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Wanting for some way to respond to Dick Cheney's latest bluster-fest this past weekend, I've been chipping in my two cents worth in the comments section of a Peter Beinart essay at The Daily Beast, "Cheney's Real Enemy is Bush."

Beinart notes how, "the vice president — aided by his old friend Donald Rumsfeld, and his key aides Scooter Libby and David Addington — got Bush to pursue a war on terror largely outside the law [emphasis added]."  

And how is it, I wonder, that someone who plotted and waged an aggressive war; someone who, according to Major General Antonio Taguba, "authorized a systematic regime of torture," continues to receive such political and journalistic deference?

Commenting as Manonfyre:

Mr. Richard Bruce Cheney, the congressional Republicans who "parrot" his words, and a certain segment of the American electorate are engaged in the politics of blood lust in response to the horrors of 9/11.

The former Vice President acted, and continues to advocate acting, "largely outside the law." And we're not talking about nagging little legal technicalities, here.

The concept of "the laws of war" may be perplexing to many. Yet, in the wake of WWII, a global conflagration that killed 60-80 million people, "the greatest generation" codified unambiguous, black-letter laws regarding "crimes against peace and humanity," including wars of aggression and torture.

In a charge to the Northern Expeditionary Force, Sept. 14, 1775, General George Washington, Commander of the Continental Army, stated the following:

"Should any American soldier be so base and infamous as to injure any [prisoner]. . . I do most earnestly enjoin you to bring him to such severe and exemplary punishment as the enormity of the crime may require. Should it extend to death itself, it will not be disproportional to its guilt at such a time and in such a cause... for by such conduct they bring shame, disgrace and ruin to themselves and their country."

Lincoln, too, forbade any form of torture or cruelty against captive prisoners of war, and stated, "If torture isn't wrong, then nothing is wrong."

But good ol' Dick, here, implemented a widespread regime of torture and cruelty throughout CIA and US military detention facilities -- a moral and criminal horror show that even led, in dozens of reported instances, to the torture murders of captive prisoners. We know, too, that much of torture was conducted, not to elicit "actionable intelligence," but to force false confessions regarding the "Big Lies" we were told about non-existent WMDs and links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda -- the false justifications for plotting and waging a war of aggression -- the false justifications for committing "the supreme international crime [~Robert H. Jackson]."

Slobodan Milosevic and Pinochet and others, for a time, had their political supporters and evaded justice, too.

Reply by Trueconserv:

Uh, Linclon jailed many who disagreed with him. Both Washington and Lincoln held military tribunals. We've held them since the Revolutionary War.

And FYI - the military gets waterboarded for training purposes. Seems we gained actionable intell from the guys who were waterboarded and it saves thousands of lives.

Another FYI - Saddam DID use WMD's, just ask the U.N.and thousands of Kurds and Iranians. You idiot.

Follow-on comment as Manonfyre:

Mr., "Uh," True,

There is a clear historical record of the United States regarding and prosecuting the use of water torture as a war crime. See, for example, "Drop by Drop: Forgetting the History of Water Torture in U.S. Courts," by Evan Wallach.

" ... following World War II, war crime trials were convened [the International Military Tribunal for the Far East]. The Japanese were tried and convicted and hung for war crimes committed against American POWs. Among those charges for which they were convicted was waterboarding."

~ John McCain on Thursday, November 29th, 2007 in a campaign event in St. Petersburg

In US vs Parker, et al, the Reagan Justice Department prosecuted San Jacinto County [Texas] Sheriff James Parker and three of his deputies -- Carl Lee, Floyd Allen Baker and John Glover -- for waterboarding prisoners to extract confessions. The deputies were sentenced to 4 years in prison. Sheriff Parker got a 10-year sentence.

The point of subjecting SERE trainees to waterboarding is to acquaint them with what they might be in for, if they are captured, and their captors subject to this form of criminal torture.

And, would that the monstrous abuse of detainees in US custody, orchestrated by Cheney, et al, was confined to "mere" waterboarding.

From, "Down a Dark Road," by Washington Post Staff Writer, Richard Leiby:

"In 2002, a young Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar, who'd never spent a night away from his dusty little village, got lost in the fog of war and took a wrong turn into an abyss from which he would never return. It was a detention center at Bagram Air Base, where he was grilled on suspicion of being a Taliban fighter. Military interrogators hung him from a cage in chains, kept him up all night and kicked him senseless, turning his legs into pulp.

