How We Came to Torture

The deluge of torture news in recent days may have left you at something of a loss. As a remedy, Foreign Policy has assembled a useful timeline, “the ultimate guide to the Bush administration’s journey to the dark side.” Key dates: The CIA first “lays plans for secret overseas prisons and special interrogations” only six days after September 11. On July 17, 2002, Condoleezza Rice green lights the CIA’s interrogation of Abu Zubayda, a top Al Qaeda operative. That same month, Attorney General John Ashcroft concluded waterboarding is lawful, and Jay Bybee, then the head of the Office of Legal Council and now a federal judge, says waterboarding is legal. On August 1, 2002, John Yoo writes the “Bybee Memo,” which says that only pain equivalent to “organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death” is torture. That same month, Zubayda is waterboarded 80 times.