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Addington, Cheney and Torture

Andrew Sullivan | November 4 2005

ADDINGTON, CHENEY AND TORTURE: Dick Cheney's new Scooter Libby, David Addington, is, as one would expect, a big believer in the military's right to abuse detainees. In the aftermath of the abuse scandals, many in the Pentagon want the U.S. to return to the fold of civilized countries, and its own history, and stop the policy. The same goes for many, many people in the CIA. When honorable soldiers and CIA officials see their own agencies being accurately accused of activities that shock the conscience, they are not happy. Nor are critical allies of the U.S. in the war on terror. But all these voices have been railroaded by the Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal. They aren't going to back down now:

A central player in the fight over the directive is David S. Addington, who was the vice president's counsel until he was named on Monday to succeed I. Lewis Libby Jr. as Mr. Cheney's chief of staff. According to several officials, Mr. Addington verbally assailed a Pentagon aide who was called to brief him and Mr. Libby on the draft, objecting to its use of language drawn from Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
"He left bruised and bloody," one Defense Department official said of the Pentagon aide, Matthew C. Waxman, Mr. Rumsfeld's chief adviser on detainee issues. "He tried to champion Article 3, and Addington just ate him for lunch."

Ah, yes. The Geneva Conventions. Remember them? To put it in their allegedly "vague" language, Cheney's chief aide believes that the U.S. should legally and as a matter of policy be free to conduct interrogations that include "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, humiliating and degrading treatment." It doesn't get much clearer than that, does it?

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