Letter to the editor: No excuse for torture

December 17, 2014
Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney

OPINION By ALLAN COOPER

Listening to Dick Cheney defend torture on “Meet The Press” is akin to hearing Idi Amin justify cannibalism.

Imagine that you are one of the 26 innocent detainees who was confined for 29 hours in a box that measures 21 inches wide, 30 inches deep and 30 inches high, you can neither stand, sit nor lie down for 29 hours. Imagine being literally immobilized in a closed coffin for 266 hours. If this isn’t torture, I don’t know what is!

Initially, many of the other less innocent detainees provided useful “intel” to trained interrogators without resorting to torture. But these trained interrogators were fired and Cheney and company brought in unqualified “contractors” to take over the “interrogation process” using torture. No subsequent useful “intel” was obtained.

How would one best describe this sort of behavior? Depravity.

Allan Cooper is a retired Cal Poly professor and a member of Save Our Downtown.


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Jorge Estrada

Impressive interview, He’s had a new heart for three years and whatever beats in his chest does not change the spirit of Dick Cheney. He was clear about who he will not support for the next President and very clear that torture is an option for data gathering. He likened 9/11 as torture to lessen our means of extracting information. I would consider 9/11 to be an act of war and torture to be a consequence of war. War is brutal and truly with no rules. The Geneva Convention is BS in a real WAR, many would agree if they still had their heads.


OnTheOtherHand

Dick Cheney has a new blood pump in his chest. He does not have and never has had anything resembling “a heart.” He is as cold, manipulative, power-hungry and greedy a man as we have ever had in high office in this country. With a bit of charisma, I could see him as an American version of Hitler.


Dexter

It is disappointing to read some of the red meat ranting posted below.


There is no excuse to employ torture and it is profoundly un-American. To resort to the tactics we have read about at “black sites” throughout the world is flat out wrong and those who support it are every bit as delusional as the extremists who kill innocent people in the name of their religious beliefs.


American principles demand that we condemn torture and we as a nation have agreed to do in accordance with the Geneva Convention.


Senator John McCain, who himself was victim of torture while a POW, speaks against the U.S. in employing such methods, citing in part, the prosecution and conviction of Japanese soldiers who water boarded American soldiers during WWII. Clearly, Senator McCain gets it!


If we continue to go down the road of accepting torture as a tool of the government what is next? Do we start allowing torture to be used as an accepted technique in extracting confessions by law enforcement?


The red meat crowd is so quick to promote the greatness of our country and its Constitution, yet they pee backwards on it when it suits their twisted logic and agenda.


We may be on different ends of the political spectrum Mr. Cooper, but I am in full understanding and respect of your opinion piece. As for those who have attacked you, I fear their twisted logic more than I fear the idealogy of the religious fanatics.


st33L

“No subsequent useful “intel” was obtained.”


And you, a self serving know nothing know it all would back this statement up how? Your years of military service? Working in the intelligence community? What a feel good crock of BS. Sitting in a box is torture? Wow… You might want to educate yourself about what they would do to you. Personally, after seeing someone get beat to death with their own arm after it’s been cut off in captivity makes your statement all the more uninformed and down right stupid


OnTheOtherHand

Are there torture methods more horrific? Certainly. But to think that months in a box that is intentionally built to not allow one to lay down, stand up or even sit comfortably is not torture is equally “know nothing.” I am not an expert but I will take the word of John McCain or even Jesse Ventura who do know something about the subject long before I take the word of Dick Cheney or the legal team he directed to rationalize his theories. BTW, if forced to make the choice, I would rather be beaten to death with my own arm after it’s been cut off in captivity than be tortured in some of the ways our interrogators used. At least I would know that the relief of death would be coming soon.


SGT D

Amen to that. This man has no idea about what is even considered real torture according to the Geneva convention. These know it all’s from the liberal academia make me sick. He sits behind his desk and say’s “Gee, I feel that maybe since I’m so bright I am compelled to share my wisdom about war and torture”.


tictac1

This country used to have the moral high ground. By embracing torture, we lose that. We become more like our enemies. Once you are completely like your enemy, regardless of ideology, you have lost, and what you were defending no longer exists.


We have already lost to terrorism, because our society now operates on fear, not freedom. Most, if not all, our rights have been abridged by the response to the “terror threat”.


No muslim has ever impeded my freedom and way of life. My government, on the other hand…


Pelican1

Am I to believe that the events of 911 carried out by Muslims has in no way “impeded your freedom and way of life?”

So, you are exempt from the comprehensive security screening now in place due to the events on 911?

Do you think those Muslims who carried out 911 impeded the freedom and way of life of the 3,000 innocent people they murdered?

Did the Americans beheaded by Muslims recently have their freedom and way of life impeded?

What about the 132 school children murdered by Muslims in Pakistan…were their lives and freedoms impeded?

I could go on and on but there is probably no point.

Myopia is myopia….


Slowerfaster

We ( the official US collective of dumb white people ) never has had the ‘moral high ground’.

Only the pretense qnd the phony chest-thumping of exceptionalism practiced by brutes and theives.


400+ years of slavery, and still millions of unabashed racists in our midst.

The genocide against the native population …the ‘Trail of Tears’ relocation and slaughter at Wounded Knee and elsewhere.

The continued neglect and oppression towards the ‘undercless’ … a fancier word for ‘the other’ that these stupid white people don’t care for.


Sure, a few have risen above: George Washington that forbade torture in the Revolutionary War ( he still ‘owned’ slaves, though ); Lincoln with Emancipation; Eisenhower, Truman, and the Nuremberg prosecutors.

