Tuesday 12 December 2017

Cheney defends the use of torture on terror suspects

Former US Vice President Cheney
Former US Vice President Cheney

Jon Swaine Washington

Dick Cheney, the former US vice-president, has mounted a strident defence of the torture of terrorist suspects by American interrogators during the George W Bush administration.

In a documentary on his life and career to be broadcast this week, Mr Cheney, pictured, dismissed the suggestion that US leaders should risk the lives of Americans out of a concern for their own honour.

"Tell me what terrorist attack is it you would have let go forward because you didn't want to be a mean and nasty fellow," he said, when asked if the waterboarding of al-Qa'ida suspects was justified.

"Given a choice between doing what we did or backing off and saying 'we know you know the next attack against the United States, but we're not going to force you to tell us what it is, because it might create a bad image for us', that's not a close call for me."

America's handling of terrorist suspects remains fiercely debated more than 11 years after the September 11 attacks that led Mr Bush to approve the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques".

Suspects were subjected to waterboarding – in which they were made to feel they were drowning – as well as enforced nudity, being confined in cramped spaces and slammed against walls.

Controversy over the techniques, which were outlawed by President Barack Obama, was renewed this year when the film 'Zero Dark Thirty' suggested that the use of torture had helped lead the CIA to Osama bin Laden.

The documentary, to be shown 10 years after the US-led invasion of Iraq that Mr Cheney aggressively championed while in office, was made by acclaimed filmmaker R J Cutler.

In the documentary, Mr Cheney said he remained unmoved by his many critics. "If you want to be loved, go be a movie star," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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