For weeks, former Vice President Dick Cheney has been making the rounds on television to defend the Bush administration’s torture program, and during his media blitz, Cheney has been citing two CIA memos as proof that torture works as a method of obtaining intelligence.
However, during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing today, Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin made it clear he believes nothing in the memos cited by Cheney suggests torture was the most effective way to gain intelligence from detainees:
“Nothing I have seen – including the two documents to which former Vice President Cheney has repeatedly referred – indicates that the torture techniques authorized by the last administration were necessary, or that they were the best way to get information out of detainees. The former vice president is misleading the American people when he says otherwise.”
Here’s the video of Sen. Feingold’s remarks in the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing today:
Sen. Feingold has long been an opponent of our nation’s use of torture against detainees, writing the following in a letter to former President George Bush on October 15, 2007:
“…I have vigorously opposed the program, and continue to do so. The program is of highly questionable legality, it is inconsistent with our values as a nation, and it does not make our nation any safer. In fact, I believe that it may have the effect of exposing Americans – including military and other U.S. personnel – to greater risk.”
Sen. Feingold’s letter from 2007 underscores what should be every American’s fear about our nation’s use of torture against detainees: the grim possibility our military forces – or worse yet, our civilians – may become the victims of torture by enemies who will justify their actions by pointing to our nation’s actions towards our detainees. Our nation shouldn’t sink to the level of nations that utilize torture, nations like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, China, and Myanmar, because we’re better than that.