Is waterboarding torture, as the UN Convention Against Torture asserts?
Or is it not torture, but just punishable by death? (Sen. John McCain pointed out during his presidential campaign that the US hanged several Japanese men after they were convicted of waterboarding American soldiers during World War II).
Or is it legal, as former President George W. Bush averred in an interview Monday, “because the lawyer said it was?”
Bush made the comment to NBC’s Matt Lauer during an interview about his new book, “Decision Points.”
Waterboarding is legal, Bush said, “because the lawyer said it was. He said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act. I’m not a lawyer, but you gotta trust the judgment of people around you and I do.”
Lauer pushed for more of an explanation after Bush’s defense.
“Critics say that you got the Justice Department to give you the legal guidance and the legal memos that you wanted,” Lauer remarked. “Tom Kean, who was a former Republican co-chair of the 9/11 commission, said they got legal opinions they wanted from their own people.”
“He obviously doesn’t know,” Bush responded. “I hope Mr. Kean reads the book. That’s why I’ve written the book. He can, they can draw whatever conclusion they want. But I will tell you this. Using those techniques saved lives. My job is to protect America and I did.”
The British government considers waterboarding to be a form of torture and the former chair of the Commons intelligence and security committee doubts Bush’s claim that the practice saved any lives in the United Kingdom, the Guardian reports.
Also during in the interview, Bush explained that his mother had a miscarriage when he was a teenager and showed him the fetus. (Click for Related story: Bush: Mom gave me permission to talk about seeing her fetus in a jar)
“She says to her teenage kid, ‘Here’s a fetus,'” Bush told Lauer. “There’s no question that it affected me.”
“I never expected to see the remains of the fetus, which she had saved in a jar to bring to the hospital,” Bush wrote in his new memoir. “There was a human life, a little brother or sister.”
Bush’s mother, Barbara, gave him special permission to recount the story in his book, according to the New York Post.
The lawyer quip was first caught by the politics site Talking Points Memo.
FAILURE: Here are 470 ways Trump failed to protect America from COVID-19
Crises have a way of sorting the good presidents from the bad.
Historians consistently rank Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt among the top three presidents for their handling of the Civil War, the Great Depression, and World War II.
By contrast, the string of catastrophes that trailed George W. Bush, from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina to his obliviousness to warning signs in the housing market before the 2008 crash guarantee that he will have a permanent place in the bottom tier of presidents.
Body found in California lake during search for actress Naya Rivera
Rescuers on Monday found a body at the California lake where "Glee" star Naya Rivera went missing last week.
The Ventura County Sheriff's office said "recovery is in progress" of the unidentified body, after a sixth day of searching for the US actress began again at first light.
Rivera, 33, is believed to have accidentally drowned in Lake Piru after renting a boat at the camping and recreational hotspot with her four-year-old son, authorities said last week.
She vanished on Wednesday afternoon, and a massive search involving divers, patrol boats and helicopters was launched after her son was spotted drifting alone in a boat on the lake.
Wisconsin man attacks and slurs Black woman in front of her children in parking lot dispute
A Wisconsin man was arrested for attacking a Black woman in front of her children outside a grocery store.
David Lythjohan told police he was upset with the woman because her car was blocking him from pulling out of a parking stall to go pick up his wife waiting outside Woodman's grocery, reported Channel 3000.
The woman, who had just dropped off her children and planned to park, told police that Lythjohan banged on her car window and then opened her car door and struck her in the face.