Cheney confirms waterboarding of detainees

The TPM Muckraker spots and item that almost slipped through the memory hole: On Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney told a conservative radio host that the US waterboards detainees:

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaida suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called "water-boarding," which creates a sensation of drowning.

Cheney indicated that the Bush administration doesn't regard water-boarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said at one point in an interview.

Cheney's comments, in a White House interview on Tuesday with a conservative radio talk show host, appeared to reflect the Bush administration's view that the president has the constitutional power to do whatever he deems necessary to fight terrorism.
David Corn explains what waterboarding looks like. The image on the right, taken from Corn's article, is a waterboarding apparatus used by the Khmer Rough to torture prisoners in Cambodia.

Notice the venue and timing of Cheney's revelation. After hedging for months about whether the administration condones waterboarding, the VP drops the bomb on a conservative radio show just before the mid-term elections.

It's a perfect little bit of political theater: Remind the base how tough you are and hope that your opponents aren't paying attention. That's what torture is all about anyway. It's not a real intelligence gathering tool, it's a branding element. That's right folks, we're destroying our constitution for the sake of a marketing campaign.

[TPM Muckraker, David Corn]
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