Just when I thought I was getting away from politics, when I thought I had exhausted the topic of torture and Guantanamo, I see the embarrassingly disgusting and partisan reactions to the DOJ Ethics Panel request for preliminary investigations into detainee abuse. Just like with Michael in Godfather III, right when I think I’m out, they pull me back in.
To avoid repeating myself too much, where I have already made my argument, I will only add the following:
- Of course it is obvious why Just-Trust-Me-Dick is against investigations. All roads lead to Dick. It is almost impossible to argue with a straight face that the legal memos giving cover to the enhanced interrogation program were provided in good faith. In that sense, the Dick Cheney’s should be investigated, not the CIA. But as Kitapsiz has frequently commented, “What difference would it make in any event, he already shot a man in the face while under the influence and escaped the law …” As a result, just like with Abu Ghraib, the small fish pay the price.
- If credible claims of criminal activities exist or, in the alternative, if Dick Cheney is so sure that the CIA did nothing wrong, then why wouldn’t an investigation be a good thing? It would both reinforce the rule of law and set Mr. Cheney free.
- It is ironic that Mr. Cheney and the CIA defenders are calling this investigation partisan. This investigation would not have happened but for Mr. Cheney’s call for the enhanced interrogation program in the first place, a radical change in policy that, as detailed in the IG Report, even the CIA operatives recognized would eventually led them to be investigated. So although Cheney is now crying “foul play”, an eventual investigation was both foreseeable and anticipated. In that sense, the CIA was set up by Cheney. Furthermore, why is Cheney so worried about the CIA’s feelings? Does he think they are little children that need constant coddling?
- Most of Cheney’s fear-mongering about Obama making the U.S. less safe is directed at policy changes that took place during Bush’s second term and that Obama is simply continuing. Remember even Obama the sell-out is against Holder’s independent investigation.
- The Bush Administration did everything in its power to fabricate evidence and conceal information regarding the War in Iraq and has even recently admitted to manipulating terror alerts for political gain. The political and media class have had absolutely no accountability whatsoever for the key roles they’ve played in the massive propaganda campaign that has caused immeasurable death and destruction. The issue of torture only highlights the pathetic state of our establishment media and the farce that is congressional oversight. As Glenn Greenwald has written, Congress and the establishment media have played absolutely no role in demanding transparency here. The only reason any of this information is being disclosed at all is because of lawsuits by human rights groups. This represents a major failure in how our systems of checks and balance and free press are supposed to protect us from government abuse.
- We were led to believe that only the worst of the worst, the most hardened of terrorists were subjected to enhanced interrogation. We now know that to be false. We also know that numerous Guantanamo detainees who were tortured and kept in cages for years were later declared innocent, not by bleeding-heart left-wing socialists but by seasoned military judges.
- The press has largely ignored the fact that some one hundred detainees died under the enhanced conditions and apparently others “just got lost”.
- According to our treaty obligations and therefore as required by law (in conformance with the U.S. Constitution), the U.S. is obliged to investigate credible allegations of torture. Failure to do so may subject U.S. officials to criminal prosecution abroad. Once again, it was Cheney’s program that has set our guys up to become international pariahs.
- Since when was Jack Nicholson’s Cheney-esque “You can’t handle the truth” character from A Few Good Men supposed to be the hero or Daniel Day Lewis’ from In the Name of the Father (tortured until he confessed to a terrorist bombing he didn’t commit) the villain?
Back in 1998 during my last semester in law school, I worked on a project for the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law where I spent most of my time reading and compiling the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, including all of the gruesome details of torture from the worst years of Cuba, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil. For those of you who think that the IG Report is not so damning, it reads like it was right out of a Latin American dictatorship.
It’s interesting that we are supposed to be world leaders, beacons of light, yet the entire Republican Party and many Democrats, with an enabling press, are passionately against transparency and upholding the rule of law. As Juan Cole writes in reference to the CIA operatives who expressed concern about foreign prosecution,
But why weren’t they afraid of prosecution in U.S. courts? When did the U.S. go from having, in the Bill of Rights, among the most advanced human rights laws in the world to being a gulag backwater where it is only a trip to Holland that American torturers fear?
What is happening to us? Suddenly we are afraid of the rule of law. We refuse to innovate or even recognize, as in the case of health care, that other countries have models we can follow. Even in technology and infrastructure, we are falling behind (we are number 28 in the world in Internet connectivity speed). What is left of those infamous American values?