One statement from President Bush’s speech tonight struck a chord with me:
“So around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity.”
So long as waterboarding, and perhaps other forms of persuasion are not construed as denying human liberty, human rights and human dignity then I guess the President and I are in agreement. But if we believe that these interrogation tactics are construed as debasing basic human rights, then we have a problem.
And it’s a big problem. It’s doublespeak. It’s the Nixonian approach to being above the law simply by saying so.
My respect for President Bush dropped as the folly of the Iraq war dragged on and plummeted after the Katrina debacle, but I lost the last of it when he and his team used semantics and wordplay to justify the use of waterboarding while simultaneously declaring that the United States does not torture. And yet just a few hours after even more damning reports that indeed, we do torture, our President looked us straight in the eye to speak about America and human dignity in the same sentence.
I felt relieved after the speech ended, relieved because it is the last one President Bush will give as Commander in Chief.