Tortured Logic

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 — President Bush, reacting to a Congressional uproar over the disclosure of secret Justice Department legal opinions permitting the harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, defended the methods on Friday, declaring, “This government does not torture people.”

Original movie poster.

Without confirming the existence of the memorandums or discussing the explicit techniques they authorized, Mr. Bush said the interrogation methods had been “fully disclosed to appropriate members of Congress.”

But his comments only provoked another round of recriminations on Capitol Hill, as Democrats ratcheted up their demands to see the classified memorandums, first reported Thursday by The New York Times.

“The administration can’t have it both ways,” Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement after the president’s remarks. “I’m tired of these games. They can’t say that Congress has been fully briefed while refusing to turn over key documents used to justify the legality of the program.”

In two separate legal opinions written in 2005, the Justice Department authorized the C.I.A. to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

The memorandums were written just months after a Justice Department opinion in December 2004 declared torture “abhorrent.”

Administration officials have confirmed the existence of the classified opinions, but will not make them public, saying only that they approved techniques that were “tough, safe, necessary and lawful.”


The administration has been extremely careful with information about the C.I.A. program, which had been reported in the news media but was, officially at least, a secret until Mr. Bush himself publicly disclosed its existence in September 2006.

At the time, the president confirmed that the C.I.A. had held 14 high-profile terrorism suspects — including the man thought to be the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — in secret prisons, but said the detainees had been transferred to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The 2005 Justice Department opinions form the legal underpinning for the program. On Friday, the director of the C.I.A., Gen. Michael V. Hayden also defended the program, in an e-mail message to agency employees.

From The Swamp at the Baltimore Sun:

The Bush administration does not condone torture.

Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, said so today.

“The policy of the United States is not to torture,” she said. “The president has not authorized it, he will not authorize it.”

She also declined to comment on specific questions about why the Justice Department reportedly had authorized head-slapping, fake drownings and freezings in the interrogation of suspected terrorists. But she did say that Americans want the government to protect them.

Well, if Dana the White House Spokesmodel Press Secretary says so! Anyone else?

From The Carpetbagger Report:

The president’s aides fanned out to deny, defend, and spin the revelations, but for my money, the most impressive argument came by way of Frances Fragos Townsend.

White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend also dismissed objections to the CIA program yesterday, saying during an appearance on CNN that al-Qaeda members are trained to resist harsh interrogations. She said that “we start with the least harsh measures first” and stop the progression “if someone becomes cooperative.”

Now, this is amazing for a couple of reasons. First, the notion of being trained to resist drownings has always seemed rather far-fetched. Unless al Qaeda has figured out a way to equip terrorists with gills, there isn’t much anyone can do to prepare for waterboarding.

But it’s that second part that’s particularly noteworthy. As Townsend described it, on national television, the painful physical and psychological tactics, which are unlawful, are suspended when the a detainee “becomes cooperative.” In other words, “We stop torturing when we get what we want out of the suspect.”

That’s not a defense for abuse; that’s insane. Townsend is arguing that we stop torturing people after they give us the intelligence we’ve beaten out of them? That’s supposed to make us feel better about abusive, illegal interrogation techniques?

With apologies to The Nation.


Filed under Abu Ghraib, Chimpy, CIA, Dana Perino, Frances Townsend, George W. Bush, Guantanamo, humor, Iraq War, Jay Rockefeller, Justice Department, Michael Hayden, movies, parody, politics, Senate Intelligence Committee, snark, Torture

12 responses to “Tortured Logic

  1. Friend of the court

    Bush believes that Congress has been fully “briefed”. He operates, strictly, on the need to know basis and he doesn’t think Congress needs to know much of anything. I he he fully briefed Congress, he would have to tell them that they are irrelevant.

  2. Friend of the court

    I typed the above before I was fully awake. Should have been, “If he fully briefed……” Maybe, mikk0 could smite it. Is he still moving? I have to move the computer to the other room, because the carpet has to come out from under it and the room needs patch and paint. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out if I could avoid moving the computer. No way, I must unplug and relocate.

  3. gottagrip

    I had a similar experience when my sister had new flooring put in her house. The floor guys were actually moving out furniture around me as I tried to get every last second of computer time before I had to unplug for several days. It was hell on earth for me.

    As to torture, I hope that Bush gets hauled away to the Hague for all his crimes. The sooner the better, I say…..

  4. Friend of the court

    Priorities, I had a long cable connection cord and was able to use cup hooks to string it along the wall above the doors. Then a few small blocks, to keep from shuting the door on the cord and cross my fingers and back on line. Fortune smiled. Unfortunately, I don’t even know where to start looking for a clean pair of socks. I will be “the floor guys”, work would have gone faster without bloggin’ but, I should surely have gone mad.

  5. nonnie9999

    i think that most of the torturing has been outsourced to all those wonderful companies that are private and have not had to answer to anyone. that way, chimpy can say that the u.s. doesn’t torture–we just pay for it.
    i don’t know what it worse–the horrors of home repair or not being able to get online to bitch about it.

  6. Friend of the court

    America tortures and the President lies about it. Still, some folks would like to have a beer with the decider. Even the stupidest Republican must know, by now, what these war criminals are doing.The people, who still support Bush, must think that torture is good. Makes it kind of hard to love thy neighbor. I wouldn’t know where to start, to try to change such a mind.

  7. nonnie9999

    the ironic thing is that i cannot think of a worse form of torture than having a beer with chimpy.
    you can’t change minds that are closed to change. don’t waste your efforts, fotc.

  8. Friend of the court

    It surpasses sad to see such things and it causes rage that will, “follow us home.” Bush continues to threaten America with the result of his own crimes. Sweet deal for the bad guys.

  9. nonnie9999

    they have all those laws that prohibit criminals from making money from their crimes. why is it that these guys can commit the most heinous crimes imaginable and then get to brag about how much money they made from them?

  10. Friend of the court

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the $$$s that they brag about, were only a small % of the total haul. There is much room for unreported income and swag in the regions which are occupied by our rulers.

  11. nonnie9999

    we would have to find their offshore accounts to figure out how much money they have actually made. then we have to find some supercomputer that can count that high.

  12. Pingback: Connecting News, Commentaries and Blogs at -