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PHM 2204 Lecture 17 Supplement 2

PHM 2204 Lecture 17 Supplement 2 - On Torture 2 Messages...

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On Torture, 2 Messages and a High Political Cost - New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/30/washington/30torture.html?_r=1&o... 1 of 3 10/30/2007 10:42 AM October 30, 2007 NEWS ANALYSIS On Torture, 2 Messages and a High Political Cost By SCOTT SHANE WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 — Six years after the Bush administration embraced harsh physical tactics for interrogating terrorism suspects, and two years after it reportedly dropped the most extreme of those techniques, the taint of torture clings to American counterterrorism efforts. The administration has a standard answer to queries about its interrogation practices: 1) We do not torture, and 2) we will not say what we do, for fear of tipping off future prisoners. In effect, officials want Al Qaeda to believe that the United States does torture, while convincing the rest of the world that it does not. But that contradictory catechism is not holding up well under the battering that American interrogation policies have received from human rights organizations, European allies and increasingly skeptical members of Congress. The administration does not acknowledge scaling back the Central Intelligence Agency ’s secret detention program, perhaps to avoid implying that earlier methods were immoral or illegal. President Bush has repeatedly defended what the administration calls “enhanced” interrogation methods, saying they have produced invaluable information on Al Qaeda. But the administration’s strategy has exacted an extraordinary political cost. The nomination of Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general, once expected to sail through the Senate, has run into trouble as a result of his equivocation about waterboarding, or simulated drowning. Mr. Mukasey has refused to characterize the technique as torture, which would put him at odds with secret Justice Department legal opinions and could put intelligence officers in legal jeopardy.
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