ACLU, far leftists wet pants – renew calls to prosecute Bush on ‘torture admission’ basis

Posted by: ST on November 12, 2010 at 11:33 am

Decision PointsIn President Bush’s new book Decision Points, the former prez. defends his decision to authorize the use of the enhanced interrogation technique called “waterboarding” in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, and while he’s been out promoting the book on various TV talk show outlets he’s continued to strongly defend that decision. The technique, used a total of 3 times between 2001 and 2005 in isolated instances – including on admitted terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – became a rallying cry for the anti-war movement in its relentless quest to have Bush and his administration tried for “war crimes” on the basis that they were gleefully violating the Geneva conventions in the pursuit of unlimited executive power.

Those calls became somewhat muted about a year after President Obama was sworn into office as the Obama DOJ made clear that no such prosecutions were going to take place. The zealous “BusHitler” crowd has been lurking in wait for that perfect opportunity to push this issue onto the front burner again, and now they think they have it. The the HuffPo reports (via Memeorandum):

The American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday joined a growing chorus in the human rights community calling for a special prosecutor to investigate whether former president George W. Bush violated federal statutes prohibiting torture.

In his new memoir and ensuing book tour, Bush has repeatedly admitted that he directly authorized the waterboarding of three terror suspects. Use of the waterboard, which creates the sensation of drowning, has been an iconic and almost universally condemned form of torture since the time of the Spanish Inquisition.

Except for a brief period during which a handful of Bush administration lawyers insisted that the exigencies of interrogating terror suspects justified its use, waterboarding has always been considered illegal by the Justice Department. It is also a clear violation of international torture conventions.

The ACLU is urging Attorney General Eric Holder to ask Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate Bush.

French columnist Jean-François Lisée writes if the US won’t prosecute Bush, 145 other countries should:

“Former President George W. Bush not only admits – he boasts – of having authorized the practice of known as waterboarding. A total of 145 other countries are signatories to the U.N. Convention Against Torture. And all have committed to enforcing its provisions, even against offenders residing in other territories. … If the Spain tribunal were to condemn him, even in absentia, he would then be subject to the mutual extradition treaty in force among 24 European countries.”

The ultra-far left PERRspectives website slithers into the debate:

Sadly, torture enthusiast [Rep. Peter] King has it exactly backwards. Enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding almost certainly don’t save lives, as the British government confirmed in rejecting Bush’s claims this week. And the damage done by breaking U.S. law, violating international treaty agreements, shaming the United States worldwide and providing a powerful propaganda victory for Al Qaeda will be difficult if impossible to reverse.

Spin Blvd. - Truth Ave.Because I’m anxious to get to the heart of the matter with respect to the allegations that Bush is a war criminal, I’m going to ignore the fact that there is no such thing as “almost certainly.” I’m also going to ignore the fact that the British government “confirmed” no such thing with respect to whether or not the waterboarding technique saved lives – they merely said there was “no evidence” to back up Bush’s claim (which isn’t true; I’ll get to that in a minute). I’m also going to ignore the fact that the only “propaganda victories” for Al Qaeda during the Bush administration were the ones handed to them eagerly by Bush-hating leftist nitwits like this bonehead at PERRspectives and others who painted the Bush administration – and our military men and women – as power-hungry, bloodthirsty, war-for-oil mongers whose sole purpose in waging the global war on terror was not to protect innocents here at home and abroad, but instead to satisfy their bloodlust for money, power, and vengeance … at any expense.

I’m also going to ignore the fact that no one who advocated the use of waterboarding in isolated incidents is a “torture enthusiast” any more so than leftists who support abortion are “baby-killing enthusiasts”, although in the latter instance a case could be made by some that that is an accurate description of the likes of NOW, especially when you consider the fact that a whole lot more unborn babies have been aborted than terrorists waterboarded. But I digress …

Anyway, as to the claim that waterboarding “almost certainly” does not save lives. Wrong. I wrote about this in April 2009:

Critics of EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques) like Andrew Sullivan and Slate’s Tim Noah are spreading false and/or incomplete information about the fact that the waterboarding of KSM led to the disruption of the LA Library Tower terror plot. They point to information suggesting that the plot was broken up before KSM was in US custody.

They’re right. Sort of.

