Sunday, November 06, 2005

Cheney the torturer -- "relentless moral cretinism"

Last night, I wrote about yet another piece of evidence that the Bush Administration used selective intelligence to justify its war in Iraq, specifically the fact that a key informer in American custody, a certain al Qaeda official named al-Libi, was known well before the war to be a "fabricator" of information.

Today, Kevin Drum, whom I quoted in last night's post, has an important post on how that information was gathered -- and on Vice President Cheney's role in the gathering:

Via Atrios, it turns out that we had excellent reasons to be skeptical of al-Libi's testimony. As Newsweek reported last year, al-Libi was one of the first test cases for Dick Cheney's campaign to introduce torture as a standard interrogation technique overseas, replacing the FBI's more mainstream methods...

Not only did the details of his testimony seem inconsistent with known facts, but DIA knew perfectly well he had given up this information only under torture and was probably just saying anything that came to mind in order to get it to stop.

As Mark Kleiman points out, this is the pragmatic case against torture: not only is it wrong, but it doesn't even provide reliable information anyway — and it makes Cheney's relentless moral cretinism on the subject all the worse. Larry Wilkerson, who investigated this back when he was Colin Powell's chief of staff, confirms that "there was a visible audit trail from the vice president's office" that authorized the practices that led to the abuse of detainees, and Cheney continues to vigorously support the use of torture to this day, pressuring Congress behind closed doors not to pass John McCain's anti-torture legislation...

If conservatives dislike Dick Durbin's comparison of American practices to those of Hitler and Stalin, they should make clear to Dick Cheney that America doesn't condone the practices of Hitler and Stalin. Because apparently, the vice president of the United States does condone them. Vigorously. It's enough to make any decent human being puke.

Yes it is.

Lades and gentleman, the Vice President of the United States.

(I previously defended Senator Durbin for "courage in a time of cowardice" here.)


Around the blogosphere:

Andrew Sullivan (via Kevin's post): "A man who avoided service in Vietnam is lecturing John McCain on the legitimacy of torturing military detainees. But notice he won't even make his argument before Senate aides, let alone the public. Why not? If he really believes that the U.S. has not condoned torture but wants to reserve it for exceptional cases, why not make his argument in the full light of day? You know: where democratically elected politicians operate."

Indeed, how does Cheney have any credibility at all on this?

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow looks at the bigger picture: "Not that they cared [about selective intelligence, much derived from torture]. Their intention was to invade Iraq, and they'd use absolutely anything in order to fabricate a case of their own. And yet, they never made the case. The only people who ever really believed this stuff were those who were not really looking for a reason, and who would probably have been happy to go to war without being given one at all... [W]e need to tell the world that we repudiate these people. Putting them in jail would be simple justice, but national security demands that we get them the hell out of our government." Read the whole thing.

See also The Agonist and Marty Kaplan at The Huffington Post.

On the right, see Outside the Beltway: "It may well be the case that Libi was a 'fabricator.' But there is simply no question that Saddam had a long history of dealings with Islamist terrorist groups." How convenient to write off going to war on fabricated evidence. And what about the whole torture thing? Or is that too embarrassing for the right?


Elsewhere, McCain is taking action against this culture of torture and the enabling thereof in the Bush Administration: "Girding for a potential fight with the Bush administration, supporters of a ban on torturing prisoners of war by U.S. interrogators threatened Friday to include the prohibition in nearly every bill the Senate considers until it becomes law. The no-torture wording, which proponents say is supported by majorities in both houses of Congress, was included last month in the Senate's version of a defense spending bill. The measure's final form is being negotiated with the House, and the White House is pushing for either a rewording or deletion of the torture ban."

Of course it is. And of course McCain is doing the right thing. (I agree with Justin Gardner at Donklephant: "Keep fighting the good fight John!")

Crooks and Liars comments.

Bookmark and Share


  • Michael...

    I stumbled into this blog the other day. I like.

    Keep up the good work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home