Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Why the Torture Memos Matter

Despite the claim of Shepard Smith on Fixed News that "We are America! We don't f--king torture" we did and there is a record of the memos that lead to the legal opinions that supposedly justified it. Dank Is Back on Daily Kos put together a detailed summary of the timeline involved in manufacturing the memos. Five days after 9-11 Dick Cheney went on Meet The Press and basically endorsed torture being used to interrogate suspected terrorists. In less than a month they sent former CIA director James Woolsey to England "In search of evidence connecting Iraq to the 9-11 attacks.." This obsession with proving the non-existent link between the 9-11 hijackers and Saddam Hussein was THE driving force behind the use of torture. To date there is simply no evidence that torture ever prevented an attack on the U.S. What it did do was ruin the whole worlds image of who we are as a nation.
When a President and Vice President talk lawyers into writing memos ignoring Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and using transparent semantic tricks to label acts of torture as something else, it was not only wrong, it was a criminal act.
And like all of the criminal acts of the Bush-Cheney administration they acted against the best advice of experienced councils like Colin Powell and Richard Clarke. They made these decisions in secret, without the consent of congress and the American people as though they were a monarchy. They didn't order a study of interrogation methods and their effectiveness, they didn't ask the military what they thought and they ginned the memos to cover the CIA folks who knew they would be hung out to dry by the next administration. In other words, like everything else their administration did they displayed a contempt for the rule of law, treaties and civil liberties. That is why the torture memos must be pursued to their source and the perpetrators tried in a court of law.