In actuality, there were two plots against the LA Library Tower – it was the second one that was broken up thanks to KSM’s singing after he was waterboarded. The LA Times reported this in October 2005, but former Bush admin official Marc Thiessen, who worked in various capacities for Bush – including speechwriting – has been a pit bull on the issue, writing several times at the National Review Online site to debunk the critics who are saying that EITs “don’t work.” He also wrote a piece that appeared in the Washington Post a week ago talking about how EITs were essential in stopping the second plot against LA. Thiessen’s got even more details on the disrupted “Second Wave” plot here.

The far left’s arguments go something like this: Waterboarding is “torture” and “torture” is forbidden by the Geneva conventions. And even if it wasn’t forbidden by the Geneva conventions, it doesn’t work.

KSMWell, I know – and you know – for a fact that it does indeed work, as the case of KSM clearly demonstrates. Also, think about this: Remember that “memo” that the left crowed about for years that Bush received prior to 9-11, the so-called “smoking gun memo” that allegedly proved (in reality, it didn’t) that “Bush knew” and did nothing to stop 9-11? Then think about the plots on the LA Library Tower and how they were disrupted, one of them thanks to a “controversial” technique authorized by the Bush administration to use in rare instances where the interrogators believed they could effectively get information from a suspect with the use of that technique in the event that other techniques didn’t work. What would have happened had the attack taken place, with thousands more killed? The left would have looked for “smoking gun” evidence again that “Bush knew” and did nothing. Fortunately, thanks to his authorization of the use of the waterboarding technique, the US government DID KNOW. And they stopped it. But don’t tell that to far leftists. You just can’t win with these clueless idiots. You really can’t.

As to whether or not waterboarding is indeed “illegal” under the Geneva conventions, I’ll leave that to the experts to debate. But let’s assume for five minutes that the authorization of the use of waterboarding was “illegal.” I’m sure I’ve not been the first to ask this but “Who cares?” (Yeah, liberals – you can quote me on that.) When it comes to the safety and security of our nation, a Commander in Chief’s PRIMARY responsibility is to protect US citizens from foreign aggressions, and sometimes that’s going to mean that he may feel its necessary to step outside of the bounds of “international law” when “international law” interferes with his chief obligation under US law to protect this country. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try to follow the “rules of war” as we expect other countries to do, but it IS to say that the CIC is not always going to bind himself 100% to any so-called “international law” that he feels could inadvertently cause harm to the American people.

President Bush - 2001 InauguralContra to the left’s absurd claims about how the Bush administration, specifically the DOJ and other admin legal advisers, excitedly recommended any controversial counterterrorism technique in the name of bloodlust and power, there was actually an extensive debate within as to how to effectively and legally prosecute the war on terror both home and abroad within the bounds of the President’s authority as the Commander in Chief and First Defender of the United States. Some techniques were rejected. Some were accepted and authorized. The adminstration even unofficially stopped the use of waterboarding after 2005 (which hasn’t stopped the left from demagoguing them about it). And one thing that cannot be overstated in all of this is the timeframe these discussions were being held: in the months and years after 9-11, when all that was on anyone’s mind was preventing another horrific terror attack on American citizens.

George W. Bush had to wake up every morning after 9-11 knowing that 3,000 innocents were savagely murdered on American soil on his watch on a beautiful September morning. God knows he wasn’t perfect in the aftermath of 9-11, and some of the decisions he and his administration made were not always the right ones, but anyone not swimming in the hate cesspool and who even has half a brain can see that everything that both he and his administration tried to do after 9-11 was done solely with the intent to protect you, me, and millions of innocents -not just here, but all over the world. This is what real leaders do during a crisis. They lead. They decide. And then they act.

Contrast President Bush’s actions and alleged “violations of international law” with the actions of the great FDR, who interned over 100,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII, and Honest Abe, who suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. Both of these were blatant violations of US law – aka the CONSTITUTION – yet history has not, in retrospect, judged these men as “war criminals” but instead as great wartime leaders who acted in the best interests of the American people even though some of their decisions were not always right nor legal.

The same will be said one day about George W. Bush. But don’t hold your breath waiting for it to be said by “historians” and “experts” and Harvard-esque “professors” and “human rights” advocates. Today, as has been the case from day one of the Bush adminstration, they’ve never, ever let the a pesky thing like the facts get in the way of a good old-fashioned hate-filled extremist rant. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for history to do its thing in order for us to judge these self-important nitwits, do we?

