Bush Vetoes Waterboarding Ban
So what did I write late last night about human rights?
From the Wall Street Journal:
Bush Vetoes Waterboarding Ban – WSJ.com
March 8, 2008 10:13 a.m.
President Bush said Saturday he vetoed legislation that would ban the Central Intelligence Agency from using harsh interrogation methods such as waterboarding to break suspected terrorists because it would end practices that have prevented attacks.
“The bill Congress sent me would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror,” Mr. Bush said in his weekly radio address taped for broadcast Saturday. “So today I vetoed it.”
The bill provides guidelines for intelligence activities for the year and includes the interrogation requirement. It passed the House in December and the Senate last month.
“This is no time for Congress to abandon practices that have a proven track record of keeping America safe,” the president said. “Because the danger remains, we need to ensure our intelligence officials have all the tools they need to stop the terrorists.”
And from the New York Times:
Bush’s Veto of Bill on C.I.A. Tactics Affirms His Legacy – New York Times
March 9, 2008
By STEVEN LEE MYERS
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.
Mr. Bush vetoed a bill that would have explicitly prohibited the agency from using interrogation methods like waterboarding, a technique in which restrained prisoners are threatened with drowning and that has been the subject of intense criticism at home and abroad. Many such techniques are prohibited by the military and law enforcement agencies.
The veto deepens his battle with increasingly assertive Democrats in Congress over issues at the heart of his legacy. As his presidency winds down, he has made it clear he does not intend to bend in this or other confrontations on issues from the war in Iraq to contempt charges against his chief of staff, Joshua B. Bolten, and former counsel, Harriet E. Miers.
Mr. Bush announced the veto in the usual format of his weekly radio address, which is distributed to stations across the country each Saturday. He unflinchingly defended an interrogation program that has prompted critics to accuse him not only of authorizing torture previously but also of refusing to ban it in the future. “Because the danger remains, we need to ensure our intelligence officials have all the tools they need to stop the terrorists,” he said.
Mr. Bush’s veto — the ninth of his presidency, but the eighth in the past 10 months with Democrats in control of Congress — underscored his determination to preserve many of the executive prerogatives his administration has claimed in the name of fighting terrorism, and to enshrine them into law.