Buyer has unique perspective on torture ban

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Tom Walker/Washington Bureau Chief

Washington D.C., Dec. 16 - After the abuses at Abu Graib prison comes a clear message endorsed by both the President and the chief backer of the no torture provision, Senator John McCain (R - Arizona), "Make sure that the whole world knows that as the President has stated many times, that we do not practice cruel, inhuman treatment or torture."

But Indiana's Steve Buyer says this bothers him. "I'm really bothered because I know what it's like to be on the ground when time is of the essence, you've got pressure, there are stressors and you've got someone who has information and people can die. Now that's real stress."

Buyer interrogated Iraqi prisoners for the Army during the first Persian Gulf War.

He says passing a new law specifically outlawing torture of detainees in US custody anywhere in the world is unnecessary because it's already illegal. "There's a projection here that if you vote against this that means you think torture is ok? No."

Buyer did vote against the torture prohibition and takes a dim view of the debate. "I think the people of Indiana need to know that there's a lot of grandstanding going on here, there's a lot of self-projection."

Buyer says he saw no torturing of prisoners years ago, but worries that prisoners will now be more likely to allege it. "You know, all they have to do is claim that as soon as you're in US custody claim that you are being tortured and receiving cruel or inhumane punishment."

Backers of the ban on torture say it's necessary because after Abu Graib what is and isn't allowed became confused.

Buyer says it was clear enough when he served and still is.

The Indiana delegation split five to four against the torture ban in the House.