Dick Cheney: Shoot the Messenger
Let’s say you’re driving along and suddenly a red warning light on your dashboard starts flashing. Do you: A) pull over and check the engine or the owner’s manual; or B) put some masking tape over the gauge so you won’t have to be bothered by that #^%$#&*! red light?
Or, your doctor gives you some dire health warnings and tells you which lifestyle and diet changes you need to make. Your response is: A) take the warnings seriously, and start following at least some of the doctor’s recommendations; or B) call the doctor a #^%$&!#$#! and go storming out, and look for a doctor who’ll just tell you that whatever you’re doing is AOK.
If your name is Dick Cheney, you answered B) for each of those questions.
Last week, Amnesty International came out with a report condemning American treatment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Not terrorists — suspects. Remember those quaint notions about innocent until proven guilty and the right to a speedy trial?
For decades, Amnesty International has been a respected watchdog for human rights. Suspected violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay have been a hot topic for over a year now. If an international watchdog confirms what many people have suspected, maybe the report should be taken seriously.
It’s one thing to have questions or reservations about this report, but the usual predictable sources have lashed out with kneejerk responses.
Dick Cheney said: “Frankly, I was offended by it. For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don’t take them seriously.”
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers called the Amnesty International report “absolutely irresponsible.”
Bush also jumped on the bandwagon: “It’s absurd. It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world.”
Like a doctor’s warning or a flashing red light on the dashboard, this Amnesty International report needs to be taken seriously and investigated.
Or you could just put some tape over that gauge so the flashing red light won’t bother you. And put on some earplugs so you won’t have to listen to that Godawful clanging sound under the hood.