Cheney Lied About Torture Saving Lives

For over a month Dick Cheney has been justifying his support for the illegal use of torture by claiming that CIA documents prove that torture was effective in saving American lives. This was very convenient for Cheney since the documents which supposedly show this are classified. Although Cheney’s claims contradict general statements on the lack of efficacy from torture, we could not evaluate the actual documents Cheney was referring to. Fortunately Senator Carl Levin has reviewed the documents and has stated that Cheney is lying:

Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says former Vice President Dick Cheney is lying when he claims that classified CIA memos show that enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding worked.

Levin, speaking at the Foreign Policy Association’s annual dinner in Washington on Wednesday, said an investigation by his committee into detainee abuse charges over the use of the techniques — now deemed torture by the Obama administration — “gives the lie to Mr. Cheney’s claims.”

The Michigan Democrat told the crowd that the two CIA documents that Cheney wants released “say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques.”

“I hope that the documents are declassified, so that people can judge for themselves what is fact, and what is fiction,” he added.

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  1. 1
    Mike says:

    Illegal because Japanese after WWII where convicted of water boarding.  I wasn’t there, but are you sure you are comparing apples to apples?  Any jurors polled, saying, well, I was going to let them off if they had only force marched the prisoners and beaten them, but once I heard about the simulating of drowning, that was the the clincher.  Did the Japanese use the same precautions that the U.S. military uses when thousands of U.S. soldiers get trained in enduring these techniques?  Did the Japanese even get unbiased trials?   I’m no expert on this but I’m thinking the way our military conduct their S.E.R.E training today is much more analogous to Gitmo waterboarding than what Japanese did 65 years ago to prisoners during WWII.

  2. 2
    Mike says:

    As to the more specific point of your posting:  If one were to believe Cheney, you would have this story line that attempts were made to get info from detainees, those attempts failed, then harsher techniques were used which produced valuable reliable info.  That story line I would seriously doubt even if the CIA were able to produce a “convienant” paper trail to try to support the claim. 

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:


    Individuals were convicted on individual charges, not the overall war crimes of the Japanese. Some were executed specifically for water boarding. There is also other legal precedent that water boarding is torture. During Vietnam water boarding was classified as illegal and Americans when did this were court marshaled. (Little surprise that the penalty is different for enemy soldiers as opposed to American soldiers, but the point is the illegality, not the punishment). There have also been civil suits in the past in which water boarding was considered an illegal act. The United Nations and Great Britain specifically classify water boarding as torture. Judge advocate generals in this country have written that it is illegal and torture.

    There is really little doubt beyond the bizarre legal theories of the Bush administration and its apologists on the right that water boarding is torture and illegal.

  4. 5
    Beatlesnumber9 says:

    Cheney Lied About Torture Saving Lives

  5. 6
    more lies says:

    It’s only “simulated” drowning if you define “drowning” to mean that you die.   If you think anybody who sinks to the bottom of a lake, but is subsequently revived, did not actually “drown,” then waterboarding is merely “simulated drowning.”

    Really, though, people understand that if you can’t breathe, because your mouth and nose are full of water, and someone or something is preventing you from expelling the water and getting any air in your lungs, you are actually being drowned, whether it proceeds to the point of death or not.

    This phrase “simulated drowning” is being used as propaganda, to reassure the reluctant supporters of de facto torture that water is merely being “splashed in the detainee’s face.”  That doesn’t sound like a big deal, does it?  After all, if the poor bastard actually couldn’t breathe, they couldn’t call it “simulated” drowning, could they?

    Yes, they can, and the forces of evil still do, even right here on this page.

  6. 7
    damn says:

    I swear, if this SERE program, intended to train soldiers to resist torture, is convincing people that torture is OK, because we already do it to each other, then SERE has to go.  Whatever value it has, this one moral and ethical fallacy has already done far more damage than the program could ever have done anything good.

  7. 8
    lies lies lies says:

    A “simulation” would not require journalists to sign waivers indicating they may die to  “injuries to respiratory systems.”  Not just heart attacks, not just seizures.  Death by lung damage.  Just sign here.

    [T]he contract of indemnification that I had signed … (written by one who knew) stated revealingly:

    ” ‘Water boarding’ is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.”

