Cheney Carries Torturers’ Brief
July 26, 2005
Leave it to Dick Cheney to carry the brief for torturers.
According to The Washington Post, the Vice President has twice now gone to Capitol Hill to try to keep Republicans from siding with Democrats on a bill that would prevent Donald Rumsfeld and the military from carrying out more torture and abuse of the likes they inflicted on detainees at Abu Ghraib, Gauntanamo, and Bagram Air Force Base.
To be specific, the bill would bar the military—but not the CIA!—from “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of detainees. The Treaty Against Torture already bars this in its formal title, so the fact that Cheney now opposes such language tells you just how he feels about obeying that treaty.
According to the Post, the bill would also prohibit the military from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, something Donald Rumsfeld himself did on at least one occasion.
And it would prohibit “interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual.” Some of these, like the use of stress positions and the sicking of dogs on detainees, had been approved by Rumsfeld in a December 2, 2002, memo, which he later rescinded.
The need for such legislation could not be more stark. The torture and abuse of prisoners have been widespread and, according to the Pentagon itself, U.S. personnel have murdered more than two dozen detainees.
But Cheney told Republican Senators that this bill would “usurp the President’s authority” as commander in chief and impede his efforts to protect America from terrorist attacks, the Post reported.
Cheney believes in unlimited and unchecked Presidential power in foreign and military affairs—including even the power to authorize the military to torture, regardless of our treaty obligations.