George W. Bush is making headlines again by unapologetically defending one of his most controversial policies — the harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, such as self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," Bush told a business group in Michigan. "I'd do it again to save lives." Is Bush shamelessly advocating techniques that some intelligence officers consider "unequivocally torture," or is he just refusing to apologize for policies that kept America safe? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about Bush's waterboarding comments)
Time has vindicated Bush: "Had Bush said this in the first few months after he left office," says Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, "the media would have pilloried him as a hopelessly blind warmonger." But whatever you think about water-boarding — which Bush only used on three high-ranking al Qaeda operatives, by the way — there's no denying that Bush kept us safe for seven years following 9/11. Under President Obama, we've been rattled four times by terrorism on U.S. soil — the 2009 recruiting base and Fort Hood killings, the failed 2009 Christmas underpants bombing, and the botched Times Square attack this year.
"Bush: You're darned right I would have ordered the Code Red!"
Bush is confessing to war crimes: What "smug arrogance," says liberal commentator Taylor Marsh in her blog. To George W. Bush, water-boarding is just one of the proud memories of his presidency, no doubt right up there with the "WMD lies" he told to drag us into war in Iraq. But "to the international community and many Americans, it’s a war crime." It's too bad Democrats blew their chance to hold Bush accountable by impeaching him.
"The Waterboarder in Chief speaks"
Good for Bush — he kept us safe: "Most normal, intelligent Americans agree with President Bush," says Don Surber in the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail. We should all be grateful he had the guts to make such a tough call to find out what those al Qaeda thugs knew and prevent more attacks on Americans. "It is not always about doing what is popular. It is about doing what is right, no matter what."
"Bush on water-boarding: 'I'd do it again'"
Bush is taking his disregard for human rights to a new level: Maybe it was unrealistic to expect George W. Bush to "atone," says Andrew Sullivan in The Atlantic, but this is ridiculous. It's a sad day when a former president "openly champions the use of torture," placing "the full weight of the presidency behind war crimes."
"I'd do it again"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ban PowerPoint!
- It's time to kill school picture day
- Rise of the machines
Subscribe to the Week