Military people tend to be conservative. Despite a few outbursts of dissent, the current military refuses to accept how badly served they have been by the Bush Administration. Not only by the half-baked war planning, but in terms of diminished veterans’ benefits. The biggest reason GIs should vote against Republicans, though, is Vice President Dick Cheney.
When asked why he didn’t serve in the military, this uberhawk famously declared, “I had other priorities.” Okay, fine, I know many people who dodged military service during the Vietnam War. But no one I know is as vicious and bloodthirsty as Cheney.
The U.S. Army has officially disavowed the practice of “waterboarding,” where a detainee is strapped to a piece of wood, head tilted down, face covered by a rag, and water poured over him to simulate drowning. The Army trains its people to kill, so why are they shying away from waterboarding? Because when you practice inhuman acts against your opponent, you can bet they will practice them against your own people. And how can you protest when they do? What recourse do you have? What’s more, what incentive is there for an opponent to surrender, instead of fighting it out to the death?
The Army knows this, but Dick Cheney doesn’t care. He recently told a reporter that the use of waterboarding was “a no-brainer” if it helped stop terrorism. While I don’t doubt that the practice sometimes yields useful information, it may as well produce bogus information, as detainees say anything they can think up to get off the board. Furthermore, how can we declare our culture is morally superior when we ourselves engage in terroristic interrogation methods?
Dick Cheney is a moral monster. It is no exaggeration to say he is a war criminal. He visited CIA Headquarters daily in the months before the invasion of Iraq, browbeating the analysts and bending the intelligence. More than anyone in government at the time, except for George Tenet (who received the Medal of Freedom for his silence), Cheney knew the war was unnecessary. He and his neocon cadre had an objective — the overthrow of Saddam Hussein — and they never let the truth stand in their way.
In a just world, his utter lack of any moral decency, as exemplified by the “no-brainer” statement, would have gotten him impeached. It frankly amazes me that anyone could support the Republican Party in the upcoming elections. That party has again and again turned a blind eye to arguably the most egregious acts ever committed by any administration in this country’s history, and we’ve seen some pretty bad administrations over the years. President Polk used similar tactics to force a war with Mexico, in order to seize what is now the U.S. Southwest. It was a vile act, but in terms of bloodshed and suffering it pales in comparison with Iraq.
Members of the military should look closely at how their lives are being wasted, and for what purpose. If they think they are serving in defense of American liberty and values, they need to think again.