By Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
The turmoil surrounding the Senate’s recent report on CIA interrogation techniques was stirred further this past Sunday by Dick Cheney’s defiant remarks on NBC’s Meet the Press, only a few days after the report’s release. The former US vice president under George W. Bush was an integral supporter of the CIA program throughout its existence, even resisting when President Bush attempted to scale the program down. The Senate’s conclusion that the techniques used were both more brutal and more useless than what was previously claimed is already upsetting. Cheney’s response that he would “do it again in a minute” is, therefore, all the more galling.
His defense rests upon two claims: that the CIA’s procedures did not constitute torture, and that these activities were vital to saving American lives. These would be serious grounds for excusal if true. Therein lies the problem. Cheney clearly is not following the United Nations definition of torture as “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” Even if one ignores the United Nations in this regard–a bold move–the inadequacy of his “definition” (amounting on NBC to an off-hand reference to 9/11) is apparent. Senator John McCain has relentlessly challenged Cheney on this issue, even from the beginning of the CIA program. It is impossible to think of anyone in American politics who has more credibility on this topic than the man who was tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.
BreakThru News continued its conversation from last week in light of these recent developments with John Knefel of Radio Dispatch. It doesn’t seem like the public discussion will end anytime soon. Given the ambiguity of feelings toward torture, this is probably not a bad thing.
Host, Writer – Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein
Video Editor – Andy Morell
with guest – John Knefel