May 15, 2009

More Obama administration waffling on "torture"

Attorney General Eric Holder said that waterboarding those in the military during training isn't "torture" because the intent ... isn't to torture them. But then, wasn't the intent when waterboarding KSM et. al. not torture but ... information?

[Rep. Dan] Lungren [(R., CA) and the state's former attorney general] then switched gears to a line of questioning aimed at clarifying the Obama Justice Department’s definition of torture. In one of the rare times he gave a straight answer, Holder stated at the hearing that in his view waterboarding is torture. Lundgren asked if it was the Justice Department’s position that Navy SEALS subjected to waterboarding as part of their training were being tortured.

Holder: No, it’s not torture in the legal sense because you’re not doing it with the intention of harming these people physically or mentally, all we’re trying to do is train them —

Lungren: So it’s the question of intent?

Holder: Intent is a huge part.

Lungren: So if the intent was to solicit information but not do permanent harm, how is that torture?

Holder: Well, it… uh… it… one has to look at... ah… it comes out to question of fact as one is determining the intention of the person who is administering the waterboarding. When the Communist Chinese did it, when the Japanese did it, when they did it in the Spanish Inquisition we knew then that was not a training exercise they were engaging in. They were doing it in a way that was violative of all of the statutes recognizing what torture is. What we are doing to our own troops to equip them to deal with any illegal act — that is not torture.

Clear as mud. Then there was this exchange:

... Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), a former judge, continued the “intent” line of questioning in an attempt to make some sense of the attorney general’s tortured logic.

Rep. Louie Gohmert: Whether waterboarding is torture you say is an issue of intent. If our officers when waterboarding have no intent and in fact knew absolutely they would do no permanent harm to the person being waterboarded, and the only intent was to get information to save people in this country then they would not have tortured under your definition, isn’t that correct?

Attorney General Eric Holder: No, not at all. Intent is a fact question, it’s a fact specific question.

Gohmert: So what kind of intent were you talking about?

Holder: Well, what is the intention of the person doing the act? Was it logical that the result of doing the act would have been to physically or mentally harm the person?

Gohmert: I said that in my question. The intent was not to physically harm them because they knew there would be no permanent harm — there would be discomfort but there would be no permanent harm — knew that for sure. So, is the intent, are you saying it’s in the mind of the one being water-boarded, whether they felt they had been tortured. Or is the intent in the mind of the actor who knows beyond any question that he is doing no permanent harm, that he is only making them think he’s doing harm.

Holder: The intent is in the person who would be charged with the offense, the actor, as determined by a trier of fact looking at all of the circumstances. That is ultimately how one decides whether or not that person has the requisite intent.

Uh-huh. Got that?

Why not just say, Mr. Holder, "We'll call it 'torture' when we wish -- like when Republican administrations utilize it to "supposedly" garner information from terrorists that may save American lives -- because it will help us politically. (Unless, that is, a high Democrat official like Ms. Pelosi botches the whole scheme with miserable news conferences.)

It is NOT torture when Democrat administrations may make use of, say, waterboarding, because 1) they believe that waterboarding IS torture (unlike Republicans) but recognize that there may be instances when its use may be needed, and 2) our intentions ultimately are GOOD, and, after all, isn't that what's important?"

Posted by Hube at May 15, 2009 05:50 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

I got it. If you run over someone with you car deliberately,they are dead--but if you run over someone accidently,they are not dead.

Posted by: f floyd at May 17, 2009 08:32 PM