Phineas jumps in: ST has ably skewered the “Bush is a war criminal” nonsense, and I have little to add. However, the issue of using waterboarding to uncover the “second wave” attacks, the planning of which were well underway, is a personal one for me, since I live in the intended target: Los Angeles. I will, however, link to a post I wrote last year that may be of interest: I’m glad they tortured him. (And I still am, too.)

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14 Responses to “ACLU, far leftists wet pants – renew calls to prosecute Bush on ‘torture admission’ basis”


  1. NC Cop says:

    I’ve almost finished reading Thiessen’s book “Courting Disaster” and it is a MUST read for anyone interested in this topic.

    In the Obama adminstrations rush to keep the attention focused on Bush, they declassified thousands of pages of intelligence that allowed Thiessen to completely debunk any and all of the left’s hysterical rants.

    This, much like the political left, is an irrelevant topic.

    Please move on, lefties.

  2. Phineas says:

    NC Cop:

    I just finished Thiessen’s book a couple of weeks ago and I agree: it’s must-reading for anyone interested in this issue. His discussion of the moral aspects of the use of “enhanced techniques” particularly stuck with me.

    Must get around to doing a review of that book…

  3. Rusty says:

    The problem with this post is that it avoids the obvious: that Bush’s waterboarding was BOTH moral/the right thing to do AND a violation of law. It’s like saying “not only was Martin Luther King Jr. right to sit at that lunch counter, he wasn’t violating ANY Jim Crow law when he did.” Go ahead and urge that the U.S. leave the Geneva Convention, or at least pass a law reserving an exemption for cases such as post-9/11. Go ahead and accuse the left of hypocrisy. But have some respect for the rule of law and objective truth, because waterboarding is torture.

  4. Dennis D says:

    If I could save on American life by torturing a terrorist. All I can say is

    Attach the red wire to the battery. Ground the black wire and have him remove his underwear.

  5. Not Likely says:

    Nice to know that in your world only “far leftists” are concerned about the United States torturing people.

    Pro-tip: most civilized people find your position despicable.

  6. John says:

    Idiots, all of you.


    Chase J. Nielsen, one of the U.S. airmen who flew in the Doolittle raid following the attack on Pearl Harbor, was subjected to waterboarding by his Japanese captors.[108] At their trial for war crimes following the war, he testified “Well, I was put on my back on the floor with my arms and legs stretched out, one guard holding each limb. The towel was wrapped around my face and put across my face and water poured on. They poured water on this towel until I was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let up until I’d get my breath, then they’d start over again… I felt more or less like I was drowning, just gasping between life and death.”[35]

    The United States hanged Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American prisoners of war.[109]

    No one is above the law in this country, period.

  7. NC Cop says:

    But have some respect for the rule of law and objective truth, because waterboarding is torture.

    I disagree.

    Pro-tip: most civilized people find your position despicable.

    Imagine what that means to me?

  8. Phineas says:


    But have some respect for the rule of law and objective truth, because waterboarding is torture.

    Please don’t take this as a smart-ass reply; I mean it as genuine suggestion. Borrow or buy a copy of Thiessen’s book, read chapter 5 (“Tough, Not Torture”), and then explain to me how waterboarding or any of the other enhanced techniques legally amount to torture. If you still believe they are, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

    Not Likely:

    Pro-tip: most civilized people find your position despicable.

    How’s the view from that high horse you’re on? And let me ask you: It was only through waterboarding that we learned at least 2-3 active plots, which could have killed thousands. So, how many people were you willing to let die in follow-on attacks to 9/11, just to keep thinking of yourself as civilized?

  9. NC Cop says:

    Idiots, all of you.

    Oh, John, what an intelligent way to open a dialogue!! We’re used to people like you, though, so it’s nothing new. Let’s take a look at your “post” shall we?

    The United States hanged Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American prisoners of war.[109]

    Wrong, John, they were hanged for far more than waterboarding. Observe:

    Nielsen and his fellow prisoners, who were taken to Tokyo, were beaten and tortured while being interrogated. Among other things, Nielsen
    said in interviews, bamboo splints were shoved under his fingernails and then lighted on fire, and the bottoms of his feet were burned with
    hot coals.

