Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaida suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called "water-boarding," which creates a sensation of drowning.Of course, this represents the first acknowledgement that the U.S. uses techniques that everyone else in the world defines as torture. In fact, we prosecuted Nazis for waterboarding their prisoners, so our current practices are hard to defend. There are consequences for these actions.
Cheney indicated that the Bush administration doesn't regard water-boarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said at one point in an interview.
Incidentally, the disclosure came as Cheney spoke with the only type of person he gives interviews to: sychophantish right wing radio talkshow hosts. What a tower of courage "Five-Deferments" Cheney is. I've always wondered at this strategy, personally. One of the most fun things about listening to conservative talk radio is when a caller, posessing even more radical views than the host himself usually espouses, encourages the host to heights of bigotry and facism not normally attained. It's a positive feedback thing, borne from the tribal desire to agree with those inside your group, and it can escalate things noticeably. That Cheney fell prey to the same thing and made an admission he hadn't intended to is not debateable.
But then they can't take the heat of their own opinions. Sad, really.
U.S. President George W. Bush said Friday the United States does not torture prisoners, commenting after U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney embraced the suggestion that a dunk in water might be useful to get terrorist suspects to talk.
Human rights groups complained that Cheney’s words amounted to an endorsement of a torture technique known as “water boarding,” in which the victim believes he is about to drown. The White House insisted Cheney was not talking about water boarding but would not explain what he meant.
Less than two weeks before midterm congressional elections, the White House was put on the defensive as news of Cheney’s remark spread. Bush was asked about it at a White House photo opportunity with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. Presidential spokesman Tony Snow was pelted with questions at two briefings with reporters.
So, despite the fact that Cheney clearly was referring to waterboarding, they have to issue denials. They have to try to walk it back. To do otherwise would remove all the grey from the issue, and the international community would be able to call us torturers without us being able to contest the point. It would be devastating, so they're forced to make fools of themselves by denying Cheney's own words.