Yesterday afternoon, former Republican Congressman and 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate Bob Barr had the audacity to say, "Waterboarding is torture." The reason it took audacity is that he was at CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. He was promptly booed.
Barr's statement that created the small controversy is this:
BARR: But I don't think we should go down the path of allowing our leaders to have their cake and eat it too. There is nothing magical about a military tribunal. They don't have necessarily better lawyers than the civilian sector. I think I have a lot more faith in our US attorneys who are nonpolitical than my colleagues on the other side of this debate. We can try them. We should try them. That is precisely, Jay, what our law provides for. And the first time we're faced with a situation we say, "Oh we're going to have them go to the military let them torture them for a while, it's not enhanced interrogation technique. Waterboarding is torture! How would you like to be waterboarded? Try that!
So not only did the man go against the word of Bush and Dick Cheney, but he supports something Obama is doing with trying terrorism suspects (although, I would argue, not doing enough)! For those of you taking notes, that's what it takes to be booed by a large gathering of neocons.
It's not like Barr is ignorant on these issues. Not only was a member of Congress and presidential candidate, but he was also a US Attorney in Georgia from 1986 to 1990. He is not simply a pundit. He knows the law, and he knows that waterboarding is torture and it is illegal. You can find a video of Barr's full statement on YouTube.
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