Cheneys Would Keep America a Terror Target

By Mitchell Kaidy

If former Vice President Dick Cheney wasn’t the most objective moral authority about his administration and its Guantanamo Bay practices, his daughter seems to offer even less hope.

Claiming to spot national security threats, Liz Cheney is organizing a new group called “Keep America Safe,” while denouncing the Obama administration’s “failures” and alerting patriotic Americans that the terrorists will be moving next door if the Cuban facility is closed — even though closure was initiated by her father’s administration and is strongly supported by military authorities.

To Liz and Dick, it’s likely that over a dozen retired generals and admirals sharply disagreeing with them won’t amount to much — even though, dismissing Liz’s charges as “nonsense” on the Politico blog, those authorities are renewing calls for the Cuban base to be emptied promptly.

The basis for closure, according to bipartisan groups, is that Guantanamo (as well as Abu Ghraib in Iraq, which also took place during Liz Cheney’s father’s tenure) comprise some of the sharpest provocations for Middle East terrorists. A Congressional committee recently emphasized this — it concluded that harsh treatment and the appearance of anti-Muslim bias are constantly motivating new enemies.

To make her case, Cheney is also fond of planting the fear that the federal courts are incapable of convicting guilty suspects, whereas as a lawyer she should know that almost 200 suspects have been convicted of terror-related crimes, some being assigned to the Supermax federal prison.

Either Cheney or someone on her staff must also have noted that the American Corrections Association adopted a resolution recently affirming that “there would be no danger or threat to the American people” in transferring the remaining convicts to American prisons.

There is evidence, however, that the opposite may be true — interviews have shown that keeping the hateful Guantanamo symbol open may animate more attacks on US forces overseas.

Alberto Mora, former Navy general counsel, has warned Congress that Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are both potent recruiting tools and incentives to violence. And a dozen retired generals and admirals backed this up by accusing Cheney of scaremongering.

As most Americans would agree, the detention of suspects should be only the first step toward determination of guilt. Yet the record appears to reveal that, incredibly in some cases, the suspected bad guys were merely mistaken pickups who were held for years before being freed.

Perhaps the most cynical justification for torture in Lynn Cheney’s quiver is her cynical redefinition of the practice of waterboarding — even though she’s an attorney, “It’s not torture,” she proclaims. But offhand dismissal is willful ignorance for an attorney. After World War II the US prosecuted and executed Japanese soldiers for employing waterboarding and other tortures against American soldiers.

Mitchell Kaidy of Rochester, N.Y., is a prizewinning journalist who has worked for three daily newspapers as well as broadcast media.

From The Progressive Populist, November 15, 2009

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