And so, Bush "authorized" the use of waterboarding, which is clearly defined as torture, based on legal reasonings Bush and Cheney asked for to provide legal cover for what they knew as war crimes. Those legal reasonings, and the memos that contained them, were written by high-ranking Bush legal advisers who did such a poor job of research, case history, and analysis as to make the memos about as sound as a (bad) first-year law student's first attempt.
Student: I read a recent report, recently, that said that you did a memo, you were the one who authorized torture to the -- I'm sorry, not torture, waterboarding. Is waterboarding torture?
Rice: The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations, under the Convention Against torture. So that's -- and by the way, I didn't authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency. That they had policy authorization subject to the Justice Department's clearance. That's what I did.
Student: Okay. Is waterboarding torture?
Rice: I just said -- the United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture. And so, by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Conventions Against Torture.
Once again: these are the people who ran our government for the past eight years telling us that torture, if it is done by the United States against its enemies, is legal because they say so. This is not the rule of law; this is the rule of man.