I had given up writing about torture for awhile, mainly because I’ve stated my views repeatedly and couldn’t be plainer. But since President Bush talked about it at a press conference yesterday in Panama, I feel the need to bring it up again. Here’s what he said when asked whether he supports Dick Cheney’s attempts to exempt the CIA from any ban on torture:
Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. The executive branch has the obligation to protect the American people; the legislative branch has the obligation to protect the American people. And we are aggressively doing that. We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture.
First of all, as we all know, the last sentence is a lie. There’s a story about a detainee in Iraq who died during interrogation in this week’s New Yorker. Here’s a paragraph:
Two years ago, at Abu Ghraib prison, outside Baghdad, an Iraqi prisoner in Swanner’s custody, Manadel al-Jamadi, died during an interrogation. His head had been covered with a plastic bag, and he was shackled in a crucifixion-like pose that inhibited his ability to breathe; according to forensic pathologists who have examined the case, he asphyxiated. In a subsequent internal investigation, United States government authorities classified Jamadi’s death as a “homicide,