Levin: Cheney Lied About Torture’s Success

160px-Carl_Levin_official_portrait225px-richard_cheney_2005_official_portrait Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has issued a stinging rebuke to former Vice President Dick Cheney — saying that undisclosed memos do not support his claim that torture works and save lives.

Speaking at the Foreign Policy Association’s annual dinner this week, Levin said that his investigation “gives the lie to Mr. Cheney’s claims.” He noted that the two CIA documents “say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques.”

Once again, the focus of these members would be more welcomed on need for a criminal investigation of Cheney and others for the torture program. There continues to be utter silence from Attorney General Eric Holder on the status of the torture investigation. Reporters appear to be losing interest in the question. Holder should be able to explain if he has started an investigation in torture crimes and, if not, why he has blocked such an investigation.

For the full story, click here.

35 thoughts on “Levin: Cheney Lied About Torture’s Success”

  1. One other point that I’d like to make about the torture issue: In past posts I’ve argued that we should not be in a hurry to start investigations as that will dry up the stream of information becoming public, but there is another compelling (in my opinion) reason to wait (and by wait, I mean continuing to educate people that torture is both morally wrong AND ineffective) to push for investigations – health care. If the Obama administration were to announce a special prosecutor tomorrow it would totally polarize the political environment and make any meaningful healthcare reform impossible. Health care is going to be a heavy lift in any case and the administration has pretty much gone all-in on health care reform. Assuming that prisoners are now being treated according to the Geneva Convention (and I know you’ve presented evidence to the contrary, Jill, but I don’t think there’s been proof and would totally agree with you that if any interrogation techniques not in the army field manual are being used they need to stop yesterday) I see no harm and great benefit in waiting for investigations into torture. While I would agree with most of the posters here that this is a very important issue and that eventually those guilty of war crimes must be brought to justice in order to reclaim our moral authority and restore the integrity of rule of law, this is not the only important issue before our country and I think that the Obama administration would be negligent if they acted like it was (not to mention that this kind of tunnelvision in the Bush administration is what got us here in the first place…).

  2. Jill,

    I have a question for you (or anyone else that cares to answer it): What is wrong with the Obama Administration taking the position that the pictures will endanger our troops and should not be released and exhausting all legal avenues to fight for their point of view? If they can convince the SCOTUS that they are correct, is this wrong? I believe that they are making a reasonable argument and I’m content for the SCOTUS to be the final arbiter on this matter. Even if this is being done purely as a delaying tactic (and, to be clear, I don’t think that this is the case) to avoid releasing the photos at a particularly volatile time (Pakistan, N. Korea, Iran, etc.) I think that this is a responsible move by the administration. The president reversed his decision on releasing the photos after being asked to do so by his top generals – should he have ignored the generals? I see this as yet another sign of an intellectually engaged president who is willing to change his mind when he is persuaded that it is the correct thing to do – one of the main reasons I voted for him (in my mind, the worst characteristic of President Bush was his refusal to change his mind ever, even in the face of overwhelming evidence). I also think it is ridiculous to attach greater blame to President Obama or equivalent blame to everyone in congress who voted for funding the war (I’m looking at you BVM). As Mespo72^3 and Mike S. pointed out, the logical conclusion is that we are all guilty in this case (unless you haven’t paid any federal taxes in the last 8 years…). I think that (especially in cases like this) it is important to apportion the blame and culpability carefully. From what I’ve learned, the real villains in this story seem to be Yoo, Addington, Bybee, Gonzo, and Dick the war criminal. I would not even be shocked if President Bush did nothing that he should be prosecuted for (my guess is that he was negligent in relying on the legal opinions of these (fill in appropriate derogatory phrase of your choice), but it seems to me that the criminal acts were the issuing of reprehensible and completely wrong legal opinions and memos and putting pressure on the lawyers to issue opinions supporting predetermined positions (which I’d bet came from Dick the war criminal, not his little buddy). To say that a member of congress who voted to continue funding our army while it was in the field is just as culpable or that President Obama is more culpable than these #@$%ers is logically equivalent to saying that every crime should result in the same punishment (say the death penalty). The only punishment that I believe it is appropriate to advocate for these other people is to advocate that people not vote for them because of these votes when they run for re-election.