There are others …but most of the white mouth-breathers are just sadistic, brutal cavemen with subjective morality and expensive toys.


r0y

There is short poem by Hilaire Belloc called “The Pacifist” which pretty much sums it up:


Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight,

But Roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right.


I’m sure the majority of Muslim subjects of the previous caliphates were peace-loving, but the powers that established the caliphate (Mohammed’s disciples) were fanatical conquerors, plain and simple. ISIS’ goal is the same as Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman, one Islamic empire under “allah”, and they will kill, destroy and conquer until they reach their goal.


Ignorance does not suit you, Mr. Cooper. Shed it as soon as possible.


zaphod

speaking of ignorance you ignore the United States complicity in the birthing of Isis and Al Kaida Egypt had all of the Islamic terrorists in prison the United States caught them out to do battle with the Soviet Union that’s how we got into Afghanistan there’s a hidden history of it I don’t think America is ready to see


r0y

Please, these “arab nazis” go back to WWII, they’ve always been there, we just ignored them for 60 years. Dig a little deeper.


Mr. Holly

Whoops! Looks like Mr. Cooper wondered outside of his protected classroom and got exposed to the real world. He would probably be better off going back on campus where there is usually only one viewpoint on things.


aft50s

I for one would like to see Professor Emeritus Allan Cooper forgo his $7,500 per month pension, pick up an M4 and ship out to the Middle East for a year tour.


While there, he can pick up some dead children’s bodies, scrape whats left of his buddy of his flak jacket, and give his rations to starving families.


Until he’s done that, I am not interested in the opinion of a leftist living off the taxes of others.


abigchocoholic

I tend to agree.


Allen, you made your life choices and chose the cushy, protected life of a college professor where you became all too used to speaking down to recently graduated high schoolers and being treated with great admiration and respect because the kids were innocent, ignorant and ambitious and constantly kissing your behind to make a better grade than their peers and where your authority was never questioned except possibly by liked minded academic bureaucrats and where your paychecks for 30 years came from from an embarrassingly bloated and inefficient state government that’s currently 45 billion dollars in debt and operates off a legalized ponzi scheme.


Now that it’s all over and you’re sitting back in your lazy boy chair with occasional breaks to go walk around you idyllic little town, you basically have no credibility when you try to explain how life works beyond your college teaching experience.


r0y

Well said. It is sad how being so isolated from reality (only reading and theorizing about it) can tarnish a person.


This is just more of the typical “spit in the plate you eat from” that we often hear propagated for personal gain.


enoughbs

How about Dick “heartless b**stard” Cheney, the guy who got five draft deferments and hide in an underground bunker while he talked so tough. He’s a chicken-hawk draft dodger. That’s the bottom line. The Iraq war was the biggest business deal of all time. Cost US taxpayers at least a trillion dollars and counting. (Think about all the troops coming back. Will the Repugnicks support them?) When Dumya was puttin’ the war on the credit card, not a peep out of any republican about the deficit. Get some facts, quit listening to Fox and Limbaugh.


OnTheOtherHand

Would you take the word of some of my Vietnam-era vet buddies? They have seen the gore and lost friends too. However, they didn’t lose their ability to think and observe. Most of them agree that these wars are a waste of life for us and of trillions of dollars we could better use here. None of them were communists and they had no problem killing such. However, they figured out that it was futile to push our culture and values on people who didn’t share them. And they also realized that our country, in the form of big corporations with government backing, was responsible for creating a good chunk of the ill-will that brought people to fight against us.


r0y

Of course, most of those vets never saw or understood the “big picture” either. Much like many people today. The part we see firsthand is usually only one move in a much larger, long-term game. I will not deny that it is ugly and I would love to believe it is unnecessary, but that would just be presumptuous and short-sighted.


achillesheal

Yesterday the Taliban attacked a school in Pakistan and killed 132.children.


Tell me mr pointy headed liberal academic, if there was a plot to carry out an act like this at Los ranchos school and if sheriff Parkinson had a high level Taliban captive, would you not want him to use whatever means necessary to find out information?


I guess you would rather preserve the rights of the Muslim terrorists than the lives of children? Academia must be so proud.


OnTheOtherHand

Information obtained via torture is not reliable. At best, it needs to be verified and that takes time — time that is not available in the extremely rare case of a scenario like you have presented. (The real world does not work like a version of the TV show “24”.) At worst it wastes time and energy on misdirected activities.


Life comes with risks and those include attack by bad/evil people (Muslim or not.) I will accept those risks rather than lower myself to surrender my rights and freedom or to abandon morality. If you think that is too naive, go ahead and move to a country where their values are more in line with yours. You might not be allowed into North Korea but I bet that Russia, China and perhaps a few African dictatorships would be agreeable with your ideas about dealing with enemies.


BeenThereDoneThat

Mr. Cooper is looking at this analytically with the naivety of a five year old. This is not a level playing field. The world around us doesn’t operate to our rules and civility. Look at what is going on in Afghanistan and most of the Middle East with subjugating of women. Or how about the wonderful news out of Pakistan yesterday, of the school kids all MASQUERADED!!!!!!!!


So Mr. Cooper, seeing as it is so easy to Monday morning quarterback it, what would you do? Buy them milk and cookies and say pretty please tell us what evil shit you have planned for us next!!!??


BeenThereDoneThat

Oops massacre. Damn spell check.


OnTheOtherHand

I would like to suggest that you get a wider view of the subject of interrogation. However, I suspect it would be a waste of time since you probably think that anyone who disagrees with right wing pundits and politicians is instantly discredited even if they have vastly more experience and knowledge in the field.