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Unasked and Unanswered

Reported by Ellen - June 23, 2004 -

Yesterday, President Bush insisted, "We do not condone torture. I have never ordered torture. I will never order torture." This assurance was dutifully repeated on Fox Report with Shepard Smith that night and on the Foxnews.com website along with the "proof" of a stack of recently declassified documents meant to assure us of the same.

OK, but what did the President condone and/or order? And why?

Foxnews.com links the memo Department of Justice Memo for Counsel to the President in which the first paragraph states that the Counsel to the President requested information as to what constitutes torture during interrogations outside the United States. Would this information be requested if nobody was planning to do anything that could be considered inhumane?

The memo goes on to say, "Acts must be of an extreme level to rise to the level of torture... We further conclude that certain acts may be cruel, inhuman or degrading but still not produce pain or suffering of the requisite intensity."

Notice that Bush steadfastly repeated the word, "torture" in his statements. But did he approve cruel acts that missed the 'requisite intensity' to be called torture? In other words, does it depend on the what the DOJ's meaning of "torture" is?

And if it wasn't Bush who considered torture, was it someone else? Wouldn't a president who is emphatic about humane treatment of prisoners vow to the American public that he would want to make sure no one in his administration even considered such a possibility? Bush makes no such assurance, other than to reiterate that he would never order it.

These questions seem obvious to me yet were never raised in last night's Fox Report. Why not? We can only guess.