The Clenis on Torture

This is what apresident who is not a coward sounds like.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton joined a chorus of critics of Bush administration proposals for treating suspected terrorists, saying it would be unnecessary and wrong to give broad approval to torture.

In an interview with National Public Radio aired on Thursday, Clinton said any decision to use harsh treatment in interrogating suspects should be subject to court review.

“You don’t need blanket advance approval for blanket torture,” Clinton said.

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Clinton warned against circumventing international standards on prisoner treatment, citing U.S. abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, criticism of treatment at the Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terrorists and a secret CIA prison system outside the United States.

“The president says he’s just trying to get the rules clear about how far the CIA can go when they’re when they whacking these people around in these secret prisons,” Clinton said in NPR’s “Morning Edition” interview, recorded on Wednesday.

“If you go around passing laws that legitimize a violation of the Geneva Convention and institutionalize what happened at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, we’re going to be in real trouble,” he said.

Like other critics, he said information obtained with harsh treatment may be unreliable and adopting abusive practices could lead to captured U.S. troops being subjected to the same.

Even if there were circumstances where such treatment is necessary to prevent an imminent attacks, Clinton said: “You don’t make laws based on that. You don’t sit there and say in general torture’s fine if you’re a terrorist suspect. For one thing, we know we have erred in who was a real suspect.”