Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Dowd: Torturing the Facts

Torturing the Facts - New York Times: "Just as Bill Clinton pranced around questions about marijuana use at Oxford during the '92 campaign by saying he had never broken the laws of his country, so Condoleezza Rice pranced around questions about outsourcing torture by suggesting that President Bush had never broken the laws of his country.

But in Bill's case, he was only talking about smoking a little joint, while Condi is talking about snatching people off the street and throwing them into lethal joints.

'The United States government does not authorize or condone torture of detainees,' she said.

It all depends on what you mean by 'authorize,' 'condone,' 'torture' and 'detainees.'

Ms. Rice also claimed that the U.S. did not transport terrorism suspects 'for the purpose of interrogation using torture.' But, hey, as Rummy likes to say, stuff happens.

The president said he was opposed to torture and then effectively issued regulations to allow what any normal person - and certainly a victim - would consider torture. Alberto Gonzales et al. have defined torture deviancy downward to the point where it's hard to imagine what would count as torture. Under this administration, prisoners have been hung by their wrists and had electrodes attached to their genitals; they've been waterboarded, exposed to extreme heat and cold, and threatened with death - even accidentally killed.

Does Ms. Rice think anyone is buying her loophole-riddled defense? Not with the Italians thinking of rounding up C.I.A. officers to ask them whether they abducted a cleric in Milan. And with Torquemada Cheney slouching around Capitol Hill trying to circumvent John McCain, legalizing torture at the C.I.A.'s secret prisons, by preventing Congress from requiring decent treatment for U.S. prisoners."


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