Obama, Top Officials Unite Against Torture Probe

Bipartisanship Likely Puts Kibosh on Independent Commission

Top officials from both parties have spoken out against the notion of an independent probe into the Bush-era policies which led to the repeated torture of detainees, making the chances of such a body being established extremely unlikely.

Shortly after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized calls for an independent probe until at least the end of the year, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the growing furore over the past few days “might well be evidence of why something like this would likely just become a political back and forth.” President Obama has taken the evidence of widespread CIA torture under his predecessor extremely likely, calling it merely a potential “mistake” and saying “that’s how we learn.”

Top Republicans were at least as adamant against the potential probe as their Democratic counterparts. House minority leader John Boehner said he couldn’t imagine “what we’re going to learn that congressional leaders didn’t already know,” while top Senator Kit Bond criticized the administration for pointing out the previous administration’s torture without producing evidence he claimed proved the value of policy.

The policy, which began in 2002, sought to produce evidence of a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq which would be used as a pretext for war. Though no such evidence was ever found, the policy continued long after the US decided to invade Iraq in early 2003. Then-Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld were said to be at the center of the policy, though former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was the National Security Adviser at the time, was also among its early supporters.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.