Sunday, March 09, 2008


GWB: You see, I like waterboarding. I used to ski on my board every summer. It's fun and relaxing to waterboard.
REPORTER: But Mr. President, what about torture?
GWB: Didn't need no torch. I did my waterboarding during the day.


Published: March 9, 2008
New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Saturday further cemented his legacy of fighting for strong executive powers, using his veto to shut down a Congressional effort to limit the Central Intelligence Agency’s latitude to subject terrorism suspects to harsh interrogation techniques.

The Senate’s majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said Mr. Bush disregarded the advice of military commanders, including Gen. David H. Petraeus, who argued that the military’s interrogation techniques were effective and that the use of any others could create risks for any future American prisoners of war.

“He has rejected the Army field manual’s recognition that such horrific tactics elicit unreliable information, put U.S. troops at risk and undermine our counterinsurgency efforts,” Mr. Reid said in a statement. Democrats vowed to raise the matter again.

Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been an outspoken opponent of torture, often referring to his own experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In this case he supported the administration’s position, arguing as Mr. Bush did Saturday that the legislation would have limited the C.I.A.’s ability to gather intelligence.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, disputed that assertion on Saturday. “As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I have heard nothing to suggest that information obtained from enhanced interrogation techniques has prevented an imminent terrorist attack,” he said in a statement.

Representative Bill Delahunt, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has been holding hearings on the administration’s negotiations with Iraq over the legal status of American troops in Iraq beyond Mr. Bush’s presidency. He said the administration had rebuffed demands to bring any agreement to Congress for approval, and had largely succeeded.

“They’re excellent at manipulating the arguments so that if Congress should assert itself, members expose themselves to charges of being soft, not tough enough on terrorism,” he said. “My view is history is going to judge us all.”

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