George Bush is on a new "mission" now since he's out of office and is trying to restore his name after he did so much to destroy it. Watching him last night instead was a vivid reminder of how awful a President he was. So much for the image makeover.
I cringed when I heard his tale about the "fetus jar." I wonder if he read most of what was in his own book? In his NBC special called 'Decision Points" he tried to explain away why America tortured people. (Oh, have you wondered why FOX didn't get the first exclusive? Maybe the answer comes from the publishers, but you know Dick Cheney would never have agreed to that.)
Anyway, Cheney knew that if he stacked the OLC with his sycophants like David Addington then he'd get the rulings he needed to do whatever the executive branch wanted, which has been well documented. Jack Goldsmith blew the whistlel on them many times. Matt Lauer asked him about the legality of waterboarding and he replied that he's no lawyer after all. Heck, I'm only a Texan. Hee haw!
There's plenty about Bush's tenure to discuss, but for now let's just stick to the most heinous topic: Torture.
LAUER: Why is waterboarding legal, in your opinion?
BUSH: Because the lawyer said it was legal. He said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act. I'm not a lawyer., but you gotta trust the judgment of people around you and I do.
LAUER: You say it's legal. "And the lawyers told me."
LAUER: Critics say that you got the Justice Department to give you the legal guidance and the legal memos that you wanted.
LAUER: Tom Kean, who a former Republican co-chair of the 9/11 commission said they got legal opinions they wanted from their own people.
BUSH: He obviously doesn't know. I hope Mr. Kean reads the book. That's why I've written the book. He can, they can draw whatever conclusion they want. But I will tell you this. Using those techniques saved lives. My job is to protect America and I did.
LAUER: You talk about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. There's another guy you write about in the book, Abu Zabeta, another high profile terror suspect. He was waterboarded. By the way, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, according to most reports, 183 times. This guy was waterboarded more than 80 times. And you explain that his understanding of Islam was that he had to resist interrogation up to a certain point and waterboarding was the technique that allowed him to reach that threshold and fulfill his religious duty and then cooperate. And you have a quote from him. "You must do this for all the brothers." End quote.
BUSH: Yeah. Isn't that interesting?
LAUER: Abu Zabeta really went to someone and said, "You should waterboard all the brothers?
BUSH: He didn't say that. He said, "You should give brothers the chance to be able to fulfill their duty." I don't recall him saying you should water-- I think it's-- I think it's an assumption in your case.
LAUER: Yeah, I-- when "You must do this for--"
LAUER: …"All the brothers." So to let them get to that threshold?
BUSH: Yeah, that's what-- that's how I interpreted. I-- look, first of all we used this technique on three people. Captured a lot of people and used it on three. We gained value-- information to protect the country. And it was the right thing to do as far as I'm concerned.
LAUER: So if-- if it's legal, President Bush, then if an American is taken into custody in a foreign country, not necessarily a uniformed--
BUSH: Look, I --
BUSH: I'm not gonna the issue, Matt. I, I really--
LAUER: I'm just asking. Would it be okay for a foreign country to waterboard an American citizen?
BUSH: It's all I ask is that people read the book. And they can reach the same conclusion. If they'd have made the same decision I made or not.
Islam made them do it! I'm sure some of our troops will be handed a copy of Bush's book after they are captured and be asked to read a few pages before they get waterboarded too. What a comfort for our men and women to know it's all there in black and white.
What an egomaniac. Bush is trying to soft-pedal his most egregious decisions with his book and media tour, but nothing can help him there. That's why he was tucked in his basement by the GOP until after the midterms. He says he had to trust the legal team. Bollocks.
Waterboarding has always been considered torture, period. It's not just a legal issue -- it's a moral one. And on that score, Bush obviously had no compass to guide him.