Wednesday, April 22, 2009

266 Times!

266! According to recently released CIA memos, that's how many times CIA operatives waterboarded two Al Qaeda suspects over the course of two months. Abu Zubaydah 83 times in August of 2002. Khalid Sheik Mohammed 183 times in March of 2003.

Let's be clear about something at the outset, these are bad guys. Mohammed is the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. I have no love for them - indeed what I feel is much closer to hate - but those emotions do not justify torture. As I've said before, we are suppose to be better than that. We are suppose to be an example of freedom and respect for human rights. We are not suppose to torture.

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The House of the Dead

Let's recap a little.

John McCain, a man who knows something about torture, says waterboarding is torture. (Although he does disagree with releasing the torture memos.)

Very high ranking Bush officials admit to authorizing the waterboarding of Mohammed.

When can we get down to prosecuting these people?

At least President Obama opened the door to torture prosecutions this week when he said Attorney General Holder is free to investigate people who authorized torture.

Let's hope this AG has more independence from the White House than the last one. Let's also hope he does what's right instead of what's politically expedient.


  1. The thought that our country can participate in torture is appalling. The Bush administration obviously gave no thought to the men and women fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while they were writing memos authorizing these tatics. Now that we have shredded the Geneva convention and approved torture as a way to get "information" our soldiers have no protections from the same treatment should they be taken as prisoners.

  2. If we're going to go after the Bush Administration, I would also like to see ALL of the members of Congress, including Democrats, who knewabout this, read the memos, and STILL condoned it. Let's punish everyone equally. While we're at it, let's go back to ALL previous administrations and dig up anything we can find about their treatment of hostile forces. Let's try to remember there were other Presidents besides George.

  3. Couldn't agree more about Congressional Dems. Those who knew and endorsed it should be held accountable.

    I don't know of any evidence of these types of tactics from previous administrations. But if it exists, and the responsible parties are still around, all options should be examined.