He lasted only five days. . . It turned out that Dilawar (who, like many Afghans, used only one name) was not an enemy fighter, had no terrorist connections and had committed no crime at all."

It's said that his arms dislocated from their sockets and "flapped like a bird's broken wings, when he taken down for interrogation." As he hung from the ceiling, he was subjected to numerous "peroneal" knee strikes, over the course fo several days, that rendered the musculature of his thighs to mush. A death certificate signed by military pathologist, Lt. Col. Elizabeth A. Rouse of the Air Force, ruled his "manner of death" as "homicide," not "natural," "accident," or "suicide" -- the result of the abuse he received from the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion of the US Army.

His torture murder is but one among many. Summaries of similar DOD autopsy reports can be seen here:

[the fourth entry on this list is probably Dilawar's]

"Deaths of Detainees in the Custody of U.S. Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2002 to 2005," a peer-reviewed study published by Medscape General Medicine, found that, among 112 recorded deaths, "homicide" was the leading cause of death.

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration [Bush/Cheney] has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account. . . The commander in chief [Bush] and those under him [Cheney, et al] authorized a systematic regime of torture."

~ Major General Antonio Taguba, in the preface to, "Broken Laws, Broken Lives"

Simple-minded calculations of "moral equivalence" are no defense, sir.

And yet, our nation's mad holiday from the rule of law continues.

Originally posted to manonfyre on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 12:29 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  seriously, the man goes on TV (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, manonfyre, Sunspots

    and friggin' brags about how we tortured human beings, and the media just lets him do it.  It's a failure not only of our media but the DOJ which has steadfastly refused to prosecute him for war crimes.

  •  This is what happens (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    manonfyre, SuperBowlXX, Sunspots

    when powerful people can commit crimes and are held above the law.

    Dick Cheney knows he will not be prosecuted, so, he openly brags about being a criminal.

    I think what Dick Cheney is doing is a lot more toxic than a mere blusterfest. He's working extremely hard at establishing and cementing the lowest possible bar for the next Movement Conservative administration to shimmy under.

    The second it was successfully argued in political circles that it would be too politically difficult to deal with Bush era crimes the bar was set for the next generations assassinations, hidden torture chambers, and massive overreaches.

    The Village and the political elite decided that investigating the Bush administration would be too disruptive to the cause of moving forward. Then, hilariously enough, the Democratic establishment allowed worshipping at the altar of 'bipartisanship' and begging and pleading for Olympia Snowe and other useless faux moderates to kneecap their ability to get anything substantial done as effectively as any feared paralysis from a return to the rule of law.

    If the GOP should, God Forbid, take over the House and the Senate and bury the Obama administration in enough Congressional investigations to tear it down, and a Sarah Palin or Mitt Romney is President in 2012, again, God Forbid, I wouldn't want to be a civilian living in Syria or Iran.

    It is laughable that conservatives who are always ranting and raving about liberal plots for Star Chambers, Drumhead trials, and secret relocation camps when "martial law is declared" are so quick to give the Government a blank check to kill and torture people as long as a Republican President establishes the bar for it.

    We certainly shouldn't be so quick to train our ire on the DOJ, it is the entire political establishment in DC, the media, the GOP, and the Democrats that are all giving Dick Cheney his cover to brag and boast about his thuggery.

  •  It is truly shocking that the man openly disavows (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    manonfyre, SuperBowlXX, Sunspots

    all ideals and the rule of law itself.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Feb 16, 2010 at 12:50:04 PM PST

  •  speaking of blood lust (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    this is something he likes to do on a regular basis:

    Upon his arrival at the exclusive Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier Township, gamekeepers released 500 pen-raised pheasants from nets for the benefit of him and his party. In a blaze of gunfire, the group—which included legendary Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach and U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), along with major fundraisers for Republican candidates—killed at least 417 of the birds. According to one gamekeeper who spoke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Cheney was credited with shooting more than 70 of the pen-reared fowl.

    That was before lunch.

    After lunch, the group shot flocks of mallard ducks, also reared in pens and shot like so many live skeet. There's been no report on the number of mallards the hunting party killed, but it's likely that hundreds fell.

  •  Public opinion is moving toward torture, too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    manonfyre, SuperBowlXX

    This open condoning and complete lack of consequences has to be one reason the majority now thinks torture is OK.

    Obama says we don't torture (but it's OK to have done it), and there are those stories from Afghanistan.

  •  thank you for your comments! n/t (0+ / 0-)

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