National Security

Bush won’t rule out resuming use of torture

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Thursday declined to rule out ever returning to so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” that have widely been condemned as torture.

During a forum in Iowa, the GOP presidential candidate refused to say whether he would keep in place President Obama’s ban on torture as an interrogation method, which were developed and employed during the tenure of his brother President George W. Bush.

{mosads}”I don’t want to make a definitive, blanket kind of statement,” Bush said in response to a question about the executive order, according to The Associated Press.

“God knows what the next president is going to have to do,” he added, according to Defense One.

Still, Bush appeared to moderate his statement.

“I do think, in general, that torture is not appropriate. It’s not effective,” he added.

Obama’s decision to issue an executive order banning waterboarding, rectal feeding and other controversial practices “was the proper thing to do,” Bush said.

However, there may be conditions when the methods are called for, he cautioned.

“That’s why I’m not saying in every condition, under every possible scenario,” Bush said.

The comments throw Bush into the politically difficult pose of being forced to reckon with the legacy of his brother’s war on terror, including its darker aspects.

Bush previously captured headlines earlier this year when he said that he would have supported the invasion into Iraq “knowing what we know now.” The comments instantly landed him in hot water, and he eventually said that he “would not have gone into Iraq.”

The controversial interrogation methods could provide a similarly vexing issue for Bush.

Though polls suggest that a slight majority of Americans support the Bush administration’s tactics after Sept. 11, 2001, the brutal interrogation techniques evoke deep passions.

scathing report from Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee last year decried the practice as ineffective at gathering information and more savage than was previously understood.

During the Bush administration, the brutal practice “probably was effective for garnering the intelligence,” Bush said on Thursday.

“But now we’re in a different environment,” he added, according to reports.

Obama issued an executive order ending the techniques as one of his first actions after taking office in 2009. That order could be overturned by a future president, however.

Earlier this summer, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to make permanent the ban on torture by supporting an amendment to an annual defense policy bill. The legislation has yet to be signed into law.

Tags Enhanced interrogation techniques Jeb Bush Torture

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