Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush says he won't rule out the future use of torture. (Photo: Jim Young / Reuters)

Brothers in Arms: Jeb Bush Won't Say 'No' To Future Torture

'This is what happens when you don't prosecute officials for illegally torturing people.'

Jon Queally

While also foregoing the opportunity to condemn the establishment of a torture program authorized and ordered by his brother, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush has said he won't rule out the future use of torture if he becomes commander-in-chief and deems it necessary.

"I don’t want to make a definitive, blanket kind of statement," Jeb Bush told an audience of potential voters in Iowa on Thursday in response to a question regarding the use of torture ordered by former president George W. Bush and the executive order put in place by President Barack Obama that explicitly ended the agency's abusive interrogation program.

According to various reporting on the exchange, Bush suggested there may be occasions when brutal behavior—which under his brother's watch included severe beatings, waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation inside crammed boxes, death threats against family members, and "much worse"—may be necessary "to keep the country safe." That's why, he reportedly stated, "I'm not saying in every condition, under every possible scenario" he would reject the use of torture.

"True to his family values," scoffed The Nation's John Nichols on Twitter in response, "Jeb Bush just can't rule out torture."

Later in the day, according to the Guardian, Jeb Bush said there was a difference between enhanced interrogation and torture but declined to be specific. "I don’t know. I'm just saying if I’m going to be president of the United States you take this threat seriously."

These kinds of responses, according to Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, is "what happens when you don't prosecute officials for illegally torturing people."

Though many political commentators often discuss the challenge Jeb will face when it comes to distancing himself from his brother's legacy, Timm suggests that Jeb can certainly (and increasingly) be judged on his own public comments, especially when it comes to foreign policy. So far, Timm observed in a subsequent tweet, the American people have learned from Jeb Bush that his foreign policy could be summarized with these key points: "Maybe send more troops to Iraq, rip up the Iran deal and maybe bomb them, and maybe torture more people."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Trump's CIA Considered Kidnapping or Assassinating Assange: Report

"The Biden administration must drop its charges against Assange immediately."

Jake Johnson ·


'Carrying Water for Big Corporations': Sinema Faces Backlash for Opposing Tax Hikes

"Make no mistake, if she sides with her wealthy donors and kills popular investments to jump-start the economy, everyday families—including across Arizona—will pay the price."

Jake Johnson ·


UN Chief Warns Humanity Is 'Unacceptably Close to Nuclear Annihilation'

"Now is the time to lift the cloud of nuclear conflict for good," United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said ahead of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Jake Johnson ·


Coalition Slams UN Food Summit for Peddling 'Corporate-Led False Solutions' to Hunger

"The U.N. has finally made it clear what 'multilateralism' is all about—paying lip service to the people while skewing priorities for the interests of imperialists and monopoly capitalists."

Jake Johnson ·


'Political Malpractice': House Democrats' Bill Wouldn't Add Dental to Medicare Until 2028

"I don't want to see it drawn out to as far as the House has proposed," Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a recent press call.

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo