Obama: Clinton's a flip-flopper on torture: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted March 8, 2008 3:06 PM
The Swamp

by James Oliphant

Sen. Barack Obama today used President Bush's veto of an intelligence authorization bill to bash his rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton. In addressing the veto, which shot down a congressional attempt to bar the CIA from using harsh interrogation techniques on prisoners, Obama said:

"We need a Commander in Chief who has never wavered on whether or not it is acceptable for America to torture, because it is never acceptable. While I have consistently opposed torture, in the course of this primary campaign Hillary Clinton has flip-flopped from her past position of tolerating torture. I believe that we must reject torture without equivocation because it does not make us safe, it results in unreliable intelligence, it puts our troops at risk, and it contradicts core American values. When I am president, the American people and the world will be able to trust that I will outlaw torture, because unlike Senator Clinton I have never made an exception for torture and I never will."

Obama is referring to the stance Clinton assumed last fall, when she for the first time ruled out any exception to a ban on the use of torture by government interrogators. Clinton previously had said would consider torturing suspected terrorists if there was an imminent threat of attack, the so-called "ticking time bomb" scenario.

Clinton said she changed her mind after meeting with a group of retired generals. Her about-face, in fact, put her at odds with her husband, who had adopted the ticking time-bomb viewpoint.

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If "torture" is unacceptable, can we then ask both Clinton an Obama to stop torturing us voters with their increasingly shrill attacks?

This kind of political courage is why Senator Obama has earned so many votes of confidence:


Torture being an important issue for me, I researched both candidates. Obama is clearly opposed, and that opposition is easy to find. Not on his watch. Bad for our country. He'll close Guantanamo.

Clinton doesn't address it at all on her website. Hunting over a few hours, I turned up a position I would characterize as "torture is certainly a very imortant topic, about which many people feel strongly. I understand those concerns." ie Whatever you believe, please interpret this as supporting your position.

well well!now you journalist are finaly doing ur jobs.obama will make an excelent president,i think we all can agree to that.

Some would call that being politically expedient but why split hairs. The bottom line is that if there's one thing we've learned over the course of the last few weeks, it's that Hillary Clinton will say and do ANYTHING to get elected. ANYTHING!!!

p.s. she is a monster.

He can tag Hillary and McCain with this argument, can't he?

Gosh, my six-year old nephew didn't have to meet with retired generals to figure out that torture is BAD under any circumstances.

But then Hillary has also voted against a measure to prohibit cluster bombs from being dropped on civilian areas -- pretty little objects that can remain unexploded for years until children try to play with them. My nephew also knows that killing and maiming children and other innocent beings is BAD.

He's only six and knows nothing about international sanctions against torture and cluster bombing, but he does know the difference between good and bad!

Mr. Walsh, this is no shrill attack on HRC but a clear emphatic assertion of one of a number of the key differences between these two candidates. Obama has been consistently, strongly opposed to torture. HRC has not. The very thought that Bill Clinton with his torture-as-needed BS (the Bush position) being a major advisor to HRC is even more reason to doubt her flip-flop on this truly vital issue.

Barack Obama is smart, principled and brave. Hillary Clinton is simply expedient. Why can't more Americans see the difference?

Yes, I am proud of Obama's unambiguous position against torture. Hillary Clinton, like her husband, is always hedging and parsing her position on any issue. I have read many books about her and her husband and just cannot understand why Democrats would have any loyalty or support for them. They ruled like Eisenhower Republicans. Additionally, she is so rigid and inflexible. When given a chance to pass healthcare, Hillary Clinton personally nixed it because the compromise gave her only 91% of her plan. Just imagine for fourteen years now we could have had most people covered and yet those women and working-class dems who support her think she is the one to deliver health care.

Clinton doesn't address it at all on her website. Hunting over a few hours, I turned up a position I would characterize as "torture is certainly a very imortant topic, about which many people feel strongly. I understand those concerns." ie Whatever you believe, please interpret this as supporting your position.

I guess that says it all. She's whatever kind of monster you want her to be!

OMG, he is going to outlaw torture? Torture is illegal already. And he used to teach in law school? I'm worried for his students.

Now this is a much more effective attack than the tax release one.

If Obama has so consistently been against "torture" then why didn't he show up to vote for this bill?

It's part of a cowardly pattern of Obama's that shows whenever there's a tough vote, Barack is somewhere else.

Torture would be having to listen to Hillary until November, when she is forced out of the race. She is "corrupt", but what else would you expect, she is the other half of the "Corrupt Clintons".

Judith has a very important point. Hillary has consistently shown that her moral compass points where ever political posturing demands. It takes a special kind of hypocrite to claim to dedicate one's life to the welfare of children, but then to sanction use of brutal cluster bombs that mame and kill thousands of children each year. I'd laugh if it weren't so heart wrenching.

Paul...it's quite obvious you should be worried about your own ignorance! Torture IS being used as a method of interogating terror suspects now. Please don't make a fool of your yourself. Bush has just vetoed the bill that would have oulawed waterboarding...I won't claim to be very schooled but even I know this...

Does anybody remeber the debate when this torture question was asked? HRC said that in an exterem situation, it's for the agent to "do what he has to do, and then take whatever consequences" She wants US agents to torture people and then be punished for it. We don't need so stinking consistancy!

Benjy, obviously you don't know US is signatory state of Geneva Convention.

Well, the whole discussion is whether or not waterboarding is torture. But torture itself is illegal, pure and simple.

Probably Mr. Obama just misspoke, he meant he will outlaw 'waterboarding,' just like he misspoke that Jay Rockefeller read the intel, but vote against war.

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