By Will Shonbrun
The President leaned forward on the podium and stared into the TV camera’s eye, then deliberately and emphatically said to the country and the rest of the world, “The United States does not torture. It’s against our laws and it’s against our values. I have not authorized it and I will not authorize it.” He stated unequivocally, “We do not torture.” This was in 2005. It was an out and out lie then as it is now.
It’s possible that the former President lied so convincingly because he’d tasked his Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, and attorneys in the Office of Legal Council including John Yoo, Jay Bybee and David Addington, among others, to change the legal definition of torture and to set “legal” parameters of so-called “enhanced methods” regarding the treatment and interrogation of suspected terrorist detainees labeled broadly as “enemy combatants.” At the same time these attorneys were charged with creating a legal framework for the Bush Administration to bypass the legal restrictions pertaining to the treatment of prisoners-of-war as defined by Geneva III articles (Geneva Conventions of 1949), the U.S. signed Convention Against Torture and other laws defining and prohibiting torture. So when Bush looked into the eyes of his fellow countrymen and the other nations of the world he might have convinced himself at that and later such televised appearances that he was telling the truth. Of course what Bush overlooked was the fact that the enhanced interrogation program was put into operation as early as 2002, before there was even the attempt to make it justifiably legal. It’s not possible to know what was true or not in this man’s mind, but in any event it’s totally irrelevant. Actions of despicable cruelty, sadistic brutality and torture, some instances resulting in the death of detainees, were conducted because the President, the Vice-President and some of the other higher-ups in his administration ordered it and set it in motion.
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