Friday, May 29, 2009

Levin: Cheney lied about torture

Michigan Messenger

In a speech to the Foreign Policy Association on Wednesday night, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin forcefully answered recent claims by former Vice President Dick Cheney that the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” ordered by the Bush administration to be used on detainees in the war on terror were not torture and that they saved American lives.

Levin blasted Cheney for “embracing the arrogance that for too many years alienated our friends and set back efforts to achieve common goals.” Referring to the 200-page report that his Senate Armed Services committee recently put out about abuse and torture of detainees, Levin said that Cheney’s worldview, put into action at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, “dishonored our nation.”

He explicitly took on Cheney’s claim that the abuse that took place at Abu Ghraib was just the work of a few bad apples, with no link to techniques employed on other detainees at the request of the Bush administration. “The seeds of Abu Ghraib’s rotten fruit,” Levin said, “were sown by civilians at the highest levels of our government.”

He also took on Cheney directly over the former VP’s claim that doing away with the use of abusive interrogation techniques makes the country less safe and that the employment of such techniques by the Bush administration saved American lives. “Mr. Cheney’s claims,” Levin said, “are directly contrary to the judgment of our FBI director, Robert Mueller, that no attacks on America were disrupted due to intelligence obtained through the use of those techniques.”

“Mr. Cheney has also claimed that the release of classified documents would prove his view that the techniques worked,” Levin said of documents he has also seen. “But those classified documents say nothing about the numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques. I hope that the documents are declassified, so that people can judge for themselves what is fact, and what is fiction.”

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