Readers who e-mail me about torture sometimes submit these two seemingly contradictory propositions: (1) Water boarding isn't torture; and (2) without water boarding, the United States would have suffered a second visitation of 9/11.
I wonder if there's a way of eradicating the first proposition altogether. I'm guessing that most people who argue that waterboarding isn't torture have never experienced it. Rather than undertaking the experiment myself, I'd prefer to rely on my imagination, which tells me that waterboarding is a horrifying ordeal.
Barbarism and the law collide in war. Armed conflict is inherently terribly destructive. The law is a vital tool for mitigating the most brutal aspects of war. Both dimensions are present in the intensely politicized debate in Washington about torture.
Anti-war Democrats have pressed for release of classified information. Republican counterattacks include accusations that Democrats were fully briefed on use of waterboarding on prisoners during the Bush administration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denies this.
Top lawmakers on Sunday urged President Barack Obama to delay his January deadline to shut the Guantanamo Bay prison, arguing more time was needed to resolve complex issues vexing the closure.
"I think we ought to leave Guantanamo open. It's a 200 million dollar state-of-the-art facility. No one has ever escaped from there," argued Republican minority Senate leader Mitch McConnell.
The CIA director strongly rejected accusations the agency had misled US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about alleged torture of detainees amid a political uproar over the conduct of the "war on terror."
"Let me be clear: It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values," spy agency chief Leon Panetta said in a statement to Central Intelligence Agency employees.
Barack Obama warned Democrats in Congress against making a partisan cause out of the Bush administration's harsh interrogation tactics.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ignoring him — loudly — and the party, from the president on down, may pay the price.
So far, it's Pelosi who's suffered the greatest harm.
Is "torture" a bipartisan scandal?
The torture debate just got more torturous. Calls from prominent Democrats to investigate members of the Bush administration for authorizing torture are being answered with calls to investigate prominent Democrats who may have been briefed about "enhanced interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has been one of the most prominent officials calling for a "truth and reconciliation commission" to probe alleged Bush administration misdeeds in the course of waging the war on terrorism after 9/11.
President Barack Obama will restart military tribunals for a small number of Guantanamo detainees, reviving a Bush-era trial system he once assailed as flawed but with new legal protections for terror suspects, U.S. officials said.
The changes to the system, which will affect a small number of detainees, will be announced Friday.
Former top Bush White House aide Karl Rove, who has said he will cooperate with an investigation into the firing of U.S. attorneys, is scheduled to be interviewed by a special prosecutor, a lawyer familiar with the probe says.
The investigation is being conducted by a special prosecutor into whether Bush administration officials or congressional Republicans should face criminal charges in the dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006.
What do moms want?
Just before Mother's Day, author Megan Basham rightly took to task a host of commentators who essentially are cheering about how rising unemployment rates are "helping" women.
The logic goes like this: It's men who have experienced up to 80 percent of the job losses in this recession as sectors like financial services have been hardest hit. That means many wives are going back to work, or working longer hours -- and isn't that terrific for women?
New jobless claims rose more than expected last week due partly to an increase in layoffs by the automobile industry, while the number of people continuing to receive unemployment benefits set a record for the 15th straight week
The Labor Department said Thursday the number of new claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 637,000, from a revised 605,000 the previous week. That's above analysts' expectations of 610,000.