Dick Cheney’s Soviet Sense of Humor

Cheney’s tortured logic

Cheney Endorses CIA Interrogators Going ‘Beyond The Specific Legal Authorization’

WALLACE: Do you think what they did, now that you’ve heard about it, do you think what they did was wrong?

CHENEY: Chris, my sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives, in preventing further attacks against the United States, in giving us the intelligence we needed to go find al Qaeda, to find their camps, to find out how they were being financed. … It was good policy. It was properly carried out. it worked very, very well.

WALLACE: So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you’re okay with it.

CHENEY: I am.

In the recently released 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report made frequent mention that OLC lawyers ( Bush appointees at the DOJ) and that legal counsel as justification for disregarding Geneva Conventions when interrogating prisoners. As far fetched as those opinions were, Cheney seems to think even those opinions which tried to define acceptable torture did not matter. Torture, given even the glossiest spin is about two things. One is getting information. Since we know that torture does work in the sense those being tortured will say anything to get the torture to stop, the quality of the information is questionable. The other reason that people and governments torture is because they like to. Cheney has embraced both views. Let’s not be shocked that Chris Wallace lobbed some whiffle balls at Cheney, that’s what Chris does. He has always been a partisan hack. A marginally professional journalist would have reminded Cheney that when Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was tortured he confessed to among many other plots plans to attack Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf, the Panama Canal and Big Ben in London and to assassinate former presidents Carter and Clinton. One can understand the paranoid weenies on the Right believing every word, but to those of us in the reality based community it all sounds like a load of BS meant either to impress his captors or to stop the pain. CNN or the Conservative News Network has also been glad to catapult the Cheney bull, CNN Gets Snookered By Cheney’s Masterful Obfuscation

The wanton desire to torture people for no reason that has ever been justified, other then right-wing comic book scenarios about ticking time bombs, might be some kind of genetic disorder, Liz Cheney says “Waterboarding isn’t torture,” but John McCain called it “a very exquisite torture”

McCain on waterboarding: “I believe that it is torture, very exquisite torture”

Shep Smith: “Pol Pot was a big fan of this waterboarding action. Now we get some lawyers around the table and want to pretend like it’s not torture.”

Hannity misrepresented bipartisan Washington Monthly essay collection, which included these statements:

* Former Rep.Bob Barr (R-GA): “Waterboarding is, in essence, a torturer’s best friend-easy, quick, and nonevidentiary. It had always been considered torture by civilized governments such as ours-until, of course, this administration.”
* Former Dep. Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Reagan White House chief of staff Ken Duberstein: “Let there be no mistake: waterboarding is torture-and it should never be used by the United States. No less a hero than John McCain will attest to this.”
* Then-Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE): During World War II, U.S. interrogators “acquired” valuable “information without resorting to abusive techniques, such as waterboarding, that are considered to be torture.”

The U.S. prosecuted the Japanese nationalists of WW II for using waterboarding. Top Bush Terrorism Adviser Admits CIA Docs Didn’t Prove Torture Worked

The Method of Cheney’s Madness

My views of Dick Cheney are hopefully clear by now.  So I’m not getting into the immorality of his torture stance.

But I don’t think that “winning” the torture debate is his actual goal.  To me, the goal of his recent charm offensive is simply to kick up enough dirt to force a “draw.”  That is, he wants to politicize the torture debate as much as possible — to transform a profound debate about our country’s values into just another everyday Republican/Democratic partisan squabble that makes people throw up their hands and despair of knowing “the truth.”

If you’ve noticed, Cheney tends to pop up in the aftermath of damning evidence.  We just (re)learned, for instance, that our CIA agents murdered detainees, choked them, and threatened to rape their wives.  Normally, you would think these revelations would give pause to even the most ardent Cheney supporters.

But then Cheney comes along, and tries to reframe the whole story.  His intended audience isn’t the nation as a whole, but conservatives.  He wants to make sure that they view these stories through partisan-tinted lenses.

Sure Cheney’s media parades are about tossing some red meat to the modern Romans with their thirst for a good bloody show, but its also about shifting the debate i.e. even if torture is illegal, immoral and counter productive it works or at least shows them we’re tough. Their evil makes our evil  as all-American as mom and apple pie.

Not all of course, but some Conservatives in Texas have been taking one too many hits off the Tea Bong, Right-Wing Extremists Protest Health Care Reform: “We Hate the United States!”. As you watch the video you can hear one of the ever so rational and patriotic protesters call for a “bloody war”.

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