Friday, January 28, 2005

DEPT. OF EXEGESIS President Bush is opposed to torture. But that doesn't mean he's ready to say anything bad about "cruel, inhumane and degrading" treatment:
Q Mr. President, I'd like to ask you about the Gonzales nomination, and specifically, about an issue that came up during it, your views on torture. You've said repeatedly that you do not sanction it, you would never approve it. But there are some written responses that Judge Gonzales gave to his Senate testimony that have troubled some people, and specifically, his allusion to the fact that cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of some prisoners is not specifically forbidden so long as it's conducted by the CIA and conducted overseas. Is that a loophole that you approve?

THE PRESIDENT: Listen, Al Gonzales reflects our policy, and that is we don't sanction torture. He will be a great Attorney General, and I call upon the Senate to confirm him.
So does President Bush believe it's permissible to waterboard overseas prisoners or doesn't he?

It's a simple question. Who has the courage to stand up and demand an answer?

UPDATE: An answer may not be needed after all.

This article from tomorrow's New York Times gives us just about all the information we need about the President's attitude toward waterboarding.

Unfortunately, the message he's sending isn't the one I was hoping to hear:

Michael Chertoff, who has been picked by President Bush to be the homeland security secretary, advised the Central Intelligence Agency on the legality of coercive interrogation methods on terror suspects under the federal anti-torture statute, current and former administration officials said this week.


One technique that C.I.A. officers could use under certain circumstances without fear of prosecution was strapping a subject down and making him experience a feeling of drowning.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.