Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) pushed back on Monday against President Barack Obama’s comments this weekend condemning waterboarding, even referencing the movie “G.I. Jane” in which the character played by actress Demi Moore is subjected to the interrogation tactic.
“The president is the benefactor of a lot of information that came from waterboarding,” West said on Fox News. “When you look at the precedent, non-state, non-uniform belligerents captured on the battlefield under the Geneva Convention are not afforded the same type of rights. We can make that determination.”
“As the president, you need to do those things which are necessary to make sure that the American people are kept safe,” the Republican congressman continued, adding, “and furthermore, in the movie ‘G.I. Jane,’ Demi Moore was waterboarded.”
During his stay in Hawaii this weekend, Obama called the interrogation technique “torture.”
“It’s contrary to America’s traditions. It’s contrary to our ideals. That’s not who we are. That’s not how we operate. We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism,” the president said.
But West insisted that it is the responsibility of a military commander to protect the men and women in uniform through whatever means necessary, as the congressman said he himself did when he fired a pistol over the head of an Iraqi detainee in 2003.
“I used a psychological intimidation tactic to fire a pistol over his head, and it kept my men safe,” West said. “Of course, they took it to an investigative hearing but I’m here today as a congressional representative and I still continue to fight for the men and women in uniform.”
West received a $5,000 fine following an investigation of the 2003 incident, and in 2004, the congressman retired as Army Lieutenant Colonel after serving in the military for 22 years. As he said in an interview with New York Times last year, the congressman maintains that he retired with “full rank and benefits and an honorable discharge” after being redeployed in Iraq.
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