Bush Vetoes Ban on Waterboarding

Today in his radio address, President Bush announced that he had vetoed the Intelligence Authorization Act, which would ban the use of waterboarding and place the CIA’s interrogation program under the dictates of the U.S. Army Field Manual.

In the past few weeks, Bush administration officials have aggressively attempted to defend the CIA’s torture techniques. The most incredible statements came from spokeswoman Dana Perino and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell. On Feb. 14, Perino defended the veto decision by denigrating the experience of U.S. troops:

The Army Field Manual is a perfectly appropriate document that is important for young GIs, some so young that they’re not even able to legally get a drink in the states where they’re from.

Before the Senate Intelligence Committee that same day, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell echoed Perino’s comments, stating that the Army Field Manual is “designed for young and inexperienced” men and women in uniform.

ThinkProgress spoke with ret. Army Lt. Gen. Harry E. Soyster, who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) during DESERT SHIELD/STORM. He called Bush’s veto a “mistake”:

I think that he will be sending an unclear message to the troops. … Gen. Petraeus has made it very clear in his letter to the troops that the standard is the Army Field Manual.

Soyster also sharply criticized McConnell’s defense of the techniques:

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