On Tuesday, March 11, the US House of Representatives voted for the version
of the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2008 that banned waterboarding and
other forms of torture. The measure, previously passed by Congress, was vetoed
by President Bush. This vote was an attempt to override the veto. It passed
225-188, but failed to get the 2/3 requirement to override the veto.
Only five Republicans voted to support the torture ban over the veto. Here
is the speech Rep. Ron Paul gave before the vote:
I rise in somewhat reluctant support of this vote
to override the President's veto of H.R. 2062, the Intelligence Authorization
Act of 2008. Although I voted against this authorization when it first came
to the floor, the main issue has now become whether we as a Congress are to
condone torture as official U.S. policy or whether we will speak out against
it. This bill was vetoed by the President because of a measure added extending
the prohibition of the use of any interrogation treatment or technique not authorized
by the United States Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations
to the U.S. intelligence community. Opposing this prohibition is tantamount
to endorsing the use of torture against those in United States Government custody.
We have all read the disturbing reports of individuals apprehended and taken
to secret prisons maintained by the United States Government across the globe,
tortured for months or even years, and later released without charge. Khaled
al-Masri, for example, a German citizen, has recounted the story of his incarceration
and torture by U.S. intelligence in a secret facility in Afghanistan. His horror
was said to be simply a case of mistaken identity. We do not know how many more
similar cases there may be, but clearly it is not in the interest of the United
States to act in a manner so contrary to the values upon which we pride ourselves.
My vote to override the President's veto is a vote to send a clear message
that I do not think the United States should be in the business of torture.
It is anti-American, immoral and counterproductive.