Meh Culpa

In His Own Defense, Cheney Requests Classified Torture Memos That Appalled Others

Not only that, a 2002 Pentagon memo declared that torture gained unreliable information. Rachel Maddow’s guest, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, agrees with me that the Bush administration was outrageously fearful, more so than was necessary given the level of terrorism aimed at the USA versus the terrorism other countries have lived with.

Lawrence Wilkerson was former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff.  He has written “Some Truths about Guantanamo Bay,” in which he called Dick Cheney ‘evil’  and “‘They’ Have Stolen My Party And I Want It Back.” Wilkerson  has also appeared on Frontline‘s The  Dark Side” where he depicted  Cheney’s reaction to 9/11 as paranoid and claims, rightly I think, that Cheney has misunderstood the nature of our conflict with Al Qaeda.

Personally, I’d like to see a call for Nuremberg Rules.  We have the obligation to prosecute war crimes, whether or they are formulated and committed by our own people.  Unless we hold our leaders to the same standards we hold leaders of other countries, no one will ever trust us again. And they’ll have good reason not to.   They’ll also be able to turn around and say, “Hey, look:  Democracy doesn’t work.”

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April 25, 2009 Posted by | Abu Ghraib, Afghan War, Afghanistan, Arab world, Bush administration, Cheney, Executive branch, Guantanamo, human rights, Iraq, Iraq War, Middle East, Pentagon, politics, torture, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Dick on Torture: Jim Lehrer interviews Cheney

An excerpt from last night’s “News Hour” on PBS.

MR. LEHRER: A specific question related to that: Lead story in the Washington Post this morning is about a Bush administration official, Susan Crawford, who said, on the record, that she had recommended against charging one of the detainees at Guantanamo, a native of Saudi Arabia, because he had, in fact, been tortured at Guant

Meh Culpa: Susan Crawford was recommending against charging Qatani because once an individual has been tortured, the evidence gained is unreliable.  Or not worth admitting into evidence because it’s suspect.

And she made this comment, here – let me find it; here it is – this is Susan Crawford, who used to work for you, I understand, right?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: She worked at the department when I was there, correct.

MR. LEHRER: When you were at the Pentagon. She said, “I think someone should acknowledge that mistakes were made and that they hurt the effort,” meaning the whole effort in Guantanamo and dealing with the terrorists, quote, “and take responsibility for it.” End quote. Do you agree with her?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t know the specifics of what she’s talking about.

MR. LEHRER: You have never heard about this Saudi Arabia –

VICE PRES. CHENEY: I had heard about this individual before. This is Mr. Qatani, who was the 20th hijacker. He tried to get into the United States so he could get on one of the airplanes on 9/11 and fly into the Pentagon or the World Trade Center. He was stopped by an alert customs agent in Florida, I believe. I’m also, as I recall – I read the article this morning – that she said all of the techniques that were utilized were authorized.

Meh Culpa: In terms of the “value” of this “enemy combatant,” he’d be the last person you’d want to torture because you’d want good information.  Unfortunately, you might learn his knowledge was limited because he was part of a cell and perhaps had no contact with higher-ups. This could be frustrating, but it wouldn’t be worth torturing the individual and compromising American values.

None of them were in violation of the basic fundamental tenets that we used out there. She was, as I understand it, complaining about the way in which – well, specifically, the way in which they were administered – I don’t have any way to judge that; I’m sure that the Defense Department has or will thoroughly investigate it and get to the bottom of it.

They’re very good at those sort of things. So it’s entirely possible there was a problem in terms of how one specific prisoner was handled. I can’t claim perfection. But what I can say is that in terms of what the policies of the administration were, both at the White House level and at the Defense Department, was that enhanced interrogation was okay.

Meh Culpa: The comment that “enhanced interrogation” was okay because White House and DOD policy said was, is disingenuous at best. At worst it is a bald-faced lie. I’m going with the bald-faced lie.  Moreover, Andrew Sullivan has repeatedly pointed out that “enhanced interrogation” was the term used by the Gestapo for their torture techniques–and the same used by the US and authorized by the Bush administration.

We had specific techniques that were approved by the Justice Department – but that we don’t torture and that we would not support torture from the standpoint of policy. It was not the policy of this administration.

We’ve seen evidence of the administration’s inestimably tortured logic on many occasions (i.e., Cheney is his own branch of government. Whew!).  Here we have doublespeak for “We have approved techniques that have been illegal for almost forever, techniques the Nazis used on their prisoners, but they aren’t torture because we say they aren’t. You believe us, right? Yay!”

Just because the president says it’s legal doesn’t mean it is. Remember Nixon?  And even though Addington and Yoo knew that almost every single interrogator would never “intend to inflict severe pain and suffering,” (which ostensibly would have gotten the interrogators off the hook in a war crimes trial) for them to study it, and say it is legal doesn’t mean it is.

MR. LEHRER: But just, for a general premise here, looking back, you don’t – nothing happened that you feel was over the line or that you feel that was a miscalculation or mistake of some kind?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, in terms of the treatment of a specific individual, I can’t say that. (Oh, yeah. Because there was only one…) We had Abu Ghraib, for example. In that case, I believe, based on what I’ve seen, that that was the result of some military personnel who were improperly supervised – weren’t given the right kind of guidance, weren’t managed properly.

As we dig in and look at hundreds of cases, we may well find a few people who were not properly treated. (A few, huh?) You know, I ran the Pentagon. I know that you can’t absolutely guarantee, at all times, that everybody’s doing it the way they’re supposed to be doing it.

(Oh, really. You can’t can you? So it’s just a few people lower on the totem pole who are responsible for torture?  The Word didn’t come from the top?)

I can tell you what the policy was; I can tell you that we had all the legal authorization we needed to do it, including the sign-off of the Justice Department. I can tell you it produced phenomenal results for us, and that a great many Americans are alive today because we did all that. And I think those are the important considerations.

Meh Culpa: Alberto Gonzalez doesn’t even understand the Constitution. Gonzalez is the same rat bastard who told G.W. Bush that the Geneva Convention didn’t apply to captured members of the Taliban because the group wasn’t recognized as rulers of the “failed state.”  This is the same bozo who thinks that because the war on terror–a phrase we’re not supposed to use anymore, unless we are–is a “new paradigm,” the Geneva Convention is “obsolete” and “quaint.”

That’s where you got your legal authorization, D I C K.

Sheesh.

Also, the “detainees” (a euphemism for POW) whom the US has released due to lack of evidence or because they’ve been tortured and the “evidence” they spewed isn’t admissable in court, whether they were innocent or guilty, are now  joining the resistance.  How is that saving Americans, D I C K?  How are those “phenomenal results”?

MR. LEHRER: And you’re personally very comfortable with that?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: I am.

MR. LEHRER: For what happened and the reasons it happened and the end result?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: In terms of the interrogation, generally?

MR. LEHRER: Yes, absolutely.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: General policy?

MR. LEHRER: General policy.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Absolutely.

January 15, 2009 Posted by | Abu Ghraib, Bush administration, Cheney, corruption, Defense, Executive branch, Geneva Conventions, Iran, Iraq War, political operatives, politics, torture, US Constitution, war crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment