Monday, May 18, 2009

Bringing The New Torquemada To Justice

By Manifesto Joe

I confess that I've been a little nonplussed about the Obama administration's lack of aggressiveness in bringing the Bush-era war criminals to justice. The man who seems to present the biggest legal target is the modern Grand Inquisitor himself, Dick "Torquemada" Cheney.

It isn't merely that Cheney is a contemptible, sneering weasel who doesn't know when to give up on his special brand of right-wing whitewash. From the available evidence, it was the "vice president" of the time who is most directly traceable to orders to carry out "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Writing for Truthout, Steve Weissman brought out a few unsavory points about the employment of torture (yeah, let's call it by its honest name):

Cheney's signature success with torture came when the CIA sent al-Qaeda operative Ibn al-Shayk al-Libi to Egypt, where he "confessed" that Saddam Hussein had trained al-Qaeda in chemical weapons. Al-Libi's statement, extracted under torture, was the smoking gun that Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, and Colin Powell all used to sell their pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. So, don't tell Cheney that "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" do not work. They damned sure do if your goal is to get the propaganda you want to go to war.

Few in Congress or the mass media have pushed Cheney on this "great success." Fewer still have seen that that Bush and Cheney's illegal use of torture to sell their pre-emptive war in Iraq was probably their single greatest crime. Why the reluctance? Why do so many Americans refuse to see the obvious?

In large part because Congress, the corporate media, and even the general public were to some degree complicit in the crime. Whatever the CIA told Congressional leaders about waterboarding, sensory and sleep deprivation, stress positions, or sending captives to other counties for interrogation, only the mentally challenged had any excuse for not knowing from the public record at the time the rough outlines of how far Bush and Cheney had stepped beyond the law.

To read the entire article, go here.

The implications are far-reaching. It isn't merely a matter of Cheney, Il Doofus & Co. knowingly and deliberately violating the Geneva Conventions. They used evidence extracted from a terrorism suspect as part of the argument to drag the U.S. into one of our most needless and regrettable wars. The Iraqi loss of life has been staggering in proportion, comparable to that of the "pacification" of the Philippines over 100 years ago.

The probable waterboarding of one suspect may have led to slaughter on a mass scale, and robbed the U.S. of any moral authority it may have had, for generations. "We" weren't supposed to be doing this sort of thing -- that was the kind of thing that "we" said made the "bad guys" bad.

It's pretty obvious now that basing a war, at least in part, on the confession of one wretch who was being subjected to prolonged torture was the height of pseudo-pragmatic imbecility. I consider myself a reasonably tough person. But if you waterboarded me enough times, I would probably sign my house and car over to you and confess to the murders of Jonbenet Ramsey and the Lindbergh baby.

There's a rogue's gallery of suspects implicated in this, but the biggest cheese of all seems to be the gangsta that Il Doofus picked to be sort of a de facto president, his chief operating officer, "Torquemada" Cheney.

(An aside: One thing I am very proud of is that I never bought into any of this. I could see Bush becoming a neocon opportunist with his "Axis of Evil" State of the Union speech in January 2002, and I never believed anything the bastards said from that point on. Unfortunately, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and much of the allegedly liberal media did buy into at least some of it. As for me, I was against the Iraq misadventure from the very beginning.)

Sadly, Dick Cheney is likely to be dead of heart failure long before it would be possible for him to serve a day in jail. Obama and Eric Holder don't seem to want to push this, and if they don't change their minds, it will go down as another one of those hideous scandals that litter our history. I mentioned the "pacification" of the Philippines after the Spanish-American war. It's estimated that up to 1 million Filipinos died as a result, from fighting, hunger or disease. I learned this from independent reading as an adult. It's not often in history books. We mustn't let this episode of war crime slip into some footnote.

Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.


Jack Jodell said...

Let's not forget that scheming, conniving, ever-lying bastard Donald Rumsfeld, who played an enormous role in all of the Iraq debacle. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Addington, Bybee, Rice, Libby, and Fleischer should all be tried, convicted, and punished Nuremberg-style for war crimes and crimes against humanity!

Reas Kroicowl said...

"contemptible, sneering weasel"

Love that!

And although I agree whole-heartedly with what Jack is saying, in the end, it won't happen. Obama is way too slick of a politician to go there.

Anonymous said...

To the previous posting:
How is Iraq a "debacle"??
America won the war. Saddam is no more. Al- Qaeda has suffered a huge defeat. So will the Libs in the 2010 election.

Manifesto Joe said...

Anon, you don't seem to read much news. After a lull, violence in Iraq is sharply on the increase. The place is a powder keg that I expect to go off as soon as U.S. forces are gone. The country was all but destroyed, and the worst may be yet to come. In relative terms, the war wasn't costly to the U.S. in lives, but the wounded and maimed are numerous. And the cost the the U.S. in dollars, reputation, etc., has been staggering.