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.
GOP candidate attacks opponent with racist website about his adviser working for ‘non-white males’
The 2020 campaign cycle continues to get uglier with a North Carolina Republican making explicitly racist attacks on his Democratic Party opponent.
"Anew attack website put up by the Madison Cawthorn campaign includes an explicitly racist broadside against his opponent, Moe Davis (D-NC), for associating himself with people who want to 'ruin white males.' For real," Tim Miller of The Bulwark reported Thursday.
"The website, MoeTaxes.com takes aim at Davis over one of his advisors Tom Fielder. It says that Fielder 'quit his academia job in Boston to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker who aims to ruin white males.' Putting the atrocious syntax aside… Quitting one’s job to work for someone who isn’t white is . . . a problem now? Booker’s blackness is the issue that offends you?" Miller asked. "In Donald Trump’s white grievance party, apparently so."
Saudi Arabia joins Trump-led coalition claiming women have ‘no international right to abortion’
Further distancing itself from longtime U.S. allies regarding reproductive rights, the Trump administration on Thursday joined 32 countries in signing a declaration claiming that pregnant people have "no international right to abortion."
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the virtual signing ceremony for the so-called "Geneva Consensus Declaration" after the administration formed an international coalition comprised of countries where abortion care is banned or severely restricted, to counter the United Nations' support for reproductive rights.
Trump’s Supreme Court gambit killed his last chance of defeating Joe Biden: Conservative columnist
On Thursday, writing for The Washington Post, anti-Trump conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin outlined how the president blew his final, best chance to turn around the public perception of the presidential race, and define it on his terms rather than Joe Biden's.
"With a president whose performance is as rotten as Trump’s (Gallup also shows him with a 43 percent job approval rating), his only hope was to make his opponent even more unappealing than himself," wrote Rubin. "Trump, however, never settled on an effective attack on Biden and, in any case, cannot stand ceding attention to anyone else. Trump’s performance, his lies, his antics, his insults, his crackpot conspiracy theories, his attacks on the media and his financial scandals have remained front and center. In other words, Trump’s raging narcissism has prevented him from doing what was necessary to give him a reasonable chance to win reelection."