The National Religious Campaign Against Torture Speaks Out on Cheney’s Memoir

One of the disgraces that, in my opinion, will continue to stain the image and reputation of our nation for years to come, and which belies—betrays—the true character of our people, is the authorization and execution of torture during the Bush-Cheney administration.

What is even more troubling and pathetic is the continuing defense of, even praise for, those techniques by the head cheerleader of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques”: former Vice President Dick Cheney.

As mentioned in my “non-review” of Cheney’s upcoming memoir, Cheney, in a book promotion interview with NBC’s Jamie Gangel replies to questions on torture first with his famous “yes” and “no” answers interspersed with a two-word answer:

When asked whether we should still be using enhanced interrogation, Cheney answers “Yes.”

When Gangel asks, “No regrets?” Cheney has a very creative answer: “No regrets.”

When asked whether torture should still be a tool, Cheney opens up a little bit and answers “Yes.”

Finally, Cheney gets the chance to expound on his favorite subject: “I would strongly support using it again if circumstances arose where we had a high value detainee. That’s the only way to get them to talk.”

Thus in what is one of the more lengthy sentences in the interview, Cheney manages to admit that torture was used by the United States, that torture has merit and that torture ought to be continued.

As it turns out, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) spoke out today against former Vice President Dick Cheney’s continued defense of his authorization of torturous interrogation tactics in the aftermath of 9/11.

NRCAT, a national religious coalition of more than 300 groups representing various faiths, continues to oppose any kind of torture on moral grounds.

In a statement tilted “No Matter What Cheney Says, Torture is Never Acceptable ,” the NRCAT responds to both the interview and to the release of excerpts from Cheney’s book.

The following is the complete Response/Statement:

As excerpts from former Vice President Dick Cheney’s memoir – as well as his own commentary on the book – begin to be made public, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture is condemning Cheney’s reported ongoing defense of torturing detainees.

In a pre-taped NBC interview to air next week after the release of his book, “In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir,” Cheney is quoted as asserting he has “no regrets” about supporting the euphemistically named enhanced interrogation tactics, and even in retrospect, he would again authorize waterboarding, widely considered a violation of U.S. law today. “I would strongly support using it again if circumstances arose where we had a high-value detainee and that was the only way we could get him to talk, Cheney told NBC’s Jamie Gangel.

In response, Rev. Richard Killmer, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, released the following statement:

“Mr. Cheney disgraced this country and continues to disgrace himself. He may have “no regrets,” but he is simply wrong on his view of the use of torture. Mr. Cheney refuses to learn the lesson learned by civilized countries around the world after WWII – that torture is always immoral and can never be justified under any circumstances. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is saddened that the former vice president, who authorized various methods of torture including waterboarding, extremes of heat and cold, sleep deprivation, long-term isolation, sensory deprivation and stress positions, continues to defend his authorization of such torture.”

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture has long called for a Commission of Inquiry to investigate U.S.-sponsored torture and to recommend safeguards to end U.S.-sponsored torture forever. Killmer went on to say:

“The United States has a long way to go before we come to terms with the dark deeds done by U.S. officials, with direction from the Vice President, during the interrogation and detention of prisoners. We have a moral obligation to fully investigate the government’s past use of torture. Through his book, the Vice President may be helping us to do that. If there is one positive consequence to come out of the chronicling of such behavior, it is providing the American people with additional details on torture. Perhaps reliving the story of the horrors committed under the stamp of the Vice President’s office in the aftermath of 9/11 will compel serious investigation by the U.S. government.”

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is a growing membership organization committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Since its formation in January 2006, more than 300 religious organizations have joined NRCAT, including representatives from the Catholic, evangelical Christian, mainline Protestant, Unitarian Universalist, Quaker, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i, Buddhist, and Sikh communities. Members include national denominations and faith groups, regional organizations and local congregations.

         

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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13 Comments

  1. I will try to keep this short because many will find it offensive and due to the topic I really dont give a flip.

    We were attacked on 9/11 and it caught the Bush WH off guard. They did not protect us and all systems failed. In reaction they punted on our civil liberties, swiftly gave up on the hunt for the man that ran the show that hit us and invaded Iraq as they had always desired and instituted a form of interrogation that the Japanese used and had always been designated as torture by the US gov.

