Former Marine Corps Commandant Charles Krulak and former CENTCOM Commander-in-Chief Joseph Hoar have a word for former Vice President Dick Cheney and his advocacy of torture. It’s “irresponsible.” Here’s what they have to say in a joint op-ed published today in the Miami Herald:
[W]e never imagined that we would feel duty-bound to publicly denounce a vice president of the United States, a man who has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must repudiate his dangerous ideas — and his scare tactics. . .
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Cheney applauded the “enhanced interrogation techniques”–what we used to call “war crimes” because they violated the Geneva Conventions, which the United States instigated and has followed for 60 years. Cheney insisted the abusive techniques were “absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks against the United States.” He claimed they were “directly responsible for the fact that for eight years, we had no further mass casualty attacks against the United States. It was good policy . . . It worked very, very well.”
Repeating these assertions doesn’t make them true. We now see that the best intelligence, which led to the capture of Saddam Hussein and the elimination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was produced by professional interrogations using noncoercive techniques. When the abuse began, prisoners told interrogators whatever they thought would make it stop. Torture is as likely to produce lies as the truth. And it did. . .
The Bush administration had already degraded the rules of war by authorizing techniques that violated the Geneva Conventions and shocked the conscience of the world. Now Cheney has publicly condoned the abuse that went beyond even those weakened standards, leading us down a slippery slope of lawlessness. Rules about the humane treatment of prisoners exist precisely to deter those in the field from taking matters into their own hands. They protect our nation’s honor.