Torture Gate: When Dick Cheney Goes to Prison
TNTalk! America. © 2009 by Leon A. Walker
When former President Dick Cheney is convicted of War Crimes and sentenced to spend the remainder of his life in prison, we, ‘the collective American people’ may finally be compelled to take time to mourn. To mourn is not for the former Vice President, but for all whom he ordered brutalized, and all those around the world that his politics condemned to an untimely death.
On the whole it appears to me that the shock and horror of what has transpired as a result of the ineptitude, hubris and greed on the part of our last presidential administration has yet to be fully absorbed within the American psyche. Many of us remain fixed on partisan ideologies that we had been spoon-fed by past leadership and even today, by the right wing media. Given the power of the fear and anger which fuel these hollow concepts, we have been comfortable with various justifications for heinous and callous acts that have had negative implications in the U.S. and worldwide. These implications are the truth that many Americans remain unwilling to acknowledge or reasonably consider.
I must admit that it is stunning to have to imagine what the likely outcomes might be where torture and the Iraq war are concerned. For many, it is inconceivable to think that a people at the highest levels of our executive branch of our government could be guilty of crimes that contributed to the deaths of untold numbers around the world. To date we know that crimes have been committed where torture is concerned. There is no longer any rational debate to be held regarding what is, and what is not torture. It seems that the most spirited discussion on this matter in Washington now centers around who knew what about the implementation and uses of these methods and when. There is no doubt that at some point this discussion may yield more information on all who may be culpable in this historic tragedy.
One painful truth is certain. Many are armed with vital information on what transpired. Those are coming forth to state their discontent with the Office of the former Vice President and the man himself. Incredibly, Mr. Cheney has taken it upon himself in recent months to make numerous public statements reiterating the importance and effectiveness of his professed program of enhanced interrogation. This program is torture to the most of the nation and the rest of the world and one of the cornerstones of the Bush/Cheney war on terror. He has continued to verify his program without any apparent concern, belief that he is verifying his own culpability or ‘the possibility’ of his direct involvement and guilt.
As intriguing as all of the news surrounding Torture Gate may be, I think it may be time for America to redirect our focus on this matter. The laws and treaties outlawing torture and the findings of the International Red Cross have painted a clear picture of the atrocities that have been wrought. As I have explained in a previous column, there are specific precedents for legal actions and subsequent convictions on record as appropriate reactions to such war crimes. It is also noteworthy to mention that if there was any confidence in Washington that charges and trials are not forthcoming, there would most probably be far less discussion about investigations, truth commissions and efforts to direct responsibility or blame.
The sanctioned program of torture that evolved under the leadership of the former administration was only a byproduct of a much bigger and sinister plot. This was a plot to carry out a war for political purposes. This war was intended primarily to craft and secure a hollow legacy of leadership. It is becoming abundantly clear to Americans and the rest of the world that former President Bush and Vice President Cheney sent thousands of our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers and friends and family members off to die in Iraq. They did so, but not because they feared a threat from Iraq. They prevailed because they wanted to impose their political will on that nation. They believed that doing so would inject a healing virus of democracy and peace in the troubled Middle East. They wanted to be remembered in history as conquering heroes. The presidential icon status they longed for would surely mirror the likes of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Reagan. They were so confident in their misguided crusade, that they told us before they sent troops off to die that “…we will be greeted as liberators”. This route was constructed more than seven years ago. Now the toll of our American dead nears five thousand.
Fragmented and comparatively small was the coalition which supported the U.S. in the Iraq war. Other members of the coalition have welcomed home their dead. This says nothing of the people of the sovereign nation of Iraq who have died in untold numbers. When Dick Cheney goes to prison, many around the world will have to pause and ask themselves how such a thing could happen. Perhaps they will learn that the politics of fear following 911 swept a nation and that the powerful few within our own government seduced us with fearful, even hateful emotion. Sadly, they did so primarily to promote and their heighten world images in their own minds and to craft future heroic personal legacies. In this twisted ploy to become heroes, they failed as miserably as they did in the conduct of and unjust war.
The carnage continues. As is always the case, the truth continues to be unveiled. The American people and the world population deserve justice and apology for the scheme that has been thrust upon them. They need closure and vindication from this shame. There may be delays in the process, but there will be no denying that those responsible for needless death on such a massive scale must, and ultimately will, be called to answer for the delusion in judgment.
It is my belief that a domestic or world court will convene before long. Sadly, it is my further belief that former Vice President Dick Cheney will be indicted, convicted and appropriately sentenced for his crimes. No doubt, former President George W. Bush is destined to realize the same fate.
At the end of the day, the final question does not focus on Dick Cheney going to prison. The ultimate question at this point is only: Who will be going to prison with him? At some point along the way or on the day that fair judgments have been handed down, I hope that all of us, each in our own way, will take time to remember the dead…
L. A. Walker
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