Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and General Richard Myers are in a tizzy about their indictment at the hands of Amnesty International. These crybabies should shut up. They brought this on themselves. And on America.
The United States is holding several hundred people prisoner at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Few if any of these prisoners have been charged with anything, despite having been held for as long as three years. There is a mountain of evidence that the United States has been abusing these prisoners. Maybe we did, maybe we didn't.
Strategically, what's important is credibility and prestige, and the U.S. is looking weaker every day.
We know that the U.S. has tortured and killed prisoners elsewhere in the world, both at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and at Bhagram air base in Afghanistan. We know that the President and the Secretary of Defense both approved abuse policies that violated the Geneva Conventions (pain less than that of organ failure doesn't count as torture, they said), and they both believed the Conventions to be obsolete or inapplicable.
Americans suspect that the Bush administration sanctioned a policy of torture, and that this filtered down to the soldiers who actually tortured and murdered prisoners. However, most Americans don't care. Many Americans think that the prisoners deserved the treatment (or death) that they received. It's another case of America's shallow and perverse view of justice. If we knew that the Guantanamo prisoners were terrorists, it might be justice (in the Old Testament sense) to torture them. But if that torture causes more terrorism and suffering for our families in the future, is it still justice? I say it isn't. Dismantling terrorist networks and putting bad guys behind bars is a necessity, but excessive cruelty isn't justice because it curses our children.
If most Americans suspect an official (though off-the-books) U.S. policy of abuse, you can bet that people in other countries (people who actually read about what goes on outside their borders) fully believe that the U.S. has this policy. So now, the U.S. looks much the same as other brutal regimes that hold prisoners without charge, before abusing, torturing, or killing them. It makes the terrorists' caricature of America plausible, and the terrorists' campaign of evil that much more marketable. This is why Osama bin Laden would have voted for Bush if he had had the opportunity. If it's any consolation, I'm sure that given the choice, most people from other countries would prefer Guantanamo to one of Saddam's prisons.
Cheney says he feels "offended" by Amnesty International's description of Guantanamo Bay as a Soviet-era gulag. I hope everyone can see what this pitiful excuse for human being is trying to do. He is not appealing to world opinion or proclaiming our innocence. He's trying to fan the flames of anger among America's bigots and nationalists, and discredit Amnesty International. It's a fascist stratagem. And I wonder if it isn't working.