Speaking in Grand Rapids, Michigan, last week, the former president acknowledged that "Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," adding that he would "do it again to save lives."
Put aside the dubious idea that waterboarding has saved any lives, or might in the future. Not only did Bush confess to a horrific, and prosecutable, crime with his statement; he also undermined Barack Obama's attempts to undo the harm our torture has caused to America's interests, reputation, and safety.
When Obama, on his second day in office, banned "interrogation techniques" such as waterboarding, he was asking the international community to believe that what happened under Bush-Cheney was an anomaly. But Bush's unrepentant endorsement makes it crystal-clear that the current ban is the anomaly — and will last only until the next Republican president takes office.
Republicans are now the party of torture. They may criticize Bush's deficit spending, and even the Iraq War, but almost none repudiate the use of torture. (The lone exception — Senator John McCain, also the only one to have experienced it — is on the verge of losing his primary to a challenge from the right.) If, God forbid, the GOP should get the White House back any time soon, the water will begin flowing immediately.
: The Editorial Page
, Deval Patrick, Deval Patrick, Tim Cahill, More