How Bush Approved Torture

Ignorance is not always bliss. According to The Washington Post, “Intelligence and military officials under the Bush administration began preparing to conduct harsh interrogations long before they were granted legal approval to use such methods—and weeks before the CIA captured its first high-ranking terrorism suspect.” Once the administration did actually get around to approving the techniques, The New York Times reports its members reasoned “They could get tough in terrorist interrogations without risking legal trouble by adopting a set of methods used on Americans during military training. How could that be torture? … This extraordinary consensus was possible, an examination by The New York Times shows, largely because no one involved — not the top two C.I.A. officials who were pushing the program, not the senior aides to President George W. Bush, not the leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees — investigated the gruesome origins of the techniques they were approving with little debate.” Many did not know that waterboarding had been prosecuted in war-crimes trials after WWII, or that the military-training program was started to teach soldiers the methods of torture used by the Communists in the Korean War.