Brothers in Arms: Jeb Bush Won’t Say ‘No’ To Future Torture

By Jon Queally, staff writer | ( | – –

‘This is what happens when you don’t prosecute officials for illegally torturing people.’

While also foregoing the opportunity to condemn the establishment of a torture program authorized and ordered by his brother, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has said he won’t rule out the future use of torture if he becomes commander-in-chief and deems it necessary.

“I don’t want to make a definitive, blanket kind of statement,” Jeb Bush told an audience of potential voters in Iowa on Thursday in response to a question regarding the use of torture ordered by former president George W. Bush and the executive order put in place by President Barack Obama that explicitly ended the agency’s abusive interrogation program.

According to various reporting on the exchange, Bush suggested there may be occasions when brutal behavior—which under his brother’s watch included severe beatings, waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation inside crammed boxes, death threats against family members, and “much worse“—may be necessary “to keep the country safe.” That’s why, he reportedly stated, “I’m not saying in every condition, under every possible scenario” he would reject the use of torture.

“True to his family values,” scoffed The Nation‘s John Nichols on Twitter in response, “Jeb Bush just can’t rule out torture.”

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Later in the day, according to the Guardian, Jeb Bush said there was a difference between enhanced interrogation and torture but declined to be specific. “I don’t know. I’m just saying if I’m going to be president of the United States you take this threat seriously.”

These kinds of responses, according to Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, is “what happens when you don’t prosecute officials for illegally torturing people.”

Though many political commentators often discuss the challenge Jeb will face when it comes to distancing himself from his brother’s legacy, Timm suggests that Jeb can certainly (and increasingly) be judged on his own public comments, especially when it comes to foreign policy. So far, Timm observed in a subsequent tweet, the American people have learned from Jeb Bush that his foreign policy could be summarized with these key points: “Maybe send more troops to Iraq, rip up the Iran deal and maybe bomb them, and maybe torture more people.”

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Thom Hartmann: “Jeb Bush Won’t Rule out Torture…”

8 Responses

    • …and the failure of the Democrats/Obama administration to go after the torture crowd is an epic failure. The failure to prosecute is acquiescence to the torture crowd.
      As the article’s premise states:
      ‘This is what happens when you don’t prosecute officials for illegally torturing people.’
      What happens is that America now has a history of using torture with impunity—and America can never, ever be trusted on this.

  1. One rule: No rules for the rulers. Charles Murray’s idea that democracy is too much trouble for orderly governing, is beloved by Jebbie. His favorite conceptualist. What’s a little torture or whatever for whomever you can do a little good? Take care when choosing your fuehrer or dictator or torturer. Is Jebbie giving you the jeebies yet?

  2. Why should he “rule out” torture? His brother’s administration used torture, and they have never looked back on it. The key is to spin it according to what is needed or wanted. Bottom line: If the government says it is not torture then it is not torture. Cheney, et al, all said that enhanced questioning was not torture. They never got prosecuted for it, and they never will. America does torture whenever it sees fit to do so.
    I do not agree with torture (or any of the Bushes for that matter), but the Bush-Obama regimes have settled the issue for a long time to come. America can torture, and it will do so whenever it sees the need in the future.

  3. It’s too bad the reporters don’t put the question this way:

    “So you’re saying, if you’re elected President, you will not feel bound by the law? Torture is against the law. You’re telling the American people that you will break the law as you see fit?”

    “If so, which laws do you propose to obey?”

    “As President, could you walk out onto the street in front of the White House and shoot a random person? For reasons of National Security? If not, why not?”

  4. I would favor unlimited torture for torturers. Hey, Jebbie, try this out! A serious dose of water boarding for bro Horhay. Hey, Dicker, a good jolt of juice for your ticker! The kind of experiment that would do your heart good! I guess that might make me a torturer. Just a thought.

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