News

    Obama Says Waterboarding is Torture

    U.S. President Barack Obama says the practice known as "waterboarding", or simulated drowning, used on certain high-level terrorist suspects under the Bush administration is torture.  At a prime-time news conference late Wednesday, the president also defended his decision to ban the practice, along with other harsh interrogation techniques, as the debate on detainee policy continues.

    One hundred days into his term, President Barack Obama came out and used the word "torture", when he was asked at a news conference if the Bush administration sanctioned the use of torture against foreign terrorism suspects.

    "What I have said, and I will repeat, is that waterboarding violates our ideals and our values," Mr. Obama said.  "I do believe that it is torture.  I do not think that is just my opinion; that is the opinion of many who have examined the topic.  And that is why I put an end to these practices."  

    President Obama acknowledged that the so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques approved under former President Bush may have yielded useful information.  But he strongly defended his decision to ban them.

    "We could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values, ways that were consistent with who we are," Mr. Obama said.  

    He did not say what interrogation techniques would be consistent with U.S. values.

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney and several former Central Intelligence Agency chiefs have sharply criticized President Obama for banning the aggressive interrogation methods, saying he is making the country less secure.  

    President Obama cited the restraint used by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill when his country was under attack by the Nazis during the Second World War, saying Churchill realized that torture "corrodes the character of a country."

    Reporters at the news conference Wednesday did not press the president on what his administration plans to do about investigating or prosecuting possible crimes committed under the previous administration.  Mr. Obama has repeatedly said he prefers to look forward, and not backwards.

    Speaking on the CBS talk show "Face the Nation" earlier this week, Republican Senator John McCain was asked about the ongoing debate, and whether there should be some form of truth commission or congressional investigation into the controversial detention policies.  

    McCain, who endured torture himself as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, agreed with President Obama's ban on harsh interrogation practices, and said the country needs to move on.  

    "We need to put this behind us, we need to move forward," McCain said.  "We have made a commitment that we will never do this again.  No administration, I believe, would ever do this again, and it is time to fight the wars that we are in."

    But the "torture issue" is not going away anytime soon, with the Pentagon agreeing to soon release photos of alleged abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, after a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.   


     

     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.