What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 30, 2011

Why Hasn't Cheney Been Arrested?

From Realclearpolitics:
[NBC's Jamie] Gangel: "A conservative hero the his fans, Darth Vader to his critics, Cheney 's book is an unapologetic defense to his Vice Presidency and the controversial programs he's championed after 9/11. In your view, we should still be using enhanced interrogation?"

Cheney: "Yes."

Gangel: "Should we still be waterboarding terror suspects?

Cheney: "I would strongly support using it again if we had a high-value detainee, that was the only way we could get him to talk."

Gangel: "People call it torture. you think it should still be a tool?"

Cheney: "Yes."
Ok, ok, ok. Let me stop the "unbiased" Gangel right there. People don't call waterboarding torture. The Law calls waterboarding torture. US and International Law:
In fact what Cheney said goes directly against the UN Conventions:
For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. [emphasis added.]
Ah, the joys of an "unbiased" interviewer! By putting it in "People call it..." rather than "The law says..." frame, she gets Cheney is off at least one rhetorical hook. Why couldn't she just say it was illegal (not to mention immoral and counterproductive)?

And that being the case, why isn't Dick Cheney in jail?

For that, I guess, we have our disappointing President to thank.

Doesn't change the fact that waterboarding is torture and torture is a war crime and George Bush and Dick Cheney are war criminals.


Bram Reichbaum said...

If we prosecuted Cheney and Rumsfeld for their war crimes, half the national security apparatus of the country be in a panicked stupor watching their backs, covering their asses, and getting their stories straight instead of doing anything like their jobs.

Also, there's a not-at-all insignificant chance it would result in some serious home-grown terrorism -- as half the country was wholeheartedly proud of those war crimes having being committed.

I'm not happy to see them unpunished on book tours either, but there's a cost-benefit analysis to the country and to the administration. I'm not "disappointed" in the decision. Maybe the Hague will snatch them one day.

EdHeath said...

I sort of agree with Bram's comment, except that the Obama administration has allowed domestic spying to continue, I believe rendition is still continuing and the Obama Justice department is actually working harder on prosecuting whistle blowers.

It does sort of make sense *not* to go after Cheney (and Bush) legally, because almost half the country does think these men helped saved us from more terror attacks. It was not the most noble chapter in our history by any stretch, yet it goes too far to save we should throw the former President and Vice President under the bus to try to demonstrate what good people we are to the rest of the world.

Having said that, I think the Obama administration should have immediately (or still should) returned to a level of domestic surveillance equivalent to what existed during the Clinton administration. Or if we need increased domestic security, we could start or increase guard at major and minor ports (such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles and San Fransisco). Those are the jobs our national security apparatus should be doing.

This looking forward, not backward crap that the Obama administration is pedaling seems more like an excuse to continue many of the bad practices of the Bush/Cheney years. We could at least stop those practices.

Heir to the Throne said...

Ed, Old Froth
I would guess the term "torture" would apply to the severe mental suffering intentionally inflicted on persons for obtaining a confession by the Law Enforcement/Police.

like Jeff Deskovic or the Norfolk four.

Dayvoe said...

As usual, I can not understand the point HTTT is making. So I'll just ignore it.

I can see your point(s) - HOWEVER if that's the path the country takes, then they get away with committing war crimes. it's as simple as that. And if Obama lets them, then he's almost as guilty as they are.

And there's no chance of The Hague getting into the act. As far as I know, The US is not a part of the ICC so it has no jurisdiction to bring charges. The only chance would be a third country that has signed the UN articles against torture to bring charges when/if Bush or Cheney set foot in that country.

Like recently when Bush cancelled a trip to Switzerland.

Clyde Wynant said...

At some point, some day, someone has to draw a line in the sand. If our nation can't bring its leaders to justice for gross malfeasance, what chance does a loser, lame-ass citizen, with no money and no "position" have?

THAT is the problem.

(And thankfully Bush wasn't in Switzerland recently when I was....)

Ol' Froth said...

WHy are you bringing me into this Heir? Until now, I haven't commented on this post.