Fighting Words

Former Utne Editor in Chief David Schimke on conflict, compassion, partisanship, and peace

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Dick Cheney's Autobiography of a War Criminal

8/31/2011 4:05:20 PM

Tags: Dick Cheney, Cheney memoir, torture, Geneva Conventions, Amnesty International, human rights, Politics, Fighting Words, David Schimke, David Schimke

CheneyProtest 

Regardless of the author, political “tell alls” rarely tell readers anything they didn’t already know or firmly believe, except that the self-proclaimed hero or heroine of the tale is even more brilliant, arrogant, genuine, superficial, or petty than we dared dream. And given what I can only imagine lurks in the bionic heart of former Vice President’s Dick Cheney, I’m not making plans to curl up with his new book, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, over the Labor Day weekend.

I have found one reason to be excited by the VP’s 576-page curtain call, though. The international human rights organization Amnesty International is shrewdly taking advantage of the momentary media buzz around the book’s release to remind people of the lies that Cheney, his boss, and their loyalists told and continue to tell to justify “institutionalized torture, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances”—all immoral and indefensible violations of the Geneva Conventions and the United States Constitution.

“Amnesty International is reiterating its call to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to immediately open a criminal investigation into the role former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and other officials played in the use of torture on detainees held in U.S. custody,” Tom Parker, policy director for terrorism, counterterrorism and human rights for Amnesty International U.S.A., said in a press release on August 25.

On August 30, supporters of the organization showed up to protest Cheney’s appearance on NBC’s Today Show, and their signs calling for accountability were caught on camera. That afternoon, Amnesty members delivered a copy of Cheney's memoir to a spokesperson at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., along with a personal letter to Holder demanding that his office look into crimes committed during the Bush administration’s so-called “war on terror.”

Amnesty also launched Cheney’s Conscience, a parody account on Twitter that it hopes users will read and repost in an effort to remind people of the vice president’s actions in and out of office.

I’m still unsure why President Obama decided against pursuing his predecessors in the courts. A good case could be made that he simply wanted to keep his options open and continues to allow, if not encourage, torture and rendition off the grid. A more generous interpretation is that he didn’t want to get mired in a highly polarizing political fight. Either way, it’s a good guess he assumed Bush and Co. would show some gratitude and stay silent on the issue. Cheney, in particular, has chosen to do just the opposite. If there’s any justice, his braggadocio and the inventive work of organizations like Amnesty International will cause the Obama administration to reconsider its passivity.

Image courtesy of Amnesty International. 



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Post a comment below.

 

Dan Pieniak
9/2/2011 9:40:58 AM
No doubt about it, this poor excuse for a human being is the worst example of a politician, I have seen. Dick Cheney's only good point is that he such a disgustingly good liar.

Planck
9/1/2011 10:27:37 PM
Check out William Pepper "An Act of State" if you want to find out why Obama may have recused himself from prosecuting these war criminals. This jury verdict in the Loyd Jowers case in Memphis shows that a jury of our peers clearly believed there is a hornets nest of operatives working deep within the woodwork of our most trusted security, intelligence, and public safety institutions. This they decided after hearing evidence about the MLK assassination not covered in Church or Warren commissions evidently. Operatives are also of course in the Press so the 1998 verdict got buried in one afternoon's news echo chamber. Bill Clinton also saw no reason to have to respond. Neither did Justice, nor SCOTUS. There you have it. All three branches AND the Fourth Estate decide to ignore a jury of our peers and therefore provide 30 years more cover to the most heinous breech of democracy going! Russ Baker "Family of Secrets" also presents compelling evidence that should be addressed in serious inquiries. Wake up people. Until we get this sorted out, there is no legitimate government in this country! And, there is no way we can expect a President to act independently if we are not in control of these operatives.



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