So big it's a war crime.
In some of his most candid comments since leaving the White House, former President George W. Bush said Wednesday he has no regrets about authorizing the controversial waterboarding technique to interrogate terrorist suspects and wouldn't hesitate to do so again.Too bad it didn't. Oh, did I mention that IT'S ILLEGAL?
"Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," the former president said during an appearance at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to the Grand Rapids Press.
"I'd do it again to save lives," he added.
From Dan Froomkin at the Huffingtonpost:
Waterboarding, a form of controlled drowning, is "unequivocably torture", said retired Brigadier General David R. Irvine, a former strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner of war interrogation and military law for 18 years.And then:
"As a nation, we have historically prosecuted it as such, going back to the time of the Spanish-American War," Irvine said. "Moreover, it cannot be demonstrated that any use of waterboarding by U.S. personnel in recent years has saved a single American life."
James P. Cullen, a retired brigadier general in the United States Army Reserve Judge Advocate General's Corps, told HuffPost that the net effect of Bush's remarks -- and former Vice President Cheney's before him -- is "to establish a precedent where it will be permissible to our enemies to use waterboarding on our servicemen in future wars.So in the future, some kid who's now in high school and who'll tonight be doing nothing more dangerous than fumbling around trying to figure out how to unhook his girlfriend's bra, is going to be tortured. His torturers will defend themselves by simply saying, "Yea, we tortured him and we'd do it again to save lives."
Cheney famously once agreed with an interviewer that "a dunk in the water" was "no-brainer" if it saves lives.
"This is not the last war we're going to fight," Cullen said. "Americans not yet born are going to be prisoners of war in those conflicts. And our enemies are going to be able to point back to President Bush and Vice President Cheney saying that waterboarding is OK.
"It's just shocking to me how he can be so flip about something that is so serious," Cullen said.
And we can have Bush to thank for that. Heckuva job you did there, dubya.
When can we expect a special prosecutor for this?