Diary

Obama votes 'present' on torture

This is like a broken record. On every major issue it seems like Obama is waffling. Let the parsing being!

From WaPo

Inquiry Into Interrogations Unlikely
President-elect Barack Obama has privately signaled to top U.S. intelligence officials that he has no plans to launch a legal inquiry into the CIA’s past use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, agency director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday.

This sounds like what we hear from politicians all the time: “I have no plan at this time to run for President.” So today he has no plan to do so, but that could change under enough pressure tomorrow. When Congress wants to spend the next six months doing nothing but investigate the evil Bushies, he’ll no doubt take a firm stand like, “That’s up to Congress. I don’t decide what they choose to work on.”

And in another article

Sources: Obama ready to end harsh interrogations
President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to prohibit the use of waterboarding and harsh interrogation techniques by ordering the CIA to follow military rules for questioning prisoners, according to two U.S. officials familiar with drafts of the plans. Still under debate is whether to include a loophole that would allow exceptions in extraordinary cases.

Well that settles it, since the last sentence undoes the others. His position seems to be “I will no longer allow torture … unless I think we really really need it.” It fits well with “I will close Gitmo … but don’t ask me when.”

However, Obama’s changes may not be absolute. His advisers are considering adding a classified loophole to the rules that could allow the CIA to use some interrogation methods not specifically authorized by the Pentagon, the officials said, although the intent is not to use that as an opening for possible use of waterboarding.

“I won’t allow waterboarding … but don’t ask me about anything else you might think of as torture.” Hell, maybe they could force prisoners to listen to Joe Biden speeches 24×7. Check that – everyone would agree that is unacceptable torture.