December 22, 2014 Issue - It’s hard to describe it as a positive development when a branch of the federal government releases a four-hundred-and-ninety-nine-page report that explains, in meticulous detail, how unthinkable cruelty became official U.S. policy. But last Tuesday, in releasing the long-awaited Senate Select Intelligence Committee report on the C.I.A.’s interrogation-and-detention program, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee chairman, proved that Congress can still perform its most basic Madisonian function of providing a check on executive-branch abuse, and that is reason for gratitude.
It is clear now that from the start many of those involved in the program, which began in 2002, recognized its potential criminality. Before subjecting a detainee to interrogation, a 2002 cable notes, C.I.A. officers sought assurances that he would “remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life.” Permanent, extrajudicial disappearance was apparently preferable to letting the prisoner ever tell what had been done to him. That logic may explain why no “high value detainee” subjected to the most extreme tactics and still in U.S. custody in Guantánamo has yet been given an open trial.
The report also demonstrates that the agency misrepresented nearly every aspect of its program to the Bush Administration, which authorized it, to the members of Congress charged with overseeing it, and to the public, which was led to believe that whatever the C.I.A. was doing was vital for national security and did not involve torture. Instead, the report shows, in all twenty cases most widely cited by the C.I.A. as evidence that abusive interrogation methods were necessary, the same information could have been obtained, and frequently was obtained, through non-coercive methods. Further, the interrogations often produced false information, ensnaring innocent people, sometimes with tragic results.
Other documents illustrate how the agency misled. In June of 2003, the Vice-President’s counsel asked the C.I.A’.s general counsel if the agency was videotaping its waterboarding sessions. His answer was no. That was technically true, since it was not videotaping them at the time. But it had done so previously, and it had the tapes. The C.I.A. used the same evasion on Senate overseers. A day after a senator proposed a commission to look into detainee matters, the tapes were destroyed. Similar deceptions on many levels are so rife in the report that a reader can’t help but wonder if agency officials didn’t simply regard their cloak of state secrecy as a license to circumvent accountability.
After Feinstein introduced the report on the Senate floor, John McCain rose to speak. He praised the document as “a thorough and thoughtful study of practices that I believe not only failed their purpose—to secure actionable intelligence to prevent further attacks on the U.S. and our allies—but actually damaged our security interests, as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world.” His endorsement was important not only because, as a former prisoner of war who survived torture, he has particular authority on the issue but also because he is a Republican. He lent the report credibility against torture apologists hoping to discredit it as a political stunt. The tableau of the two elder senators putting aside their differences to stand together was a relic of bipartisan statesmanship.
It remains to be seen, though, whether the report will spur lasting reform. read more>>>
The Royal United Services Institute said the UK could face a bill of nearly £65bn, once the cost of long-term care for injured veterans was factored in, with most of the money was spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The study, called Wars in Peace, said both conflicts were largely “strategic failures” for the UK, The Guardian reported."
"And when you add up to the Department of Defense, Department of State, CIA, Veterans Affairs, interest on debt, the number that strikes me the most about how much we're committed financially to these wars and to our current policies is we have spent $250 billion already just on interest payments on the debt we've incurred for the Iraq and Afghan wars." 26 September 2014
Chris Hayes MSNBC: "If you can run a deficit to go to war, you can run a deficit to take care of the people who fought it" In response to Republican opposition to expanding Veterans' benefits on fiscal grounds
Neither of these recent wars have yet been paid for, let alone the results from, including the long ignored or outright denied existence of, till this Administrations Cabinet and Gen Shinseki, only Government branch consistent for the past six years, issues! As well as under deficits most of the, grossly under funded, VA budget is still borrowed thus added, problem creating, costs that shouldn't exist!