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Water-boarding is a "no-brainer"
Cheney speaks up for torture

By Nicole Colson | November 3, 2006 | Page 16

DICK CHENEY acknowledged on a right-wing radio show that U.S. spies and interrogators engage in a practice defined as torture even by the U.S. military. According to Cheney, this torture is a "no-brainer."

In a recent interview with conservative talk show host Scott Hennen of WDAY radio in Fargo, N.D., Cheney admitted that the U.S. has used "water-boarding"--an interrogation "technique" where a detainee is either repeatedly held under water, or has cellophane or cloth placed over their mouth and is doused with water, until they believe they will drown.

In the interview, which was posted on the White House's Web site, Hennen told Cheney that listeners had asked him to "let the vice president know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives."

"Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?" Hennen asked. "I do agree," Cheney responded. "And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high-value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation."

"Would you agree that a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" Hennen added. Cheney replied: "It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the vice president 'for torture.' We don't torture...We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that."

Robust interrogation? According to the new U.S. Army Field Manual, water-boarding is defined as "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment."

The White House immediately defended Cheney. White House spokesperson Tony Snow told reporters that Cheney's comments weren't about water-boarding--but failed to explain how "a dunk in the water" could possibly refer to anything else.

As Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said in a statement, "What's really a no-brainer is that no U.S. official, much less a vice president, should champion torture. Vice President Cheney's advocacy of water-boarding sets a new human rights low at a time when human rights is already scraping the bottom of the Bush administration barrel."

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