    As the agreement went on to say, there would be safeguards provided “during the ‘water boarding’ process, however, these measures may fail and even if they work properly they may not prevent Hitchens from experiencing serious injury or death.”

  8. 9
    Mike says:

    The reason it is simulation, and not actual drowning is this: **note, this comes from just one person (my brother in law) and of course there is no proving on the web if he or I am distorting this.** He said a wet T-shirt (no doubt the standard army brown type) covered his entire face. Then cold water was applied using a hose.  He told me that 1) they don’t explain anything in advance, so you are very confused. 2) you think you can’t breath, but you can actually breath.   If you didn’t catch my previous post, I had heard about this event years ago and asked him to re-tell it to me about a week ago.  I asked him if  he would call it torture or not, but he balked at answering that directly. He said: “It is very effective.”   Ron, I acknowledge the legal argument you made, I’m not sure I personally want to given in the point that what was done at Gitmo was definately illegal, but you made a very compelling case.

  9. 10
    Mike says:

    A “simulation” would not require journalists to sign waivers indicating they may die to  “injuries to respiratory systems.”  … Hey, maybe what the journalist got was worse than S.E.R.E. or Gitmo, I don’t know, but as far as signing waivers, and the language of the waivers, is seems like every pony ride I put my kid on I have to sign saying something to the effect that Equine activities could cause serious injury or fatal.  What you describe definately sounds quite dangerous but the fact that the wording in a waiver is  dire doesn’t carry a lot of weight IMO.

  10. 11
    Christoher Skyi says:

    Richard Clarke goes nuclear on neo-con justifications for their security policies after 9/11. Call it the White House 9/11 trauma defense:

    “the decisions that Bush officials made in the following months and years — on Iraq, on detentions, on interrogations, on wiretapping — were not appropriate. Careful analysis could have replaced the impulse to break all the rules, even more so because the Sept. 11 attacks, though horrifying, should not have surprised senior officials. Cheney’s admission that 9/11 caused him to reassess the threats to the nation only underscores how, for months, top officials had ignored warnings from the CIA and the NSC staff that urgent action was needed to preempt a major al-Qaeda attack.
    Thus, when Bush’s inner circle first really came to grips with the threat of terrorism, they did so in a state of shock — a bad state in which to develop a coherent response. Fearful of new attacks, they authorized the most extreme measures available, without assessing whether they were really a good idea.”
    Clarke goes to attack the neo-con justification for wiretaps and interrogation techniques.
    It’s an excellent analysis of how rational governance breaks down in the face of a “crisis,” how tried and true principles are suddenly just not good enough, and extreme new measures are need.
    B.S. say’s Clarke:
    “The White House thought that 9/11 changed everything. It may have changed many things, but it did not change the Constitution, which the vice president, the national security adviser and all of us who were in the White House that tragic day had pledged to protect and preserve.”
    P.S. The same analysis can be — and in the future, will be — made to the current government response to the economic crisis: extreme “pull out all the stops” measures with little forethought and analysis.

  11. 12
    Ron Chusid says:

    It looks like I was writing the post on this at exactly the same time you were posting the comment!

  12. 13
    Christoher Skyi says:

    Yes, interesting! I was wondering if I would beat you to the punch. 

    Richard Clarke is great — back in the early 2000’s, it always greatly worried me that such a sane voice of reason could be so thoroughly overlooked and even outright ignored. At the time, conservatives and esp. neo-con’s maligned the guy, but I figured that history would come around to Clarke in due course. It’s gratifying to see that now happening.

  13. 14
    Ron Chusid says:

    It looks like a tie.

    Speaking of ties, at the exact time as your comment another comment wound up in moderation by a right winger accusing Clarke of being a liar. His “source” is a link to Fox News. That’s like attacking a critic of communism by citing Pravda.

  14. 15
    Fritz says:

    Well, Ron, since you asked for a critique of communism by Pravda, here you go:

  15. 16
    Ron Chusid says:

    I was sort of referring to to Pravda in the days of the USSR. Now they are a more legitimate news source than Fox.

  16. 17
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Which is saying something, since I ended up reading their English website by mistake a week or so back and I thought I had wandered into the pages of a British tabloid. It was like reading Weekly World News.

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