President Bush on Saturday further cemented his legacy of fighting for strong executive powers, using his veto to shut down a Congressional effort to limit the Central Intelligence Agency’s latitude to subject terrorism suspects to harsh interrogation techniques.
Mr. Bush vetoed a bill that would have explicitly prohibited the agency from using interrogation methods like waterboarding, a technique in which restrained prisoners are threatened with drowning and that has been the subject of intense criticism at home and abroad. Many such techniques are prohibited by the military and law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Bush announced the veto in the usual format of his weekly radio address, which is distributed to stations across the country each Saturday. He unflinchingly defended an interrogation program that has prompted critics to accuse him not only of authorizing torture previously but also of refusing to ban it in the future. “Because the danger remains, we need to ensure our intelligence officials have all the tools they need to stop the terrorists,” he said.
This is not surprising, really, but important to note (related).
The US House of Representatives has approved a bill that would ban the CIA from using harsh interrogation techniques such as simulated drowning.
The measure would require intelligence agencies to follow the rules adopted by the US Army, which forbid such methods, and to abide by the Geneva Conventions.
President George Bush has threatened to veto the bill if the Senate passes it.
As presidents go, Bush has been one of the most sparing in his use of the veto. So he must only use it when it really matters, when it’s vital to our nation’s interests that Congress doesn’t mess something up really bad. Let’s take a look at the list so far: Continue reading →