Dick Cheney – Is He For Real?
Former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on “Meet The Press” yesterday and repeated with apparent pleasure his defense of “enhanced interrogation methods” including water boarding. “I would do it again in a minute”, he said. Hmmm.
Cheney’s justification seems to be that the CIA EIT targets were “bad people”. Other defenders, including Cheney, claimed important and useful information was obtained. Still others said the “lawyers” said it was ok.
Cheney put the exclamation point on it by saying President Bush was fully briefed and kept informed on a regular basis. Hmmm.
The collective defense seems to be that al Qaeda (and anyone the CIA thought was connected) were such bad people that no civil rules applied. They deserved this type of treatment. And, the Cheney-types add, these techniques prevented any further 9/11 type attacks.
I wonder where the “lawyers” were when the Bush White House was reminded that the US was a signatory to the UN Torture Treaty (signed in 1988). Within the treaty lies a definition for what acts constitute torture.
Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person, information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
— Convention Against Torture, Article 1.1
I wonder what part of “severe pain or suffering” was not clear?
The Bush White House, we must remember, sought out lawyers who were amenable to their enhanced interrogation views. They struck gold (maybe I should say muck) when they hired Jonathan Yoo who wrote the infamous torture opinion (pain equivalent to organ failure was Yoo’s standard).
Regardless of what Cheney and others felt (like the risk the US was exposed to), they knowingly chose to rig the system in order to convince CIA agents to torture, Congress to look the other way, and do it in such a way that there would be deniability for senior officials including themselves.
Cheney’s actions at this time could be an attempt to rewrite history. His outburst are far more likely aimed at minimizing any chance of prosecution by the Justice Department.
There is nothing in this issue that is Democrat or Republican, or Progressive or Conservative in nature. This is more about Libertarianism versus Authoritarianism. This is about clever leaders rigging the system so they could flaunt what ever rules they pleased, for what ever reasons they had.
Dick Cheney belongs to the Dr Strangelove era where the world was divided into white hats and black hats.
What is even more disheartening is a quote attributed to Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia. He said he did not read anything in the Constitution which prevented “coercion”.
Hmmm, what a polite way to refer to torture.