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Lindsey Graham: Waterboarding Illegal, But It Works

May 13, 2009

During his spirited defense today of the Bush administration's so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tortured logic itself. Graham not only cited former CIA agent John Kiriakou's discredited account of waterboarding's success, he went on to claim "one of the reasons these techniques have survived for about 500 years is apparently they work." During the same hearings, he dropped jaws by concluding that the Bush White House "saw the law as a nicety we could not afford."
As to what those legal niceties require, Lindsey Graham of all people should know. Graham, after all, wasn't merely a military judge advocate general (JAG). Back in 2007, he insisted waterboarding violated the Geneva Conventions and other statutes.
Graham's now-forgotten certitude regarding U.S. law and American treaty commitments came during the October 2007 confirmations process for Attorney General Michael Mukasey. When Mukasey in his testimony and written answers to the Senate Judiciary Committee refused to say whether waterboarding constituted torture by arguing "hypotheticals are different from real life," Senator Graham questioned whether he could support him.
As Graham noted at the time, there was no ambiguity about the legality of the interrogation tactics in question.

"I am urging him that he needs to come forward. If he does not believe that waterboarding is illegal, then that would really put doubts in my own mind because I don't think you have to have a lot of knowledge about the law to understand this technique violates" the Geneva Convention and other statutes, Graham said.

Alas, that was then and this is now. With his Republican Party endangered by inquiries into potential war crimes, Lindsey Graham has apparently joined George Bush and Dick Cheney in concluding the law is a nicety they cannot afford.

One comment on “Lindsey Graham: Waterboarding Illegal, But It Works”

  1. Graham, the nation's only senator who 'sacrificed' his time to 'serve' his country in the war on Iraq..actions that some resumes are built upon.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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