“Their interrogations helped break up plots to attack American diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf in London, and multiple targets in the United States,” George W Bush has told the Times in a media blitz to publish his ghosted memoirs “Decision Points“.
What is the British reply? Nothing from the government yet – or from Tony Blair for that matter. David Davis libertarian former shadow Home Secretary has just said on Radio 4:
If you come by information you have to use it. What we shouldn’t do – ever – is encourage it But does it work? A former head of MI6 told me We never learn this lesson” . People under torture tell you what you want to hear.”
And yet.. is that always the case? Why does the use of brutal and degrading treatment amounting to torture crop up in most major crises? Why is the lesson never learned?
“This is going to come as quite a shock to people… that I can write a book, much less read one,” Mr Bush told friends a few months ago, in one of those garbled sentences known as Bushisms. In fact, he didn’t exactly write it; that task fell to 28-year-old Christopher Michel, a former speechwriter, known to the former president as “Junior Bird Man”.
Dubya before he trod the Damascus road.
“So, I’m drunk at the dinner table at Mother and Dad’s house in Maine. And my brothers and sister are there, Laura’s there. And I’m sitting next to a beautiful woman, friend of Mother and Dad’s. And I said to her out loud, ‘What is sex like after 50?’ “
(His NBC breakfast interview) was a fascinating, at times disarming, performance, but also a confusing one: a plea for understanding from a president who says he doesn’t give a fig about popularity. At one point, Mr. Bush boasted that when an acquaintance told him his approval ratings were up, he retorted, “Who cares?”
“I hope I’m judged a success, but I’m going to be dead, Matt, when they finally figure it out.”
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London