Vice-President Dick Cheney was personally responsible for American policies that subjected terrorist suspects to cruelty and denied them the right to a fair trial, according to revelations from senior US government officials.This is pathetic. The Telegraph's editors, right after reporting on Islamic extremists who've just demonstrated their hatred and intent, wring their hands and wet their beds over how we're handling unlawful enemy combatants.
The details have laid bare more than ever before the remarkable influence of Mr Cheney in shaping the prosecution of the war on terror which led to the scandals at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
...Vice-President Cheney went behind the backs of the secretary of state, Colin Powell, and the national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, to deny foreign terrorist suspects access to a court.
Then, in January 2002, Mr Cheney decided that America must abandon the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of enemy prisoners, which outlawed torture.
He personally commissioned legal opinions that would maintain a ban on torture but permit "cruel, inhuman or degrading" interrogation methods.
First, the bad guys we capture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere don't have the protections of our constitution. In fact, under international law, their legal status is closer to that of sea pirates. We shouldn't be taking prisoners, we should be bayoneting the wounded. But then we'd have nobody to "torture" for intel.
Which brings up the subject of "torture". With the exception of a few former detainees who've claimed being tortured, there's no evidence of actual torture. There have been a couple of videos floating around in which a reporter is waterboarded, and while it certainly looks like something I'd never want done to me, it hardly ranks up there with electrodes on the testicles. And any frat boy will tell you that panties on the head doesn't constitute torture.
Finally, the article reminds us of the "scandals at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib". Now, to be clear, Abu Ghraib was a scandal. Never, ever should our troops be engaging in that kind of conduct. American servicemen and women are briefed on the laws of armed conflict, which, the Telegraph's claims and our enemies actions notwithstanding, we still choose to follow. Blaming Cheney for Abu Ghraib is disingenuous in the extreme.
Guantanamo Bay, on the other hand, has not been the site of any scandals, except those fabricated by detainees and their accomplices in the press.
Maybe the problem is that in Britain, the terrorists are their own citizens and therefore protected under the law in a way that detainees at Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay are not.