Rumsfeld reiterates policy against torture

June 14, 2004 at 6:00 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 14 (UPI) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Monday he goes along with the Bush administration's policy against torture but added others may view it differently.

"That word gets used by some people in a way that is fair from their standpoint, but doesn't fit a dictionary definition of the word that one would normally accept," Rumsfeld said at a brief press conference.

"There is no wiggle room in the president's mind or my mind about torture. That is not something that's permitted under the Geneva Convention or the laws of the United States. ... That is not to say that somebody else couldn't characterize something (the U.S. military does) in a way that would fit what I described (as torture)," he said.

Internal memos leaked from the Pentagon and Justice Department suggest that the Bush administration is adhering to a strict definition of torture when it makes these statements, namely that the actions must be intended to cause severe physical or mental pain, and the person carrying out the behavior must specifically intend to cause that pain. The memos list numerous ways a soldier or official accused of committing or abetting torture could defend themselves legally in court.

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