    These are acts of CYA and the acts of cowards. Their fear of another attack and worse yet their fear of yet again being shown incompetent in the face of actual danger to this nation even with memos that said “Bin Laden to attack in US using planes” made them force actions against this nations morality, honor and history.

    They are cowards and they do not deserve our respect nor our money for their books or speaking engagements. They deserve shame, the river of shame that they have hung around the neck of this our beloved nation.

    Well written Dorian, sorry this just makes me angry.

  2. Nothing to be sorry about, MSF. Millions of Americans are as angry as you are. (And, well written, too!)

  3. Yep!

    I’d leave it at that but the TMV bot insists on more than three letters and an “!”

  4. thanks Dorian, and thanks MSF, well said. For many reasons.

  5. “One of the disgraces that, in my opinion, will continue to stain the image and reputation of our nation for years to come, and which belies—betrays—the true character of our people, is the authorization and execution of torture during the Bush-Cheney administration.”

    I agree completely. Of course that disgrace is something the Bush/Cheney apologists never seemed capable of grasping or caring about. MSf’s reaction is the correct one.

  6. If you look at why Bush was so unpopular, you’ll find a lot of Cheney’s fingerprints. What did Bush see in that jerk?

    Kudos TMSF.

  7. Amen, Dorian.

    And what still mesmerized me, is that we had knowledge of the formulated ideology of the Iraq invasion prior to the 2004 elections and this administration received a “mandate” to go forging ahead with its policy with John Yoo cheer-leading all the way.

    And that there’s a 27% “I love Cheney” statistic at the top of this page.. Unbelievable.

  8. JeffP says:

    “And that there’s a 27% “I love Cheney” statistic at the top of this page.. Unbelievable”

    Good point, I had not noticed that.

    I wonder who he or she is. :)

  9. I actually voted for Bush in 2000, largely because while I didn’t know how Bush was going to be as a leader, I liked his staff. Colin Powell, and actually Dick Cheney. Cheney I knew at the time had a great deal of experience dealing with the ME and I had hoped it would help Bush to make wiser decisions based on that experience. Wow was I wrong.

    Cheney’s full throated defense of torture sickens me from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. So many of the supporters for it seem to paint a picture out of a Tom Clancy novel. They have a bad guy, a black and white situation, and its time to cut through the red tape and get this done! Time to torture! But its not like that. Even if that situation was true once or twice, what about all the abuses heaped upon those that were guilty of nothing but being in the wrong place at the wrong time. So many of the pro-torture people are in the same crowd as the small gov’t people, don’t think the gov’t can do anything right, but seem to trust the gov’t with making flawless judgment when it comes to rounding up prisoners and deciding whose civil rights get ignored, who gets tortured. Once again, gimme a break.

  10. Dick Cheney is a classical example of why one must vote completely partisan, straight ticket one way or the other, always.

    Because you either believe what those jackasses believe, or you don’t….and if you don’t know, you shouldn’t be voting anyway.

  11. I am sympathetic to the position that the author takes against the use of torture in the Bush administration. However, the article would be, IMO, stronger if it spent less time trying to label Cheney as “pathetic” or a “disgrace” or some other pejorative and spent more time on the issues and facts. What was done, why it bad, and why Cheney’s position is wrong.

    But then, that is state of discourse in the country. We argue about whether people are good or bad, not about the issues.

  12. davidpsummers says:

    “… the article would be, IMO, stronger if it spent less time trying to label Cheney as “pathetic” or a “disgrace” or some other pejorative”

    I believe I called the authorization and execution of torture during the Bush-Cheney administration “one of the disgraces that, in my opinion, will continue to stain the image and reputation of our nation for years to come, and which belies—betrays—the true character of our people,” Not Mr. Cheney—and I stand by it.

    I believe I called “the continuing defense of, even praise for, those techniques by the head cheerleader of the so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques” pathetic. Not Mr. Cheney—and I stand by it.

    Please read more carefully in the future.

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