The Senate Committee on Intelligence (Yes, I know, there are many who would question if there is any intelligence in Washington) has released its report on torture and its insights into the actions of the CIA under the Bush administration is not pretty. The report shows that waterboarding was only one of the methods used, and not even the worst at that.
Among other things, the report shows that we abducted suspected terrorists, many who were innocent and held at least 119 captive. 26 of the captives were illegally held. The captives were subjected, not only to waterboarding, but to numerous other forms of torture, such as sleep deprivation and sustained eardrum-piercing noises. Some were shackled in “stress” positions. Some were held in complete darkness with only a bucket to use as a toilet. Many were threatened with rape by objects such as a broom handle. Some, who tried to end their misery through hunger strikes, were fed rectally. And at least one died.
These are not descriptions of POW abuse committed by North Vietnam, North Korea or WWII-era Japan. These are descriptions of prisoner abuse by the good ol’ US of A.
And what did we accomplish from our violations of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners? Nothing. According to the report, we gained no information that was useful or that hadn’t already been gained from humane interrogations. Yet our Torturer-In-Chief, Richard “The Dick” Cheney, says he stands behind the program of “extraordinary renditions” and “enhanced interrogations” (aka torture), and he would do it again.
Keep in mind, this is a man who bravely avoided the military draft through a series of 5 deferrals. A man who ignored the advice and counsel of military heroes who had themselves been subjected to torture as POWs. A man who outed a CIA agent as payback for her husband revealing information that blew a hole in the administration’s case for war in Iraq. A man too cowardly to dirty his own hands. Instead, he stood behind the dark curtain pulling the puppet strings of the torturers.
We vilified some low-level military officers for their role in the abuses uncovered at Abu Grahib. We published pictures of them holding prisoners on dog leashes. We showed them threatening prisoners with dogs. We showed them holding naked, blindfolded men in stress positions. We dishonorably discharged them. And we sent some of them to prison. Yet the puppetmaster who authorized and encouraged their actions not only walks free. He has become a celebrity on Fox News Channel and conservative hate radio. And he continues to support one of the most embarrassing chapters in US history.
I believe Richard “The Dick” Cheney is an international war criminal. He, and all of his co-conspirators should be tried for war crimes and, if convicted, sent to prison where, unlike his victims, Cheney can rest assured that he won’t be subjected to torture.