Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What me torture?

Last week, Vice President Dick Cheney, told the Weekly Standard,
I think on the left wing of the Democratic party, there are some people who believe that we really tortured...
Make that the left wing of the Democratic party and the Bush administration official in charge of trying the remaining Guantanamo detainees.

From this morning's Washington Post
The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."

"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.
Judge Crawford, who previously served in defense department posts in the Reagan and earlier Bush administrations, would now appear to be a fellow traveler in Dick Cheney's book.

In another blow to actually trying the terrorists, there may be insurmountable problems with the evidence in these cases. From another article in this morning's Post
A former military prosecutor said in a declaration filed in federal court yesterday that the system of handling evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay is so chaotic that it is impossible to prepare a fair and successful prosecution.
To that, you can add some outright bungling
Military defense lawyers also said yesterday that the Office of Military Commissions may have accidentally withdrawn the charges against all defendants at Guantanamo Bay facing trial, including Jawad and even Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the operational mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The Bush administration has held detainees for seven years and only successfully prosecuted a handful. At least that's what some on the left wing of the Democratic party say.