A fascinating post at Empty Wheel has a legal argument that is beyond my expertise to judge. But it does include a detail from the dark days of 2001 – 2006 that helps underline how central torture was to the Bush-Cheney administration’s entire approach to counter-terrorism, and how passionately they believed in torturing prisoners. On December 30, 2005, the Congress finally banned torture by the US military in the Detainee Treatment Act. No “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” was allowed – a broader category than the torture techniques Bush and Cheney cribbed from totalitarian states. What did Rummy do?
In spite of this clear command, the same day Congress passed the DTA, Mr. Rumsfeld modified the Field Manual to include the cruel, inhuman and degrading techniques described above. He added ten pages of classified interrogation techniques that apparently authorized, condoned, and directed the very sort of violations that Plaintiffs suffered. To the best of Plaintiffs’ knowledge, the December Field Manual was in operation during their detention. It was not replaced until September 2006, shortly before Mr. Rumsfeld resigned.
If anyone still thinks that torture somehow happened without the active involvement and close control of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, you need, alas, to look at the facts. These men had contempt for the rule of law, contempt for Western civilization and contempt for the very country they were trying to defend.
Whatever else these individuals were, they were not conservatives. They were lawless radicals, intent on war crimes. And it appears they will never be held accountable by the very rule of law they ignored and abolished.