  3. Jill,

    Don’t get me wrong, I completely support your position. This is just one of many government crimes of the past decade that should be openly investigated, from top to bottom.

  4. Trying to evade and distract on the issue will not make it go away.

    I didn’t vote for War-Funding and these links will be remembered by the mothers and other loved ones of the murdered and maimed in the illegal Wars.

    Those who voted ‘Aye’ on War-Funding in Congress Killed and Maimed Our Troops and Funded Torture!

  5. BVM,
    Forget the links and look at yourself. By your own definitions you are a war criminal.

  6. BVM:

    “Those who Funded the War Killed Our Troops –…”


    Ah, that would be all of us since it was tax dollars. Where should we report for execution, oh keeper of morals?

  7. Those who Funded the War Killed Our Troops – Obama, Biden, Bush, Cheney, Congress, et al Killed Our Troops.

    Upon entering the Senate in 2005 through April 2007 Obama voted for every war-funding bill that came before him. On 6/26/08 Obama voted for passage of H.R. 2642, the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008, a war- funding bill. Obama, despite his anti-war rhetoric, has cast at least 11 votes for war-funding bills.

    The list of War Criminals includes all those in Congress who voted to invade Iraq, those who voted to fund the war and the continuing occupation and all the political, civil and military leaders of America responsible for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have all conspired in War Crimes against our country and internationally.

    Obama is a fascist, murderous imposter who should be arrested and removed at once from the Office of President. Obama and co-conspirators have been guilty of War Crimes for years in “these Wars of Aggression which caused the death, maiming and displacement of millions in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the death and physical and mental scarring of thousands of American soldiers.” Obama approved funds which were used to buy bombs and bullets to murder and maim tens of thousands of Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani children.

    On following video a mother speaks to Ari Fleischer and the Freedoms Watch ad campaign.

  8. FFN,

    I would got to rebel reports for a good examination of the history regarding General Taguba’s statements. It appears that political pressure is at work in this situation. Go back to the entry of last Thursday and move up the tread to see what you think.

    As to Obama. First he told the ACLU that he could not release the pictures because they would be involved in prosecution. This story changed, almost overnight, to be they would harm our troops while he simultaneously claimed they weren’t that big of a deal anyway. None of these statements can be simultaneously true. I cannot believe that these 44 photos are innocuous while everything else coming from Abu Ghraib is really horrific. That just doesn’t make sense.

    The pictures should be released, period. They bear witness to the crimes of our govt. We must not shrink from the knowledge of what was done in our name.

  9. This is one of the most puzzling items of the whole issue:

    ‘Taguba says the Telegraph story got one important fact right: He said he does support Obama’s decision to fight the release of the images subject to the lawsuit, even though he has not seen those images. “No other photographs should be released,” Taguba told Salon, because he worries additional images might threaten the safety of U.S. troops.’

    So the guy that said these comments causing this whole firestorm now wants these comments to be forgotten because they might threaten the safety of US troops? WTF?!?!?!?

  10. Oh, did I forget how many of Senator Levin’s family members are at the public trough sucking our tax money because of Daddy Levin’s influence?

  11. LOL! You mean THIS Carl Levin who is “against” the war in Iraq?

    On CNN’s Late Edition on December 16, 2001, Senator Levin said that “The War against terrorism will not be finished as long as [Saddam Hussein] is in power.”

    As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Levin said during a hearing on September 19, 2002 that “We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the world.”

  12. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/05/30/taguba/#

    The story at this link is the problem with being too quick to accept news stories, whatever the source, as being whole or even partly true. The possibly incorrect story then becomes the focus of debate as if it were true and somewhere along the line the truth gets lost. This is why it is my preference to state my own opinions, without trying to lend them credibility by links to stories that support my theories.

    The Bush/Cheney Crime Family and the Republican Party perfected this technique by releasing fabricated stories and then debating the fabrication, rather than the truth behind it.
    The original story’s cited about the General gave a totally different impression, than his position here.

  13. I believe it true to modify Robert H. Jackson’s statement to read: “To (FUND) a War of Aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is (a) supreme international crime differing only from other War Crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

    It is a supreme U.S. Crime too as the international law is part of our Constitution.

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