Now we know "just how costly the Bush administration’s short-sighted and immoral policies of coercive interrogation have been," said David Cole in The New York Times. Susan Crawford, a senior Pentagon official overseeing how costly the Bush administration's military tribunals, told The Washington Post that she dismissed charges against Mohammed al-Qahtani because his treatment at Guantanamo "met the legal definition of torture."
Qahtani isn't the first terrorism suspect to receive a "get-out-of-jail-free card" thanks to the abysmal performance of the military commissions, said National Review's Andrew McCarthy, also in the Times. In the interrogators' defense, Crawford's claim that this man's coercive questioning qualified as torture is "preposterous," but using statements coerced in any way "is a corruption of our entire understanding of what a trial is."
“President Bush and Vice President Cheney would like you to believe that only a few left-wingers think the Bush administration's treatment of detainees amounted to torture,” said Dan Froomkin in The Washington Post. “But the real fringe group is the motley assortment of enablers, enforcers, and apologists who still maintain that it didn't.”
Barack Obama and Congress are “struggling to avoid the investigation and prosecution of torture” under President Bush, said legal expert Jonathan Turley in his blog, but that got “a bit more difficult” with Crawford's news. If even a Bush administration official says we're torturing people at Guantanamo, the quesion is how Democrats can avoid filing charges.
The treatment we’re talking about falls far short of torture, said the blog Stop the ACLU. All this guy was subjected to was “sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold.” You get rougher stuff applying to join a fraternity or the rugby team at college—but let this happen to a “jihadi” and progressives get twisted in knots.