Our President recently admitted that the torture techniques used at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, were approved by the Vice President’s “Principals Committee”, “I’m aware our national-security team met on this issue. And I approved.” He justified this action by saying that thousands of American lives were saved. But finally an important former CIA Officer, Milt Bearden has spoken out against this Big Lie.
The administration’s claims of having “saved thousands of Americans” can be dismissed out of hand because credible evidence has never been offered — not even an authoritative leak of any major terrorist operation interdicted based on information gathered from these interrogations in the past seven years. All the public gets is repeated references to Jose Padilla, the Lakawanna Six, the Liberty Seven and the Library Tower operation in Los Angeles. If those slapstick episodes are the true character of the threat, then maybe we’ll be okay after all.
When challenged on the lack of a game-changing example of a derailed operation, administration officials usually say that the need to protect sources and methods prevents revealing just how enhanced interrogation techniques have saved so many thousands of Americans. But it is irresponsible for any administration not to tell a credible story that would convince critics at home and abroad that this torture has served some useful purpose.
John McCain used to want to close down Guantanamo Bay, but last week he called the Supreme Court decision in favor of the detainees, “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.” He can’t have it both ways. Yesterday the very conservative Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, ruled that the government evidence against a Chinese Guantanamo detainee who has been seeking redress for five years was straight out of Alice in Wonderland.
With some derision for the Bush administration’s arguments, a three-judge panel said the government contended that its accusations against the detainee should be accepted as true because they had been repeated in at least three secret documents.
The court compared that to the absurd declaration of a character in the Lewis Carroll poem “The Hunting of the Snark”: “I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.”
“This comes perilously close to suggesting that whatever the government says must be treated as true,” said the panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
This travesty must end. Its clear where Obama stands on this issue. As for John McCain, it’s not so clear. If this election does nothing more than restore the Geneva Conventions, the rule of law and America’s honor–it must be seen as a great victory.