Saturday, March 8, 2008

Back to the Middle Ages

President Bush reminded everyone today just how important it will be to vote in November, just in case anybody thought it was going to be safe to sit out this year's presidential election. The legislation Bush vetoed today would have barred the CIA from using invasive interrogation techniques, like waterboarding, that the rest of the world considers torture. Bush said in his weekly radio address that the harsh interrogations were "one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror" in announcing the veto, according to the Associated Press. "This is no time for Coingress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe," Bush said. Congress passed the ban last year on close votes in both houses, making an override of the president's veto unlikely. The bill would have limited the CIA to the 19 techniques specified in the Army Field Manual, which banned waterboarding and other sensory deprivations in 2006. The CIA's use of waterboarding, which simulates drowing, and other harsh techniques not permitted by the U.S. Army or the FBI has seriously impacted the country's image abroad and may violate treaty obligations. "Torture is a black mark against the United States," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California. Techniques prohibited by the field manual also include hooding prisoners, stripping them naked, forcing them to perform or mimic sexual acts, or beating, electrocuting, burning or otherwise physically hurting them. The CIA also prohibited waterboarding in 2006, except when approved by the president, and says it has not been used since the interrogations of three suspected al-Qaida terrorists in 2003.

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