April 29th, 2009
08:52 PM ET
11 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."

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Christa

    I am certain he would change his mind if his loved ones' lives could be saved if (God forbid) they were ever taken captive by terrorists.

    April 29, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. Ed's Kate

    What a smart, intelligent man our President is. It is too bad the previous president was not.

    April 29, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  3. brown

    i think he has been out standing A

    April 29, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. Alvin Theodore Tolbert

    Two wrongs don't make a right. America must stand up for our values, and do what is right.e

    April 29, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. malclave

    Of course he's comfortable banning them. HIs vision of national security is "what can be done for my benefit?"

    He has no problem declassifying things that make Bush look bad, but won't declassify the things that show the benefits. Not to mention keeping New Yorkers ignorant of the airplane photo op due to "national security".

    April 29, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  6. DROD

    WOW! He is so intelligent let's see if he made the same decision if a loved one was in danger. He is taking this nation in the wrong direction.

    April 29, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. Stephen

    I agree with the President that torture is torture no matter what you call it, and this Country is above that. We have have always been a Country of Morals and Values. The President is trying to put us back on track.

    April 29, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  8. Disgusted

    He gets an F. He's against any torture because they are his friends. If he wanted to protect this country he would do what ever it took.

    April 29, 2009 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I'm a huge fan of Jack Bauer, but this isn't 24. This is the real world.

    April 29, 2009 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  10. Frank Cliff

    Thank God we have a President who can use his head for something besides a hat rack. The President's presentation is the finest I have seen by any President in the last 50 years.

    President Obama's presentation was the best I've seen in the last 50 years from the Whilte House, beyond a question. The Electorate picked a Winner!

    April 29, 2009 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  11. John Fisher

    Thr president was very clear whenm he answeredthe question. "i will do whatever it takes to protect americans" I'm comfortable with my decision.. A decision he can reverse when he has to do whatever it takes- Just like President Bush did.

    April 29, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  12. Lynn

    He is right to ban torture, I don't think that anyones God would condone it.

    April 29, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  13. ib

    Obama is putting this country at risk for another attack on our soil. People wake up this president is a danger to us. Why can't you see it????????

    April 29, 2009 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  14. Jay

    i m in the US Air Force and we stand behind the President 100%. We live by a code of conduct (aka) rules and no on one is above the law no one. I so sick of you left wings nuts talking trash a our president. If you think he is making of unsafe than sign up and be all that you can be. I give him a A+

    April 29, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. Carol

    Why is everyone ignoring the non-moral issue-Torture doesn't work. You may get answers, but the deal is, people who are tortured will say anything that will make it stop, not necessarily The Truth!

    April 29, 2009 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  16. Lorrain

    That is why we need a president who THINKS. If we all acted on blind fear we would do terrible, immoral, things that would make our country no better then those we are fighting against.

    April 29, 2009 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  17. Phil

    I give him an A because of the mess the last President left us in. This world is for everybody and we all have to live in it. It is no good for any country to think it is above the law. I would not like to see anybody be treated with torture because we would not like it if our military men and women went through that if they where capiture and they were in Irag. How soon we forget.

    April 29, 2009 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  18. newsjunki

    Wasn't it also Churchhill who showed Europe and the U.S. that it was useless to try to negotiate with terrorist leaders of that period - WWII? (Churchill's predessor failed in that.) These terrorists groups today have no hesitation beheading people on TV. Most people see what this is - a political play to try to distract the country from what's NOT working in his Adminstration so far.

    April 29, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  19. Not on the band wagon

    Is waterboarding torture – a physical agony of intense pain or is it an uncomfortable method of extracting information? When the session is over – are there lasting physical scars? Does it require hospitalization and rehabilitation?
    While it is the worst part of war – It is accepted that we will bomb, maim and kill the enemy in war. I just don't understand the logic that it is an act of torture to waterboard the enemy????

    April 29, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  20. Smart People

    Wow, what's with the ridiculous scenarios? "If his family was at risk I bet he would". I bet he wouldn't, because he seems smart enough to know that torturing people doesnt provide useful information.

    Let me paint you guys a scenario. You may or may not have information that could save lives. It doesn't matter if you do or don't, your going to be detained anyway. Then you are put through waterboarding treatments day in and day out. Are you really going to come clean with the person administering the torture, or are you going to say whatever it takes to make it stop?

    It seems that most of the people complaining about this are just out for revenge. They like the idea of Terrorists being tortured. That's understandable, and a thought shared by most Americans including myself. The problem is that these people weren't put on trial, and we are supposedly better than that. Let's not prove the terrorists right by being the blood thirsty demons they portray us to be. Sadly, i think this will go over most people's heads. Most will all be back tomorrow buying into Cheney's absurd theories, and claiming that Obama is a closet terrorist.

    April 29, 2009 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  21. Nikole

    @ not on the bandwagon--The rules of war are irrelevant after someone has been captured. Torture is torture. There is no justification for torture. Ever.

    April 29, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  22. Carol

    Yea Jay, thanks for our boys & girls in the military, who even under the threat of imprisonment & torture, still have the good sense & fortitude to know whats right, moral, and what the USA stands for!

    April 29, 2009 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  23. SLM

    Until the next terror attack because they know we are really soft on Terrorists and won't make them uncomfortable.

    April 29, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  24. Nikole

    @ malclave--Torture is wrong. There are no benefits to torture. Wrong is wrong.

    April 29, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. joe McCarthy

    Mr President you are dead wrong sir.

    I hope this does not bite you in the ass down the road.

    God bless the men and women in service that protect us from the evil out there in the real world.

    April 29, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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