Yesterday, former President Jimmy Carter went on record stating the United States tortures prisoners in violation of international law.
But first some background: The New York Times disclosed on October 4th the existence of secret Justice Department memorandums supporting the use of "harsh interrogation techniques", including "head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures."
In response to The Times article, President Bush defended the techniques last Friday and said, "This government does not torture people."
Yesterday, Carter went on CNN and all but called the President a liar.
The CNN interview was conducted by Wolf Blitzer, no friend of Carter's:
I suppose this means presidents no longer lie -- they merely "self-define". Yet, whatever one might think of his euphemisms, Carter pretty much stated what the world knows -- the US is torturing prisoners and the Administration is bullshitting. Carter, it seems, is one politician who is being honest with us -- and he's likely to get crucified for it.
BLITZER: President Bush said as recently as this week the United States does not torture detainees.
CARTER: That's not an accurate statement. If you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored, certainly in the last 60 years, since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated. But you can make your own definition of human rights and say, we don't violate them. And we can — you can make your own definition of torture and say we don't violate it.
BLITZER: But by your definition, you believe the United States, under this administration, has used torture.
CARTER: I don't think it, I know it, certainly.
BLITZER: So is the president lying?
CARTER: The president is self-defining what we have done and authorized in the torture of prisoners, yes.
After the CNN interview, Carter went on BBC World News America. This time his target was Dick Cheney:
He's a militant who avoided any service of his own in the military and he has been most forceful in the last 10 years or more in fulfilling some of his more ancient commitments that the United States has a right to inject its power through military means in other parts of the world.
You know he's been a disaster for our country. I think he's been overly persuasive on President George Bush and quite often he's prevailed.At the rate he's going, I'm definitely going to miss Carter when he passes on. The man was a failed president, but I think he has since redeemed himself through his moral activism as an ex-president. Basically, he's turned himself into a statesman. And whether one agrees with him or not, one most likely does not get the impression that Jimmy Carter is hiding what he genuinely thinks or feels.
A couple more quotes from Carter -- this time on the GOP candidates for president:
They all seem to be outdoing each other in who wants to go to war first with Iran, who wants to keep Guantanamo open longer and expand its capacity -- things of that kind.Yesterday, Jimmy Carter spoke more truth to the world in two interviews than the Bush Administration speaks in twenty.
They're competing with each other to appeal to the ultra-right-wing, war-mongering element in our country, which I think is the minority of our total population.
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