The GOP Remains the Grand Old (Torture) Party

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Liz Cheney wowed &#39em at the recent “Smart Girls Summit” in Nashville with a speech blatantly defending torture.

That spectacle led Andy Sewer of the left-progressive American Prospect to observe, correctly, that for the post-Cheney GOP,  “torture is no longer a `necessary evil.’ It is a rally cry, a `values’ issue like same-sex marriage or abortion. They don’t “grudgingly” support torture, they applaud it. They celebrate it. Liz Cheney’s unequivocal support for torture methods gleaned from communist China has people begging her to run for office.”

(Some of us made the same point about the GOP’s “theo-con” wing several years ago, but it’s good to see more people waking up to this awful fact.)

The truly nihilistic nature of the torture regime constructed under Bush and Cheney — and not formally repudiated by the Blessed One, Barack the Good and Wise (peace be upon him) — is displayed in the case of Fouad al-Rabiah, an innocent Kuwaiti father of four who was captured, detained, and tortured by the Washington regime for years despite the fact that he was known to be innocent.

In the case of al-Rabiah, notes Andy Worthington, author of “The Guantanamo Files,” the Bush-Cheney regime “tortured an innocent man to extract false confessions and then threatened him until he obligingly repeated those lies as though they were the truth.”

Al-Rabiah filed a habeas corpus petition in May 2002; his was the oldest habeas petition of those filed on behalf of Gitmo detainees. It was granted by U.S. District Judge Kathleen Kollar-Kotelly on September 17 (Constitution Day, for what that’s worth), who pointed out that the “evidentiary record” against al-Rabiah consisted entirely of statements extracted from him by torture.

Even some of those responsible for interrogating the prisoner recognized that his “confessions” were invalid. Yet the regime still insisted that those torture-extracted statements were sufficient to justify al-Rabiah’s indefinite detention as an “unlawful enemy combatant.”

“The Government’s simple explanation for the evidence in this case is that Al Rabiah made confessions the Court should accept as true,” noted Judge Kollar-Kotelly. “The simple response is that the Court does not accept confessions that even the Government’s own interrogators do not believe.”

As Orwell said, the purpose of torture is torture; it is a ratification of the State’s supposed authority to bend the truth to conform to the dictates of the rulers. And those assumptions are among the most sacred tenets of the Theo-Con wing of the Grand Old (Torture) Party.

2:59 pm on October 1, 2009