Let me give you the no-brainers here. No-brainer number one is, we don’t torture. No-brainer number two: We don’t break the law, our own or international law. No-brainer number three: The Vice President doesn’t give away questioning techniques. And number four, the administration does believe in legal questioning techniques of known killers whose questioning can, in fact, be used to save American lives. The Vice President says he was talking in general terms about a questioning program that is legal to save American lives, and he was not referring to water boarding.
So says former Fox commentator and current Press Secretary Tony Snow of Vice President Richard Cheney’s comment in response to a question about whether “a dunk in the water is a no-brainer if it can save lives” that:
“Well, it’s a no-brainer for me, but for a while there I was criticized as being the vice president for torture. We don’t torture. That’s not what we’re involved in.”
It is apparently a no-brainer that we don’t do, but Cheney approves of, but doesn’t mean when talking to reporters, according to Snow.
Then why, we must ask, has the White House pushed for legislation that reserves the right “interpret the meaning and application” of international law, specifically what torture is and and isn’t, to the President?
The only no-brainer here is that these are people willing to say or do anything to retain power.
The transcript of the press conference is priceless. At one point, Snow descends to almost plaintively crying ” No, no, no, no –”
MR. SNOW: I’ll be happy to talk to him. Okay, I’ll talk to him for you, okay? Everybody happy?
Q Will you tell us what he says? (Laughter.)
Q — when he says “dunk in the water,” that’s a serious question. You can’t just sort of beg off and say, I’m sorry, I’m not going to deconstruct it.
MR. SNOW: No, but, Jennifer — Jennifer, you’ve listened — there have been statements out of that office for two consecutive days that say they don’t talk about water boarding, they don’t talk about torture, they don’t condone torture. They’re not going to talk about techniques.
Q All we’re asking is, what’s a “dunk in the water”?
Q He agrees with it. We want to know what that means.
MR. SNOW: All right.
Q If he agrees with a “dunk in the water,” then —
MR. SNOW: All right, talk about a dunk in the water.
Q But you need to deconstruct it, not us. That’s why we’re asking you.
MR. SNOW: Okay, well, I’ve told you what deconstruction I’ve had. Yes, Anne.
Q Tony, this administration has, indeed, talked about specifics, including after Abu Ghraib, President Bush condemning that kind of behavior.
MR. SNOW: Right.
Q And he did talk about specifics, saying that was not —
MR. SNOW: Wait a minute, he was talking about — he was talking about specific breaches of the law. He was not talking about lawful techniques, which we will not disclose for obvious reasons of security.
Q To say that Vice President Cheney doesn’t make mistakes like this, he did go up and curse a senator to his face on the Senate floor, and accidentally shot his friend, so he’s not perfect. (Laughter.)
Q He never slips up?
MR. SNOW: No, I mean, it’s just — that’s — that’s a great line, but it’s not germane. Yes, Helen.
Q Is the emphasis on “we don’t torture” when we send captives to notorious places that do torture? Does that absolve you?
MR. SNOW: No, it’s — as we’ve said many times, when we move people to another place, we have to have assurances that there will be no torture, and the treatment will be in accordance with international law.
Q Why do you send them there? Why? Why don’t you keep them in your own captivity?
MR. SNOW: Well, wait a minute, I thought you guys wanted to close off Guantanamo. The only way you do that — we quite often try to repatriate people to places —