April 29th, 2009
08:52 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama 'comfortable' with ban on aggressive interrogations

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Wednesday he is "very comfortable" with his decision to ban interrogation techniques like waterboarding, which he called torture.

The president called the practice a recruiting tool for terrorist groups like al Qaeda, citing World War II-era British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who also rejected such "enhanced interrogation" techniques.

"Churchill understood that if you start taking shortcuts, over time that corrodes what's best in a people," Obama said. It corrodes the character of a country."

Obama said U.S. intelligence agents could have gotten valuable information from terror suspects without the techniques, which were approved under Bush.

Asked about the previous administration, he said, "I think that whatever legal rationale were used, it was a mistake."

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soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Earl

    Obama said that torture is a shortcut and implied that it may work but that the legal rationale for it is a mistake. He did say that waterboarding is torture - and it is already known that the Bush folks waterboared over 200 times - but he was not asked, and avoided mentioning, that torture is a war cime - so I draw the conclusion that he will reject any prosecutions of torture, even if the Attorney General recommends it. This is such a hot topic that Obama would need to approve any prosecutions because he would also have to defend them. But the issue will not go away until it is at least fully exposed.

    So1) the Bush folks waterboarded, 2) Obama says waterboarding is torture and 3) the Geneva Convention is quite clear that torture is a war cime that must be prosecuted. The defense that the OLC guidelines were legal because they prohibited actual drowning will not likely hold up in any court if and when it gets there.

    April 29, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Hans

    It is disheartening to read those moronic comments endorsing torture. The torture policies of the Bush administration beside of being in breach of US and international law were a major recruiting tool for Al-Qaeda in Iraq and they did cost numerous American lives. Needless to say it negatively affected the co-operation with most allied countries – at least those who do not torture – on security issues. As for the information gathered by 'enhanced interrogation' just take look at the Spanish inquisition and you'll find people confessing to the most absurd claims they make up to stop the pain. I also noted the pornographic streak that seems to be inherent in all torturers – from the inquisition to Abu Ghraib.

    April 29, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  3. Stephen

    Hey Joe McCarthy, are you any relation to the former Senator Joe McCarthy of the '50,s that started the cold war between Russia and the U.S.?

    April 29, 2009 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. DAVE

    I never watch your station or read your forums anyway. Someone on Fox forum sent me here to vote insome dumb poll that you probably rigg anyway! BYEEEEEE

    April 29, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  5. DAVE

    ALSO, you screwed up the caption under Obama's video!
    "President Obama says enhanced interrogation techniques will make the U.S. stronger over the long-term." Source: CNN | Added April 29, 2009more CNN video

    If that were true, i might even like him a little.

    April 29, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  6. DAVE

    You go fix that and I WON'T wait while my comments await moderation for the next few days!

    April 29, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  7. Stephen

    Bye Dave, another Bush Lover bites the Dust, and goes back to his safe haven: Fox News.

    April 29, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
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