t r u t h o u t | 04.07
Bush's Tortured Legacy
Tuesday 07 April 2009
by: Dr. James J. Zogby, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Two major stories, prominently featured in The
The front-page banner headline in The
Nevertheless, the Post reports that, facing intense pressure from the White House, interrogators were pushed to use torture techniques in an effort to extract information from their prisoner. In the end, they found that the "fruit" of this torture was either information they already had or was misleading or useless. In the end, they concluded that the practice of torture was, at best, counterproductive.
Despite this conclusion by Abu Zubaidah's interrogators, the Post story quotes former Vice President Cheney, who continues to assert that "I've seen a report that was written, based upon the intelligence that we collected then, that itemizes the specific attacks that were stopped by virtue of what we learned through those programs."
Cheney, however, refuses to provide any evidence to make his case, refusing even to make it available in a classified setting to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has the legal oversight responsibility in these matters.
It must be noted that the former vice president's assertion is, itself, questionable - since he has on too many occasions stretched the truth and fudged facts. (At one point, for example, early in the
Nevertheless, Cheney's bold claim that torture was used, and that it worked, is important in another context.
As The New York Times reports, Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon has lodged a criminal complaint and begun an investigation of six former Bush administration officials (David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Douglas Feith and William Haynes II), charging them with possible violations of international law and the 1984 Geneva Convention against torture. Garzon is the same judge who issued an arrest order served in
All of this is, of course, embarrassing to the
What is interesting in all of this is the fact that with Cheney publicly acknowledging that "enhanced interrogation techniques" (i.e. torture) were used, the Spanish court should have an easy time making its case. Cheney's claim that those "techniques" worked will not impress the court, given that they are illegal in any instance.
The new Obama administration has its hands full with the troubled world they inherited from their predecessors. With two unfinished wars, continuing conflict in the
Dr. James J. Zogby is president of the Arab American Institute.
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