Reuters AlertNet - Bush vows “we do not torture” terror suspects “We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice,” Bush said at a joint news conference with Panamanian President Martin Torrijos. “We are gathering information about where the terrorists might be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do … to that end in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law.”

For a moment I had a flicker of hope - then I realised the statement could be almost true if looked from just the right angle. Carefully re-define “we” to exclude anyone doing anything nasty, and carefully re-define “torture” to exclude any nasty stuff they might be doing … and the statement from Bush is true (maybe - but not really). Didn’t Clinton get roasted for chosing his definitions in a similar fashion?

Vice President Dick Cheney has been spearheading an effort on Capitol Hill to have the CIA exempt from an amendment by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain that would ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

So … we don’t torture, but the CIA needs an exception so they can? Ouch.

The headline from ABC News/Associated Press has a lot less punch, and the heading puts a lot of big mild words before they get to “torture”. Wonder if there is a pattern here?

ABC News: Bush Defends U.S. Interrogation Policy President Bush Defends Administration’s Policy on Detention of Terrorism Suspects, Says ‘We Do Not Torture’” </p>

And from elsewhere…

The Cincinnati Post - Torture is a crime, not a policy In its four-year war against terrorism, the United States has strayed from the ideals that made us, as the late President Reagan used to say, like a city shining on a hill. It is time we get back to who we are as a people and we are not a people who torture prisoners. </p>

Well said.