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Dick Cheney's Definition of Torture Is Too Stupid or Insulting to Let Stand

Newspaper article

Dick Cheney's Definition of Torture Is Too Stupid or Insulting to Let Stand

Article excerpt

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday on "Meet the Press" that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" weren't torture. So, reasonably, "Meet the Press" moderator Chuck Todd asked him to give his definition of what would constitute torture. Here's what Cheney said:

"Well, torture, to me, Chuck, is an American citizen on a cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11. There's this notion that somehow there's moral equivalence between what the terrorists and what we do. And that's absolutely not true. We were very careful to stop short of torture. The Senate has seen fit to label their report torture. But we worked hard to stay short of that definition."

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. The 9/11 attacks were a moral crime of enormous magnitude, a mass murder, a massacre of innocents. But they have nothing to do with torture.

Here's the definition of torture from the U.N. convention that bans torture, a document to which the United States is signatory:

"Torture' means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions."

What is Cheney up to? I always assumed he was a smart man. This is too stupid to let stand or else it is an insult to the intelligence of even the small portion of the U.S. population that watches "Meet the Press. …

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