George W Bush declines to back-stab the CIA over waterboarding.

I wonder what tomorrow’s (scheduled) Senate report on waterboarding during the Bush era is actually going to say. I suspect – suspect – that it’s going to end up seriously upsetting the antiwar Left, in large part because the former administration isn’t hanging the CIA out to dry:

The report is said to assert that the C.I.A. misled Mr. Bush and his White House about the nature, extent and results of brutal techniques like waterboarding, and some of his former administration officials privately suggested seizing on that to distance themselves from the controversial program, according to people involved in the discussion. But Mr. Bush and his closest advisers decided that “we’re going to want to stand behind these guys,” as one former official put it.

Mr. Bush made that clear in an interview broadcast on Sunday. “We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the C.I.A. serving on our behalf,” he told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”

Whatever your opinions are about waterboarding – you can guess the New York Times’; and no, I don’t know what word they use to describe ‘wiring up somebody genitals to a car battery’ if they’ve already assigned ‘brutal’ to ‘waterboarding’ – it must be admitted: George W Bush was given a major escape route here. All the former President has to do is say Sounds like those awful people at the CIA lied to us and he’s off the hook (to the extent that he’s actually on the hook in the first place, which is… not). Alas for the current administration, George W Bush has a stubborn integrity about him. As Bush put it once: he was the decider. He made the call. He’s ready to let people judge him for it.

I said ‘alas for the current administration’ because for some reason Secretary of State Kerry was highly involved in trying to squash this report. And, for all I know, the administration has squashed the Senate report. The administration claim is that putting this report out would put American personnel and facilities at increased risk; whether that’s the true reason is a matter of some interest. After all, how do any of us know that whatever we did during the Bush administration ever actually stopped under Obama? Oh, …read more    

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