Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cheney's and Yoo's torture stances - rejected by military "heroes"

The last few weeks have brought some interesting - and disgusting - revelations about the willingness of former federal officials under George W. Bush to unleash truly any means necessary in the pursuit of victory in the "Global War on Terror."  Last Sunday, Bush's V-P Dick Cheney made the brazen admission (on national television, no less) that he was a "big fan of waterboarding."  Now, as the reports of John Yoo's interrogation by the Dept of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility are being made public, we get nuggets like:
"Pressed on his views in an interview with OPR investigators, Yoo was asked:

"What about ordering a village of resistants to be massacred? … Is that a power that the president could legally—’

"’Yeah,’ Yoo replied, according to a partial transcript included in the report. ‘Although, let me say this: So, certainly, that would fall within the commander-in-chief’s power over tactical decisions.’

"’To order a village of civilians to be [exterminated]?‘ the OPR investigator asked again.

"‘Sure,’ said Yoo."

(and I encourage one and all to read the fine essay in FireDogLake about Cheney, Yoo, and their ilk)

It's at least a little encouraging (only a little, given that the damage is done and their comments fall under the "too little, too late" category with regard to the US's reputation) that military worthies such as Colin Powell and David Petraeus today went on the record as opposed to the point of view still being propounded by their former commander-in-chief's VP.  Today's NY Times quotes General David Petraeus' comments this morning on NBC's "Meet the Press":
“Whenever we have, perhaps, taken expedient measures, they have turned around and bitten us in the backside,” he said. Whenever Americans have used methods that violate the Geneva Convention or the standards of the International Committee of the Red Cross, he said, “we end up paying a price for it ultimately. Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are non-biodegradable. They don’t go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick.”
Meanwhile, retired General and Bush Sec of State Colin Powell, on this morning's CBS "Face the Nation':
He also challenged criticism by some (including former Vice President Dick Cheney, who say that by not using extreme interrogation techniques such as waterboarding on terror suspects the United States is more vulnerable.

"The point is made, 'We don't waterboard anymore or use extreme interrogation techniques.' Most of those extreme interrogation techniques and waterboarding were done away with in the Bush administration.  They've been made officially done away with in this current administration."

. . . . to suggest that somehow we have become much less safer because of the actions of the administration, I don't think that's borne out by the facts."

Again, too little, too late.  But these nonetheless welcome comments from two men who have seen war in the face (as opposed to Messrs. Yoo and "I had other priorities during the Vietnam War" Cheney) reinforce the view - held by so very many, I'm sure - that
  •  for such a prestigious university as the University of California to retains on its faculty a mind as warped as John Yoo's is a gross misuse of taxpayer money and student tuition dollars.
  •  for Dick Cheney, for the sake of the country to which he professes such great devotion, it's time to go back to Wyoming, grab his shotgun, go outside and play . . . but, basically, STAY THERE and - to put it as kindly and graciously as I feel he deserves - shut the fuck up. 

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