From Information Clearing House:
Open Letter To The honorable Dick Cheney
By Nolan K. Anderson
10/29/05 "ICH " -- --
Mr. Cheney, now that the United States has almost completely destroyed its own reputation, value system and integrity in the eyes of the world, you are proposing to influence enough lawmakers into re-making even a theoretical positive image of the United States into that of a third rate, third world junta-controlled fascist state, complete with all the inherent trappings of torture, terror and tyranny that makes these regimes feared and loathed around the world. (Quite an objective for any tyrant).
Even with the stigmas of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Bagram, Diego Garcia and Falluja fresh in the minds of the world, you are attempting to legitimize the gutting of the Geneva Convention and the U.N. Convention Against Torture by placing the barbaric tool of torture in the hands of a few “CIA sadists” to justify pursuing an unjustified war started and pursued by you and your president.
The 38 percent of the American population, which presently supports you and your leader’s actions, will keep dwindling as the suffering caused by body bags and missing body parts reaches closer and closer to their living rooms. But, by the time they realize that your need for the use of torture will never stop at the shores of the United States, it will be as late for THEM as for any conscript purchased from an Afghan war lord and designated for “CIA squeezing”.
By a recent vote of 90 to 9 in the United States Senate an amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill was written and sponsored by a former Viet Nam POW who can vouch for the value of torture as a tool of intelligence gathering. So far as we Americans know, Senator McCain never yielded to the pressures of torture to reveal information that would be of value to the enemy during his 5 years as a POW.
Do you think Senator McCain is the only person in the world who will not give information valuable to the enemy even under torture and without hope of release from his tormentors?
Oh, yes, I know you have a wealth of information to the contrary in the dark recesses of the hidden world of the CIA torture archives and the archives of extraordinary rendition torture chambers around the world. General Pinochet's DINA files could convince one that torture can be used to “break” anyone. And, I have no argument with that thesis.
However, there is a difference between “breaking” a person mentally/physically and gaining useful information.
There is a price for everything.
What is the price for being considered a “third rate, third world junta-controlled fascist state, complete with all the inherent trappings of torture, terror and tyranny”? So long as you can’t be defeated, there would appear to be no real price to be paid because no one can hold you to account. But, we had to cede the mantle of invincibility when we “so heroically advanced to the rear” – just as the French had done - in Viet Nam.
Since then, we have contented ourselves with attacking such “giants” as Grenada, Panama and now Iraq. Grenada and Panama went as planned; but, Iraq is turning into a PR nightmare to spin as a victory. As the Romans learned, “there never was a horse that couldn’t be rode nor a cowboy that couldn’t be throw’d”.
The image of our “invincibility” has not convinced the “insurgents” not to fight us even considering our Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo and Bagram. They see us for what we are – weak and unprincipled – as defined by our politicians and our policies. So, as you can gather, I am against torturing prisoners for any reason – for the simple reason that I have no interest in being considered as barbaric as those we label as terrorists.
If we can’t defeat them in a “fair” war that follows the rules of civilized nations that thousands of American heroes have died to define, then what is the value of “victory”? Oh, I know. Each war is different. We have to adapt our strategies to those of our enemies who use torture as a deterrent, to intimidate and as a means of gathering intelligence. Yes, I know, we have to fight them on their level.
Well, we a fighting them on their level and we aren’t winning!
Nolan K. Anderson is a retired engineer and a veteran of Korea who was once a “conservative” until he found there was nothing left to conserve. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org