positions," and that the techniques "match the techniques used by the agency in the past," which I describe here.

Smith identifies "a notable exception: The CIA no longer seeks to use a notorious technique called 'waterboarding,' which is meant to simulate drowning." Note the phrasing: Merely that the CIA no longer "seeks to use" waterboarding. Not that waterboarding would be unlawful under the Administration bill. To the contrary, "[p]rivately, the administration has concluded that [enactment of the Bush proposal] would allow the CIA to keep using virtually all the interrogation methods it has employed for the past five years, the officials said." So perhaps, if Congress were to enact the Administration bill, even waterboarding would be back on the table, should the CIA once again "seek to use it."

This is why McCain, Warner, Graham, Powell and every decent, sane conservative with military experience refuse to give in. There is already clarity in the law, the Geneva Convention, and the McCain Amendment. What the Bush administration wants is to introduce vagueness to get away with exactly the same barabarism they have deploying illegally for the past five years. They must be stopped. And eventually, they must be prosecuted for war crimes.

(Photo: David Y. Lee/Time.)