Cheney Still Hearts Gitmo; the Senate Does Not Heart Cheney
Amid the Bushie farewell tour over the past week, Cheney has time and again stuck up for his administration's use of, ahem, "questionable" tactics in treating prisoners at Abu Ghraib and inside Gitmo, on Miami's favorite neighboring island to the south. Cheney told Rush Limbaugh last week: "I think Guantanamo has been very well run ... Guantanamo has been very, very valuable."
Alas, Cheney's friends on the Senate Armed Services Committee do not seem to agree. After the jump, read a few highlights from the committee's scathing, recently released report tracking the use of torture and its tacit approval by the Bush administration.
Lately, the call to prosecute high-level Bush officials for the torture of detainees has moved beyond the hemp-wearing left and into the mainstream -- especially since the Senate Armed Services Committee released parts of a bipartisan report last week all but recommending war-crimes charges against a slew of top execs.
Here are a few of the best passages from the report, which you can read here:
"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of "a few bad apples" acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality and authorized their use against detainees. Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority."
"On Feb. 7, 2002, President Bush made a written determination that ... the Geneva Convention, which would have afforded a minimum standard for humane treatment, did not apply to al Qaeda or the Taliban detainees. Following the President's determination, techniques such as waterboarding, nudity, and stress positions ... were authorized."
"The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own. Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees of their clothes, placing them in stress positions, and using military working dogs to intimidate them appeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at GTMO. What followed was an erosion in the standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely."
Most experts believe war-crimes charges against top officials are unlikely, but at the very least, Obama and Biden are sticking by their plans to close Gitmo's detention center.
-- Tim Elfrink