The war criminals have been crawling out of the woodwork lately. Boasting about being part of the Bush administration Ministry of Torture seems to be the thing to do lately. First there was former VP Dick Cheney in a speech at American University (who must be really desperate for guest speakers) on March 28 making the claim that I would expect from any demented sociopath, that torture isn’t really torture and that given the chance he would “do it all over again.”
Now the Washington Post (which must be equally desperate for opinion page contributors) runs an op-ed written by Jose Rodriguez Jr., the former head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, denouncing the recently de-classified Senate Intelligence Committee report on terrorist interrogation practices, aka torture–which he hasn’t yet read.
Rodriguez gives three justifications for the program which he oversaw and now defends.
The first is an oldie but still a Bush administration stand by. Because 9/11. Because 9/11, the Bush-Cheney catch-all as a reason for torture, the invasion of Iraq, the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretaps, and extraordinary rendition, among many more. Because 9/11, the flag under which a whole host of nefarious activities flew.
The second is one Cheney also like to fall back on–torture worked. Well no it didn’t, and there’s no credible evidence to prove that it did. Zero Dark Thirty is a movie, not a documentary. But let’s indulge the war criminals for a moment. So what if it did work? Robbing a bank is an effective means of solving one’s financial problems. Carjacking is an effective means of solving one’s transportation issues. Doesn’t matter, it’s still against the law Torture is illegal, effective or not.
The third and final reason is one that goes back to the days of Nixon and Watergate. Torture was “approved at the highest levels of government” and “judged legal by the Justice Department.” The old “if the president does it…” rationale.
Earlier in the piece, Rodriguez accuses the Senate Intelligence Committee of starting with a conclusion and then chasing supportive evidence in regards to the effectiveness and management of the torture program. Isn’t that exactly what the Bush administration did? Yes, it is. They started with the conclusion that waterboarding wasn’t really torture (never mind that members of the Japanese military were found guilty and punished following WWII for using the same tactic) and then had a corrupt Attorney General and his equally corrupt, morally/ethically challenged underlings in the DOJ concoct memos with twisted legal justification for it.
Rodriguez should have a room reserved for him in Leavenworth. Right next door to the big Dick.