The CIA waterboarded 9/11 al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times in March 2003, and fellow Al Qaeda commander Abu Zubayda at least 83 times in August 2002. Waterboarding was also used on a third al Qaeda detainee named Nashiri.
Now, as former President George W. Bush launches his new book Decision Points with interviews on network and cable TV shows, including NBC and Fox News, he has said publicly what most people assumed was the case all along. Bush personally authorized the CIA to use waterboarding on these monsters. As a result, they gave up life-saving intelligence that we would not likely have obtained in time through less stressful means.
Bush explained that he first consulted with his legal advisers, who told him that the use of waterboarding as contemplated by the CIA was not illegal under the exigent circumstances that the country was then facing. Relying on such advice, he gave the CIA the green light to use waterboarding on just three high-level al Qaeda detainees.
As Bush explained:
Three people were waterboarded and I believe that decision saved lives.
Their interrogations helped break up plots to attack American military and diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf in London, and multiple targets in the United States. Using those techniques saved lives
Predictably, nitwits on the Left are calling for George Bush’s head – literally. They are continuing their campaign to have Bush arrested for simply doing his duty to protect American lives from the imminent threat of another savage invasion of our homeland.
In his initial interrogation by CIA officers, according to former CIA Director George Tenet, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed had defiantly told them, “I’ll talk to you guys after I get to New York and see my lawyer.” Waterboarding changed his mind.
Here’s how former CIA operative John Kiriakoua described this so-called torture (which, as carried out by the CIA, it was not), lauding the positive effect waterboarding had on another of al-Qaeda’s most notorious terrorists:
Abu Zubayda was wholly uncooperative for weeks and refused to answer questions. That’s when the CIA decided to waterboard him. Waterboarding [which is designed to emulate the sensation of drowning] begins by placing a suspect on a table with the suspect’s feet slightly elevated. Once a suspect is secured on the table, interrogators wrap his face in a cellophane-like material….There is a bladder, or a water source, above the head with water pouring down on the mouth, so no water is going into your mouth, but it induces a gag reflex and makes you feel like you’re choking.
After only 35 seconds, Zubayda broke. From that day on, he answered every question. He said that Allah had visited him in his cell during the night and told him to cooperate because it would make it easier on the other brothers who had been captured. The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks.
If even one American life was saved by waterboarding, it was worth it.
Those so-called liberals who are willing to permit innocent people to be maimed or killed, out of concern for making some al Qaeda leaders briefly uncomfortable and afraid for their lives, are beneath contempt.
In fact, for every innocent life that could have been saved but for the Left’s pressure to stop the use of such techniques, the Leftist obstructionists are morally culpable as accessories to murder and crimes against humanity.
Joseph Klein is the author of a new book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam