Gonzales and Ashcroft Defend Torture, Audience Applauds
This Dan Abrams interview with former attorneys general John Ashcroft and Albert Gonzales should convince you of the importance of establishing a precedent for punishment of the crime of torture, if nothing else has.
This exchange between Abrams and Gonzales demonstrates that, in the minds of those accused of orchestrating the torture program, Obama’s decision to stop the use of torture and move on has not ruled out the possibility of using torture in the future. Gonzales is complaining about the recent release of memos revealing that prisoners were given water torture several times a day:
Gonzales: Let me just say, Dan, that [former CIA director] Mike Hayden and Mike Mukasey, who followed me as attorney general, responded in an Op-Ed to the release of the memos in response to these arguments. It is one thing to say that we engage in these kinds of techniques—
Abrams: Engaged, past tense.
Gonzales: [Puts his hand up.]
Abrams: Well I mean, there’s a difference. You can’t just say we engage, because it’s almost like they got an old playbook. Right? From five years ago…
Gonzales: ..And then secondly, to say that we have now discontinued these techniques. They may be necessary in the future. And by disclosing it, means you take them off the table and they can never be used again.
They’re not just admitting that they participated in this torture program, they’re saying they would do it again if the opportunity arose. That’s another of the many, many reasons they should all be prosecuted.
This same argument has been made repeatedly by those critical of the Obama administration’s release of the memos – ie, that Obama shouldn’t have relased detailed descriptions of this form of torture because, even though he has banned the practice, future administrations may want to use it again.
The enthusiastic response of the audience to these interviews is bone-chilling.