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Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Date:2007-10-06 12:16
Subject:"We do not 'torture'."

Watch yesterday's White House press briefing. It's breathtaking. Dana Perino categorically refuses to define "torture" — she simply repeats Bush's line, "We do not torture." And in response to requests for any kind of information, she immediately jumps to a false dichotomy, saying that it would be absurd to "tell exactly Al Qaeda what we're going to do".

And why were those memos secret? Her non-answer answer: "One of the reasons they are secret is because they need to be— they need to be cloaked in the classified system so that we can keep that information private."

1. I hope reporters will ask Perino why she is unable to tell the difference:

  • between giving Congressmembers with clearances a classified briefing and "telling everybody"
  • between giving a definition of "torture" and giving a list of specific interrogation techniques
  • between explaining how the Intelligence Committee was briefed, and revealing the actual contents of the briefing
2. I hope reporters start asking, "Bush says we don't torture? Fine — then what actions is he taking to prevent torture? How can he tell people not to torture if he won't say what torture is? How can he be confident that it isn't happening if he can't say what it is? What penalties are there for engaging in it? How are they being enforced?"

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