Maybe you’ve seen that Jeb Bush has refused to rule out more torture if he’s elected president. But what’s gone unnoticed — perhaps because Bush is so dreary it’s hard to listen to him without losing consciousness — is he actually said he’s “proud” of his brother’s torture policies.
BUSH: I do think, in general, that torture is not appropriate. It’s not as effective, uh, and the change of policy that my brother did and was then put into executive order form by the president was the proper thing to do. I also would say that right after 9/11, I mean, we were attacked, and, uh, my presid — my brother — and I’m not saying this because I’m a Bush, I’m saying this because I love this country just like everybody in this room — I’m proud of what he did to create a secure environment for our country.
Here are just a few of the things that Jeb Bush is “proud” of:
• The torture of people who were victims of mistaken identity. This included Khalid el-Masri, a German citizen, who was picked up in Macedonia while on vacation and then flown to Afghanistan’s “Salt Pit” black site, where the CIA proudly tortured him. When the CIA realized they had the wrong person, they flew him to Albania and proudly dumped him on the side of the road. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture made a “conservative calculation” that 22 percent of the CIA detainees were cases of proud, mistaken identity.
• Around 100 U.S. prisoners died during interrogations. A CIA interrogator proudly told a detainee he would never go on trial because “we can never let the world know what I have done to you.”
• The proud tradition of waterboarding, proudly embraced by his brother, was also a favorite torture method of Imperial Japan during World War II, Latin American dictatorships, and Cambodia’s genocidal Khmer Rouge. The U.S. convicted a Japanese officer of war crimes for using it. Many of the torture techniques used by the CIA and the military were proudly modeled on Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain false confessions from American prisoners.
• The CIA proudly subjected at least five prisoners to “rectal rehydration” or “rectal feeding.” According to the Senate report, one prisoner’s lunch of “hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused,” thus creating a secure environment for our country.
• An FBI interrogator explained in 2008 that U.S. torture policies had proudly “helped to recruit a new generation of jihadist martyrs” and predicted that “a day of reckoning will come.” Cherif Kouachi, one of the two brothers who killed the staff of Charlie Hebdo, was motivated to become a jihadist by the U.S. torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
Despite all this, it should not go unnoticed that during Bush’s pro-torture remarks he was wearing a very nice, understated tie.