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December 19, 2005

Why Oh Why Are We Ruled by These Liars (Or Is George W. Bush Really That Uninformed? Edition)

Hilzoy writes:

Obsidian Wings: Liar, Liar: Take 3: In Which George W. Bush Reveals That He Lives In An Alternate Universe: Today President Bush said this: "We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remain the same." Sometimes it is possible to find some peculiar way of interpreting this administration's claims about torture and detention that makes them technically true. Do they say that it is not US policy to condone torture? Well, maybe if your definition of torture is strict enough that it doesn't include waterboarding, beatings not serious enough to cause as much pain as the failure of a major organ, and so on.

Of course, almost no one outside the administration defines torture this way, but hey: why quibble?

Do they say that we abide by all US and international laws? Well, given their interpretation of those laws as not governing CIA activities carried out outside the US, and their view that the President's war powers allow him to legally set aside laws and treaties, maybe this comes out true as well -- at least if you disregard such niggling details as the fact that neither the US Supreme Court nor other signatories to those treaties agree with this interpretation.

But there is no interpretation of the claim that we do not render suspects to countries that torture that makes that claim true. None at all.

Posted by DeLong at December 19, 2005 11:44 AM