President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that the United States “crossed a line” and tortured al Qaeda detainees after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The comments at a White House news conference were the President’s strongest on the controversial subject since he came into office denouncing what he described as the Bush years of torturing alleged terrorists, also known as “enhanced interrogation.”
“When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line,” Obama said. “And that needs to be … understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that hopefully we don’t do it again in the future.”
Well, this fair-minded person doesn’t believe water-boarding or sleep deprivation constitute torture. I don’t think any training method we use on our own special ops trainees constitutes torture. We can disdain them, we can elect not to use them, but shame on he who demagogues over them:
“After I took office, one of the first things I did was to ban some of the extraordinary interrogation techniques that are the subject of that report,” Obama said Friday. “And my hope is that this report reminds us once again that, you know, the character of our country has to be measured in part not by what we do when things are easy, but what we do when things are hard.”
In April 2009, Obama reiterated his position that waterboarding amounted to torture and “violates our ideals and our values.”
I’ve already stated my position. KSM ought to have been waterboarded. I’m proud that we did so. I’m not privy to the intelligence we gained, but I expect we got plenty. And that lives were saved because of it. That doesn’t violate my ideals or values in the least. And KSM is still alive and kicking.
PS: We all know Obama’s preferred expression of our ideals and values: summary execution by Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone.