Another nasty veto...
US President George Bush says he has vetoed legislation that would stop the CIA using interrogation methods such as simulated drowning or "water-boarding".
He said he rejected the intelligence bill, passed by Senate and Congress, as it took "away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror".
The president said the CIA needed "specialised interrogation procedures" that the military did not.
Make no mistake: waterboarding is torture. All human rights organizations agree, as well as other nations and even the American FBI! Waterboarding simulates drowning and leaves the victim psychologically — and sometimes physically — damaged.
There is no reason for torture. This is not a fight between human rights and national security. Torturous interrogation techniques do not get reliable information, countless studies have confirmed this common sense notion. In addition, the declining perception of the US because of the use of torture leaves it more open for attack and helps terrorist recruiters.
The issue of the CIA lies in the fact that by not leaving it objective, the White House opened the door for flawed, politically-motivated intelligence reports such as the ones justifying the Iraq war. The CIA has had continual use as a dirty political tool in the 'war on terror', where it has tortured and detained innocent people without respect to US or international law, whether in Guantanamo, 'black sites', or cases of extraordinary rendition.
"This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe." Bush says. Mr. President, if I may counter. You have failed to produce any reliable evidence that torture has helped the United States. Yes, I know you don't use the exact term "torture". It's politically sticky. You stick to the euphemism "enhanced interrogation". Let's see how you would feel about having to stand up, shackled, for 40 hours or so, while being threatened by a CIA thug. Maybe that would change your mind about the true meaning of torture. You use the same justification for torture as you do for (previously) illegal domestic wiretapping: It has saved lives, it will save lives! We must counter the most dangerous terrorists! We must prevent another attack! While it is compelling for me to follow along with most Americans and politicians on your national security programs, you see, I have a respect for the law. I also recognize the fact that torturing terror suspects will get us nowhere in our fight against those who have wronged us.
The president's actions are inexcusable; this is one of the times I am seriously angry at George W. Bush and his ludicrous national security policies. Why can't he use at least one of his vetoes to cut spending like he has promised instead of fighting popular stem call initiatives or legalizing torture?