People gathered in Pioneer Park today while across town George W. Bush signed copies of his new book in which he admits to the activities central to the protesters' ire, that he authorized torture against U.S. detainees.---
In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer, Bush said he authorized torture because lawyers told him that water boarding, for example, was legal. Lauer asked him if foreign torturers could rely on the same legal advice Bush received and thus justify waterboarding of American soldiers. Bush refused to answer that question.
Retired Brig. Gen. David Irvine, who spoke at the protest and said Bush's confusion about whether or not torture is legal is contrary to military commanders' understanding of international law that water boarding and a host of other activities are patently illegal under international law (read Irvine's speech in its entirety below).
"The group of military officers with whom I work view that as a license for enemies to do this to our troops," said the retired officer, who once wrote manuals on U.S. military interrogation practices. "If we say this is OK, we have to be prepared for others to do this to our troops."
Neither the military nor American civilians are prepared for that, Irvine said. Bush's reliance on torture of detainees is a first in American history.
"It is absolutely unprecedented. There is no American precedent for what we've done," he said.
Other protesters held signs calling for criminal prosecution and incarceration of Bush.
Others in attendance at the protest included demonstration organizer and former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, now with High Road for Human Rights, KRCL's Troy Williams, Peaceful Uprising's Ashley Anderson and others.
Read Irvine's entire speech below.
photos and video by Erik Daenitz