Antithodoxy

Condoleezza Rice on waterboarding

A student at Stanford University filmed this exchange between Condoleezza Rice and two students who questioned her at a reception last week. When asked if waterboarding is torture, Condoleezza replied, “The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the Convention Against Torture. So that’s — and by the way, I didn’t authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency.”

Here is the video:

Maureen Dowd wrote about the incident in her New York Times column:

“By definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture,” Ms. Rice said, almost quoting Nixon’s logic: “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

She also stressed that, “Unless you were there in a position of responsibility after Sept. 11, you cannot possibly imagine the dilemmas that you faced in trying to protect Americans.”

Reyna Garcia, a Stanford sophomore who videotaped the exchange, said of Condi’s aria, “I wasn’t completely satisfied with her answers, to be honest,” adding that “President Obama went ahead and called it torture and she did everything she could not to do that.”

As Mr. Obama said in his news conference, it is in moments of crisis that a country must cleave to its principles. Asserting that “waterboarding violates our ideals,” he said he had been struck by an article describing how Churchill would not torture prisoners even when “London was being bombed to smithereens.”

“And the reason was that Churchill understood, you start taking shortcuts and over time, that corrodes what’s best in a people,” he said. “It corrodes the character of a country.”

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May 5, 2009 Posted by | politics | , , | Leave a comment