In March 2009, Condoleeza Rice returned to Stanford University as a political science professor and the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.
Portions of the discussion include:
"Unless you were there, in a position of responsibility after Sept. 11, you cannot possibly imagine the dilemmas you faced in trying to keep America safe. If you were there in a position of authority and watched Americans jump out of 80 story buildings because these murderous tyrants went after innocent people, then you were determined to do anything that you could, that was legal, to prevent that from happening."However, the word legal is a point of contention. Historian Alfred McCoy, appearing on Democracy Now! on Friday, said the following:
Two points. First of all, waterboarding is torture under US law, because it constitutes a death threat. OK? It’s a threat to die by drowning. Alright? So, one, waterboarding is torture. President Obama is correct. It’s a violation of law, and all of those that ordered it should be prosecuted for violations of federal statutes.When asked if waterboarding was torture, Rice said:
Second point, her argument that you had to be there, because the nation was at risk, that’s the argument that every Latin American military dictator made for brutal torture and summary executions, arguing that the communists, the barbarians were at the gate, and therefore extreme measures were qualified. That’s impunity. Every Latin American dictatorship, every Latin American nation that emerges from dictatorship finds the same argument: we had to do it because the nation was at risk. That’s how you get impunity.
"The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside our legal obligations. We were told, nothing that violates our obligation under the convention against torture.Watch the video of the exchange:
"By defintion, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations."