Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Cheney Offended
Cheney Offended
by Matthew Rothschild

Dick Cheney says he's "offended."

Not by torture at Guantanamo.

But by Amnesty International's criticism of it.

Said Cheney on Larry King: "For Amnesty International to suggest that
somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly
just don't take them seriously."

He doesn't have to.

He's one of the most powerful men in the world.

And when he says white is black and up is down, he doesn't expect to
be contradicted. On the rare occasions that he is, he takes offense.

Cheney insisted that detainees at Guantanamo "have been well treated,
treated humanely and decently."

But while he was saying that, more reports were coming out from U.S.
tribunals at Guantanamo that echoed the torture that Amnesty
International was describing.

"Americans hit me and beat me up so badly I believe I'm sexually
dysfunctional," one detainee told the tribunal, according to AP.
Another described how an American interrogator "threatened me with a
gun to my mouth, to try to make me say something," the AP story by
Paisley Dodds said.

And these aren't, by any means, the first such reports.

Mustafa Ait Idir had an especially gruesome experience, according to a
lawsuit filed on his behalf.

"The guards secured his hands behind his back, and while he was so
restrained the guards picked him up and slammed his body and his head
into the steel bunk in his cell. The guards picked him up again and
banged his head on the toilet in his cell . . . (and) stuffed Mr. Ait
Idir's face in the toilet and repeatedly pressed the flush button. Mr.
Ait Idir was starting to suffocate, and he feared he would drown. The
guards then carried Mr. Ait Idir outside the cell and threw him on the
ground. His hands still were manacled behind his back. They held him
down and pushed a garden hose into his mouth. They opened the spigot.
As the water rushed in, Mr. Ait Idir began to choke." After further
beating that day, he suffered a stroke, the lawsuit says. (This
account appears in Amnesty International USA's report, "Guantanamo and
Beyond: The continuing pursuit of unchecked executive power.")

Such treatment does not sound "humane" and "decent" to me.

But neither am I surprised by it.

Shortly after 9/11, Cheney told Tim Russert that the US would have to
work "the dark side" and would have to use "any means at our

It's certainly done that.

But Cheney is hard-pressed to say now, to Larry King, that the dark
side is humane and decent.