POLITICS

Rove: Stress Positions Are Torture When Done To John McCain

05/09/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Karl Rove's recent opinion piece on John McCain contradicts the definition of torture to which his former employer adheres.

Despite repeated claims that the United States does not torture detainees, a great deal of information has been reported about severe interrogation methods used by the CIA since 9/11. The New York Times reported on the interrogation methods in October of 2007:

The Bush administration had entered uncharted legal territory beginning in 2002, holding prisoners outside the scrutiny of the International Red Cross and subjecting them to harrowing pressure tactics. They included slaps to the head; hours held naked in a frigid cell; days and nights without sleep while battered by thundering rock music; long periods manacled in stress positions; or the ultimate, waterboarding.

Nevertheless, the administration has repeatedly denied that these activities amount to torture. President Bush has said repeatedly since 2005, "We do not torture." Similar statements have been made by CIA Director Mike McConnell, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, White House spokesperson Dana Perino and Office of Legal Counsel spokesman Brian Reohrkasse

But a recent opinion piece by Karl Rove turned that distinction between enhanced interrogation methods and torture on its head. Rove wrote:

Another McCain story, somewhat better known, is about the Vietnamese practice of torturing him by tying his head between his ankles with his arms behind him, and then leaving him for hours. The torture so badly busted up his shoulders that to this day Mr. McCain can't raise his arms over his head.

So, are stress positions torture? Does Karl Rove agree with the Geneva Convention on this point? Or is torture only torture when it's used against Americans?

Suggest a correction