Why We Need to Prosecute Our Torturers

Just when you thought Republicans couldn’t sink any lower, they ask Dick Cheney, the guy who screwed up Iraq, for advice on how to fix Iraq. Seriously, I’m not kidding.

On Tuesday afternoon, the former Vice President spoke to House Republicans at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, where he urged them to take a hard line in the fight against ISIS. The meeting was basically the GOP’s version of a pep rally, and Cheney spent most of the time bashing “isolationists” and talking about how the Bush administration put the U.S. in a position to “win” in Iraq.

Naturally, of course, he said nothing about how everything that’s going wrong in the Middle East right now can be tied back to the Bush administration.

According to the New York Times, “[Cheney] did not discuss the fact that many ISIS leaders were former Iraqi military officers who were imprisoned by American troops, nor did he dwell on the sectarian divisions and bloodletting since the 2003 American invasion.”

Excuse me for a second while I go barf.

Dick Cheney has absolutely zero business giving anyone advice on anything, and if there’s anyone who deserves to be shunned from American public life for the rest of his existence, it’s him. Amazingly, though, Republicans don’t seem to care. They’re just thrilled that Cheney took some time out of his very busy warmongering schedule to come and speak to them.

Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger, for example, told the Guardian that Cheney’s speech to Republicans yesterday “was a great message, something we needed to hear” and said that he hoped it “was an awakening that we have to be very strong.”

Unbelievable. Are these people living in an alternate universe or something? It’s like the past 11 years just didn’t happen as far as they’re concerned. Dick Cheney is a war criminal and a liar, and should be rotting in a prison cell in The Hague, not giving motivational speeches to Republican lawmakers who're trying to look tough during an election year.

The fact that he isn’t in jail, though, and the fact that he is making motivational speeches shows how badly we’ve never come to terms with either the Bush administration or its crimes. And that’s a big problem.

When we, the supposed leaders of the free world, don't punish the worst political criminals in our history, it sets a terrible example for the rest of the world. And when we fail to come to grips with our own country’s crimes, we don’t have any business calling out other countries for their crimes.

To see how badly our not prosecuting the Bush war criminals is affecting the rest of the world, all we need to do is take a peak across our southern border at what’s going on in Mexico right now. According to a new report from Amnesty International, the use of torture by Mexican authorities has grown by over 600 percent over the past decade as the War on Drugs has spiraled out of control.

This is a humanitarian disaster, and under normal circumstances the U.S. government could use its clout as the world's leading democracy to pressure the Mexican government into changing its ways. But thanks to the Bush administration, we have no moral authority left. We can talk all we want about human rights and respecting the rule of law, but when people like Dick Cheney are allowed to get away with running an illegal and unconstitutional torture program, everything we say rings hollow.

Sure, the Obama administration ordered the CIA to stop torturing people five years ago, but until Dick Cheney and everyone else who actually authorized and ran that torture program are sent to jail, or at least publicly repudiated, countries around the world will continue to imitate our bad behavior and use us to justify it.

Like it or not, as the most powerful country in the world, the United States sets the gold standard for global behavior. So when we do terrible things and nobody is held accountable, that gives the green light for everyone else to do the same. But being the most powerful country in the world is also opportunity, an opportunity to show other countries how things should be done.

That’s why it’s time we put Dick Cheney and the other senior officials in the Bush administration who promoted torture on trial for their crimes. This isn’t about politics, it’s about common sense.

If we ever want to be a moral authority in the world again, we have to lock Bush, Cheney, and everyone else in their criminal crew in jail and throw away the key. Every moment they spend outside of a prison cell is a mark against both our democracy and our standing as the supposed leader of the free world.

It’s as simple as that.


RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 9 years 41 weeks ago

Thom, Did you know?

Quoting an article from Human Rights Watch links at bottom of post:

U.S. President George Bush today signed into law the American Servicemembers Protection Act of 2002, which is intended to intimidate countries that ratify the treaty for the International Criminal Court (ICC). The new law authorizes the use of military force to liberate any American or citizen of a U.S.-allied country being held by the court, which is located in The Hague. This provision, dubbed the "Hague invasion clause," has caused a strong reaction from U.S. allies around the world, particularly in the Netherlands.

Yes, Unfortunately, Dirt Bag Dick falls under this protection.

Another interesting provision: America is exempt from prosecution by the recongnized international courts for the war crime of genocide. This was tested during the 90's in the aftermath of the war in Kosovo. The U.S. was one of the defendants accused of War Crimes but the court removed the U.S. do to the charge of genocide of which the United State can not be prosecuted by international courts.


delster's picture
delster 9 years 41 weeks ago

"DICK" Cheney really has NO credibility. Really ! The guy can't even handle a shotgun without it going off un intentionally.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 9 years 41 weeks ago

I think a "World-Shunning " of Dick Cheney is an excellent idea. He should be pictured in stocks and getting a good dunking.

I have been informed in a Facebook Post that use of the acronym ISIS is insulting and disrespectful to Neo-Pagans worldwide who are now worshiping Isis as a deity.

The new word is ISIL : Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Objections anyone?

mstaggerlee's picture
mstaggerlee 9 years 41 weeks ago

Reply to #1 -

WOW! That, essentially, is the ultimate, global extension of the Nixon Doctrine. It tales Tricky Dicky's statement that "when the President does an illegal thing, then it's not illegal", and extends it to (a) any member of the President's staff, and apparently the entire US military, and likely as not our intelligence services, as well, and (2) beyond our borders, to cover the globe!

I guess once a certain kind of person has obtained a sufficient amount of power, they come to believe that they are simply above the law.

