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I was right to torture terror suspects - it saved lives, claims unrepentant George Bush

David Gardner


May 29, 2009

George W. Bush has defended the use of torture on terror suspects in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

The former U.S. president broke his silence over the controversial issue to insist that interrogation methods such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation helped save lives by gaining valuable intelligence.

But he shied away from directly criticising his successor Barack Obama, who has banned the CIA from using the techniques.

'It was a rollercoaster of emotions, it really was.

I vowed to take whatever steps that were necessary to protect you,' he said in a speech to a largely sympathetic crowd of about 2,500 people in Benton, Michigan.

'The first thing you ask is, what's legal?

'What do the lawyers say is possible?'

Although careful to avoid using the words 'torture' and 'abuse', Mr Bush added: 'You have to make tough decisions.

'They've captured a guy who murdered 3,000 citizens and that affected me.

'They come in and they say he may have more information.

'We had an anthrax attack. What do you do?'

The remarks come after Mr Bush's vice president Dick Cheney claimed the harsh methods were justified to protect the U.S. from further attacks.

Last month Mr Obama angered Republicans by releasing classified memos from Bush lawyers detailing the techniques and outlining why they were allowed.

Former detainees and human rights groups have alleged the use of torture, including 'waterboarding' (simulated drowning) and other physical abuses, at the Guantanamo prison

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay: Bush claimed extreme methods were needed to deal with the aftermath of September 11

In a series of interviews and speeches over the past fortnight, Mr Cheney has claimed the rough questioning did get results and were justified to protect the US from further attacks.

Mr Bush acknowledged in his speech that weapons of mass destruction were not found in Iraq, but insisted that was not his only rationale in toppling Saddam Hussein.

In the future, he predicted people will look back on his presidency and say, 'Thank God they didnĺt lose faith.ĺ

He added that he wanted to be known as 'the man who showed up in office and was unwilling to compromise his soul for the sake of popularity.ĺ

Last month, newly-released 'torture' memos revealed how waterboarding was used 266 times on two key Al Qaeda suspects. 

The U.S. Justice Department said that CIA interrogators used the technique 183 times on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed planner of the September 11 attacks and 83 times on another Al Qaeda prisoner, Abu Zubaydah.

:: Article nr. 54700 sent on 30-may-2009 04:17 ECT


Link: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1189558/We-right-torture-terror-suspe

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