“For the first time in its history, the United States sanctioned government officials to physically and psychologically torment U.S.-held captives, making torture the official law of the land in all but name.”
These words were written by Jane Mayer, in her new book (The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals) that will be released shortly. It’s time to pull the curtain back on all the obfuscation and call a spade a spade. Mayer reports that the International Committee of the Red Cross deemed the methods approved by the Bush administration to be “categorically torture”– not “tantamount to torture”– and “warned that the abuse constituted war crimes, placing the highest officials in the U.S. government in jeopardy of being prosecuted.” These people are war criminals, it’s that simple.
The book details what some of their victims went through. Abu Zubaydah was kept in a box that forced him into a fetal position. He was repeatedly slammed into walls and waterboarded at least ten times in a single week. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was kept naked for a month and constantly moved between suffocatingly hot and frigidly cold rooms. The prisoners also suffered from stress positions, being shacked to the ceiling and forced to stand for eight hour stretches. One of these men had was a below-the-knee amputee who had his prosthesis removed and was forced to stand on his one leg hanging from the ceiling. Most also suffered from sleep deprivation, including “bright lights and eardrum-shattering sounds 24 hours a day.”
According to Mayer, it can all be traced to Dick Cheney. Apparently Gonzalez admitted privately that it was torture but did not object because “Cheney wants it”. Still, the list of those guilty of war criminals goes far beyond Cheney. For a start: Addington, Yoo, Gonzalez, Bush.