There is a problem with that kind of thinking ... the rest of us do NOT believe that. It doesn't seem to matter what we little people think, though - and more's the pity!

mstaggerlee's picture
mstaggerlee 9 years 41 weeks ago

Reply to #3 -

Yes - FOX news. Thom played the clip on a Good, Bad, Ugly segment, last week sometime. I recall that it merely rated a "bad".

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 41 weeks ago

Palindromedary ~ This might be 'slightly' off topic. However, since it is the eve of the 9/11 attack and we are talking about the illegal war that ensued following it, I thought it appropriate to share this link with you and everyone else. This is Governor Jesse Ventura; and, he has 9 simple questions for the 9/11 commission. I thought you might enjoy his rant:


SteveS's picture
SteveS 9 years 41 weeks ago

Face it! We're a war-like country. Too often, both Democrats and Republicans choose military action over diplomacy in almost every crisis.

Obama has fallen in love with drones despite the fact that the use of drones creates more terrorists than it destroys. He--like his predecessor--has ordered the use of military force without consulting Congress, and Congress keeps renewing the Patriot Act. Officials keep us in never-ending war. Our factories build so many war weapons that officials have decided to militarize our police forces. What else can we do with all that crap?

Combine the militarization of the police with the NSA spying on all Americans, and what do you come up with? The largest police state ever on the face of the Earth.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 9 years 41 weeks ago

I think it's big business that wants war. The way less than one percent. Bring back the draft and start pulling the privileged out of college and send them to fight with the rest. It's their country too. Then we can thank the rich for their service. Wave that around and then go back and see who still wants to fight. If it must be war, then no one shoud have to serve more than one tour of duty in a combat zone.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 41 weeks ago

KUDOS, Thom! Great post, great rant; one of your best. The only part where I would differ is your reference to the U.S. as the world’s leading democracy. The world’s leading plutofascist empire is more like it.. - AIW

basmith13f's picture
basmith13f 9 years 41 weeks ago

Absolutely agree with Thom. This new threat (ISIS) in the Middle East was radicalized by their treatment in places like Bagram and Abu Ghurab, as well as time spent in Saudi and Egyptian prisons, those countries being long-time U.S. allies (and recipients of U.S. military "aid").

FSTV also ran a documentary, Searching for Steele, a horrifying take on James Steele, the torturer-in- chief during the occupation of Iraq.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 9 years 41 weeks ago

I don't understand the reply mstaggerlee. Was there a newsclip on Neo-Pagan protests? I was astounded that there was such a thing as Neo-Paganism. My world is so insulated. I'm not into deities of the second century.

Plus, the name "Freedom Fries" never took hold so I think the Neo-Pagans should just give it up and go their own way.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 41 weeks ago

"Leighmf", regarding the Pagans.... you took the words right out of my "mouth"! - AIW

jproctor67's picture
jproctor67 9 years 41 weeks ago

I'm sure I have it right there are several countries around the world that have outstanding arrest warrants out for Dubya, Cheney, and the others in his criminal group. Unlike all other past American Presidents, Vice Presidents and senior staff members the Dubya/Cheney Criminal Groups have stayed inside American Borders so they won't get arrested, there was one exception and that was when Obama took Dubya and Laura to Mandella's funeral and prior arrangements had been made not to arrest Dubya at the funeral. But the base in the republicans refuse to believe this to be true they will just make excuses as to why they haven't traveled overseas. Maybe Obama will grow a set and insist charges be leveled against that criminal group in his last year in office.

jproctor67's picture
jproctor67 9 years 41 weeks ago

Dubya/Cheney can be charged for the crimes they they were part of maybe not invading Iraq, but for the Torture they did to the people they captured, dig a little deeper and you will see they are not totally immune

jproctor67's picture
jproctor67 9 years 41 weeks ago

My comments numbered #14 was in response to #1's post

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 9 years 41 weeks ago

No, their not totally immune, but say, Dick Cheney is arrest in another country, and taken to the Hague. U.S. law dictates that the Hague can be invaded to rescue American soldiers/citizens and it's extended to our allies from facing war crime charges, or in other works, facing justice in the world courts.

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 9 years 41 weeks ago

The US also has law against torture and war crimes but that's tricky business when those war crimes are committed under the corrupt doctrines like American foreign policy. The Patriot act gives blanket immunity to all kinds of unjustifiable acts against humanity. This act was passed during the Bush administration, justified by 9/111, and and the Obama administration has only tried to strengthen it, not abolish it.

No administration is going to pursue war charges against a previous administration, because that would be an endless cycle of imprisoned former presidents. War crimes is just business as usual for any superpower administration with a constant war based economy for the purpose of protecting resources to keep the world moving and consuming without ever considering the consequences of their mindless consumption.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 41 weeks ago

DAnneMarc: Thanks for that link. I am going to have to start watching more of these Jesse Ventura vids. I just now got around to reading your message....still busy in hell! heh! heh!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 41 weeks ago

Palindromedary ~ You're welcome! By the way, if you liked that one you might also like this one. Here Jesse interviews Abby Martin from "Breaking The Set" about what it is like to be in the media and question 9/11. Enjoy!


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 40 weeks ago

DAnneMarc: Thanks for that link! However, I found that ora.tv wants me to allow way too many scripts and 3rd party cookies. ...so, I am can usually find the same video on youtube, and it is also directly from Jesse Ventura...which doesn't require those scripts.
Here it is:


Jesse Ventura and Abby Martin are two of my most favorite people that tells the truth about things that the establishment doesn't want most people to know about.

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