FACT SHEET: Vice President Cheney Debunked
Today, former Vice President Cheney continues his pro-torture public relations tour with a speech at the American Enterprise Institute. His listeners can expect to hear more arguments for the use of torture and abuse. What they won’t hear from Vice President Cheney is that national security experts overwhelmingly disagree with his assessment about the value of resorting to abusive policies. Those with experience conducting interrogations, leading forces in the military, and doing the work of keeping America safe overwhelming reject the use of torture.
Vice President Cheney says torture prevented attacks following 9/11. Repeatedly, Vice President Cheney has said that information gained by torturing detainees has been crucial in helping the government “defeat or disrupt all further attempts to strike the homeland” (ABC News, Dec. 16, 2008). He says without torture, “we would have been attacked again” (Politico.com, Feb. 4, 2009). Cheney even goes so far as to say that removing the ability to use torture is making the nation less safe. He said Obama is making choices that “raise the risk to the American people of another attack.” (CNN, March 15 2009.)
- Vice President Cheney Debunked: FBI Director Robert Mueller says that isn’t the case. When Vanity Fair asked if torture prevented additional attacks, Mueller said “I don’t believe that has been the case.” (Vanity Fair, Dec. 16, 2008).
- Vice President Cheney Debunked: Interrogator says the use of torture has led to American deaths in Iraq. Military interrogator Matthew Alexander says that it is torture that is recruiting for the enemy: “I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq… It's no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse.” He goes on to quantify the costs of torture: “The number of U.S. soldiers who have died because of our torture policy will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me -- unless you don't count American soldiers as Americans.” (Washington Post, Nov. 30, 2008)
- Vice President Cheney Debunked: “This war will be won or lost not on the battlefield but in the minds of potential supporters who have not yet thrown in their lot with the enemy. If we forfeit our values by signaling that they are negotiable in situations of grave or imminent danger, we drive those undecideds into the arms of the enemy. This way lies defeat, and we are well down the road to it. (Charles Krulak and Joseph Hoar, Washington Post Op-Ed, May 17, 2009)
Vice President Cheney says that crucial information has been revealed through torture. “Well, I would say that the key to what we did was to collect intelligence against the enemy. That’s what the terrorist surveillance program was all about, that’s what the enhanced interrogation program was all about.”(CNN, March 15 2009)
- Vice President Cheney Debunked: Experienced interrogators says torture doesn’t “work”. Fifteen former interrogators from both the CIA and FBI stated in a statement that “the use of torture and other inhumane and abusive treatment results in false and misleading information, loss of critical intelligence, and has caused serious damage to the reputation and standing of the United States.” (“Top Interrogators Declare Torture Ineffective in Intelligence Gathering,” June 24, 2008)
- Vice President Cheney Debunked: Even Jesse Venture knows that the information revealed through torture cannot be relied upon. As Jesse Ventura, former Governor of Minnesota, puts it, “You give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.” Jesse Ventura has in fact been water boarded in preparation for his service in Vietnam. He says, from personal experience, that it constitutes torture. (CNN, May 12, 2009)
- Vice President Cheney Debunked: Abu Zabaydah said he gave up false information simply to stop being tortured. In his Combatant Status Review Tribunal, the tribunal president asked him: “So I understand that during this treatment, you said things to make them stop and then those statements were actually untrue, is that correct?” Abu Zubaydah replied: “Yes.” (Combatant Status-Review Tribunal” at Guantánamo, March 27, 2007)
Vice President Cheney claims that a “wartime situation” justifies torture. Cheney says that after 9/11, methods of law enforcement were no longer applicable. After 9/11, he said it was a “wartime situation.” Such a situation, according to Cheney, justifies using all your “intelligence resources, your military resources, your financial resources, everything you can in order to shut down that terrorist threat against you.” According to Cheney, the wartime situation justifies the use of torture. (CNN, March 15, 2009)
- Vice President Cheney Debunked: General David Petraeus rejects torture. In a letter to his troops in Iraq, General Petraeus clearly states that torture is not only illegal, but also not useful and not necessary: “Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary. Certainly extreme physical action can makes someone “talk;” however, what the individual says may be of questionable value. In fact, our experience in applying the interrogation standards laid out in the Army Field Manuel (2-22.3) on Human Intelligence Collector Operations that was published last year shows that the techniques in the manual work effectively and humanely in eliciting information from detainees.” (Letter to the Troops, May 10, 2007).
Former Vice President Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney, justifies torture in the context of a ticking time bomb situation. She says “We are talking about a situation when there are imminent threats against the united states so if you to me, this guys has got information that is going to save your kid’s life and my kids’ lives, that is going to keep this country safe, but we gotta water board him to get it, I got no problem with that.” (MSNBC, May 12, 2009)
- Liz Cheney Debunked Ticking time bomb situations are fictional, according to a former CIA officer. A retired senior CIA officer said in an interview with David Rose that “Nobody in intelligence believes in the ticking bomb. It’s just a way of framing the debate for public consumption. That is not an intelligence reality.” In his article, Rose reported that the officer said that inside the CIA, “there was hardly any argument about the value of coercive methods” (Vanity Fair, Dec. 16, 2008)
Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.
Thanks to vjack for the link