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.