    Hmmm, bamboo splints under the fingernails, lit on fire, and bottom of his feet burned with hot coals. Just a tad bit more than simple waterboarding, eh John? The fact is that NO Japanese soldier was executed just for waterboarding. Japanese torture was brutal, lethal, painful and some of the most brutal ever witnessed before. Stop trying to say it’s the same as what was done with 3 Al Qaeda terrorists. Equating the two is just dishonest and ignorant.

    If you would have read “Courting Disaster” you would see that this was something that Bush conferred with his lawyers about extensively. I don’t believe the Japanese did that. There was a clear chain of command during the use of this technique by the U.S. and it was supervised at all times with a doctor standing by. I don’t believe the Japanese did that.

    Let’s not forget that our OWN troops get waterboarded during SERE training. Hundreds of them undergo it every year, yet I don’t hear people like you crying about THEIR torture. If it’s done to our troops without permanent or painful results, how is this wrong to do to terrorists hell bent on killing us?

    Finally, I remember reading a part of the book that talked about Christopher Hitchens getting waterboarded in order to prove how horrible and torturous it was. After only a few seconds, Hitchens had to call it quits. Then after that he did something very strange….he requested to be waterboarded again to see if he could hold out longer.

    Yes sir! If I were undergoing something so horrible, painful and torturous I would certainly ask to undergo it AGAIN!!!

    Oh, and finally John, you may want to start getting your information from somewhere other than Wikipedia. You may actually learn something and not look quite so foolish.

  10. Noelie says:

    John, can you point out one group of Japanese that “ONLY” waterboarded US soldiers?
    Please, they were executed for doing far worse. The Japanese were a special breed of ruthless those days, that only ignorant, history-poor leftists like yourself ignore. You aren’t excited about this to the point of histrionics because its against some law you can’t point to, but because Bush’s Admin did it. If it was Jolly Prince “IWON”, you wouldn’t be saying a word. Get over yourself.

  11. kbob in Katy says:

    Waterboarding MUST be torture, after all, making AQ wear womens skivvies on their heads was torture.

    For all those who think it is torture, would it still be torture if it was your child or spouse who would die because someone would not talk? My family and friends, my country and my freedom mean more than the life of anyone who would try to take that from me.

    yeah, I am an uncivil cretin, but try to hurt things important to me and I will do everything in my power to terminate that person or group of people with extreme prejudice. Multiple tours in theaters of combat have shown me that the enemy is ruthless, uncivil and not respectful of the law of war. My civility has been painful and costly. I will play by their rules next time.

  12. # 10 is right. it is not what was done it was who did it. look how many peace demonstration there are now. look how the media splashes them all over the front pages and the television news. look how times diane feinstein and barbara boxer charge violations of the geneva convention in the last two years. all of the left’s complaints worldwide are based on one word. BUSH.

  13. Jo says:

    Uhm . . . guess I’m just an ignorant rube but I vividly recall standing in my living room on 9/11 and watching people jumping to their deaths from extremely high windows to avoid burning to death–not soldiers in full protective gear trained to counter-attack but innocent Americans going through their work day. I stay attuned to the calls for similar attacks from these radical cult-following barbarians and know that at some time in the future, it could happen again and perhaps to people I personally know and love. I just love how all of the self-righteous Lefties come flying to the defense of cretins hell-bent on destroying our nation but cry FOUL! every time the name of God is uttered in a public gathering, a school classroom or national event. Those of us with some basic common sense know who the enemies are and will uphold ANY techniques to thwart their mission, LIBTARDS.

  14. Kate says:

    I agree with Jo…when offensives are planned and executed against the general public we have a serious need for intensified methods of obtaining information.

    There really is no comparison of the current use of waterboarding by US intelligence officials and that of the Japanese during WWII. I highly doubt that there were doctors and others who observed that the interrogation was done within “certain” parameters….one of those being that the person did not suffer more than psychological fear and no permanent physical wounds when employed by the Japanese.

    We all hear stories of the horrible vile torture done by the Japanese in prisoner of war camps…thereby violating the Geneva Convention. We can also recount of those of the North Vietnamese…and who do you think was flocking to N. Vietnam DURING the war? It certainly wasn’t a right wing extremist was it?