Monday, November 07, 2005

The Shrinking Island of Torture Apologists

The WaPo's Dana Priest and Robin Wright report that Cheney is increasingly isolated in his advocacy of "harsh" interrogation of suspected terrorists:
In recent months, Cheney has been the force against adding safeguards to the Defense Department's rules on treatment of military prisoners, putting him at odds with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England. On a trip to Canada last month, Rice interrupted a packed itinerary to hold a secure video-teleconference with Cheney on detainee policy to make sure no decisions were made without her input.
Jeebus. Maybe that's why Rice skipped town so hastily, eh? But wait! There's more:

[click "Read on, MacDuff!" to continue reading]
Beside personal pressure from the vice president, Cheney's staff is also engaged in resisting a policy change. Tactics included "trying to have meetings canceled ... to at least slow things down or gum up the works" or trying to conduct meetings on the subject without other key Cabinet members, one administration official said. The official said some internal memos and e-mail from the National Security Council staff to the national security adviser were automatically forwarded to the vice president's office -- in some cases without the knowledge of the authors. For that reason, Rice "wanted to be in all meetings," said a senior State Department official.
And don't forget: Cheney has a new Scooter! Meet David Addington:
Cheney's chief aide in this bureaucratic war of wills is David S. Addington, who was his chief counsel until last week when he replaced I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby as the vice president's chief of staff. Addington exerted influence on many of the most significant policy decisions after Sept. 11, 2001. He helped write the position on torture taken by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, a stance rescinded after it became public, and he helped pick Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the location beyond the reach of U.S. law for holding suspected terrorists. When Addington learned that the draft Pentagon directive included language from Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits torture and cruel treatment, including "humiliating and degrading treatment," he summoned the Pentagon official in charge of the detainee issue to brief him. During a tense meeting at his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Addington was strident, said officials with knowledge of the encounter, and chastised Deputy Assistant Secretary Matthew C. Waxman for including what he regarded as vague and unhelpful language from Article 3 in the directive.
"Vague"? As in "stress positions" vague? "Use of dogs" vague?

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