Last year, when US Vice-President Dick Cheney was working to prevent Congress from passing a law outlawing cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners in US custody, he was denounced as the Vice President for torture. Now he has made it crystal clear that he is unequivocally, undeniably pro-torture by endorsing waterboarding. And yet, at the same time, he tries to deny that that is in fact what he is endorsing:
"Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?" Mr Hennen asked.
"Well, it's a no-brainer for me," Mr Cheney replied. "But for a while there, I was criticised as being the vice president for torture. We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in."
But there's absolutely no wiggle-room here. It was torture when the Spanish Inquisition did it. It was torture when the Nazis did it. It was torture when the Japanese did it. It was torture when the Khmer Rouge did it. According to the US military, it was torture when their own soldiers did it in the Philippines and Vietnam, and torture when it is done to captured American servicemen. It doesn't stop being torture now simply because Dick Cheney says so.