Former Marine Corps Commandant Charles C. Krulak and former CENTCOM Commander Joseph P. Hoar took to the op-ed pages on September 11th to denounce torture as policy:
But we never imagined that we would feel duty-bound to publicly denounce a vice president of the United States, a man who has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must repudiate his dangerous ideas -- and his scare tactics.
We have seen how ill-conceived policies that ignored military law on the treatment of enemy prisoners hindered our ability to defeat al Qaeda. We have seen American troops die at the hands of foreign fighters recruited with stories about tortured Muslim detainees at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. And yet Cheney and others who orchestrated America's disastrous trip to "the dark side'' continue to assert -- against all evidence -- that torture "worked'' and that our country is better off for having gone there.
Krulak and Hoar joint a number of military and law enforcement professionals who have denounced torture, including FBI interrogator Ali Soufan and former FBI special agent and counterintelligence expert Asha Rangappa. Since the recent CIA document dump failed to prove Cheney's claims about torture having "saved American lives," his biographer Stephen Hayes has fallen back on shadowy anonymous sources to bolster Cheney's arguments. That doesn't exactly spur confidence in Hayes' conclusions, especially not coming from the author of The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America.
Last week, a number of writers noted that as a result of American military and intelligence efforts, al Qaeda's inability to follow-up on the 9/11 attacks and its wholesale slaughter of fellow Muslims in the name of its warped religious doctrine have weakened and discredited the organization. Make no mistake however -- al Qaeda has won battles since 9/11, the most significant of which is its success in persuading one of America's major political parties to embrace torture. Al Qaeda can't destroy the United States militarily -- all it can do is warp our society by making us so fearful that we abandon everything that makes us who we are. When it comes to torture, they've made great progress.
The Cheney mindset is arguably al Qaeda's greatest victory since 9/11.
-- A. Serwer