Magazine article The American Conservative

In His New Book Decision Points, Ex-President George W. Bush Confirms

Magazine article The American Conservative

In His New Book Decision Points, Ex-President George W. Bush Confirms

Article excerpt

In his new book Decision Points, ex-president George W. Bush confirms--"damn right," he says--that he personally authorized the waterboarding of al-Qaeda prisoners. The revelation raises some interesting questions. Nearly everyone but Bush and his accommodating Justice Department lawyers John Yoo and Jay Bybee believes that the practice is indeed torture. The British government has denounced the procedure and expressed the view that it never produced any useful intelligence.

Washington itself once regarded waterboarding as a very serious crime. During the U.S.-Philippine War (1899-1902), five Army officers were convicted by courts-martial for using it in interrogating Filipino prisoners. Army boards considered but rejected the defense of "military necessity," recognizing that the practice was torture. After World War II, German officers were imprisoned for waterboarding captured resistance fighters. Japanese military officers were executed for torture of prisoners that included waterboarding. …

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