During his eight years as vice president, Dick Cheney was rarely seen or heard. Now he can't seem to get in front of a camera or microphone enough. He craves attention. He demands it.
“He doth protest too much, methinks” *
Cheney is on a mission, spreading the gospel of waterboarding, claiming over and over that is not torture. If it is not torture, then why does he have to constantly defend its virtues? Is it because he knows it is torture and blatantly illegal according to our laws and those of the Geneva Conventions? Is it because he endorsed waterboarding as well as other torture techniques and he is trying to protect himself from prosecution? A need to justify the Iraq war? All of the above?
A report from a July 2004 Select Committee on Intelligence suggests that the interrogation was just as centered on a possible Iraq-al-Qaeda link as it was terrorist activity. According to a report by Sam Stien in the “Huffington Post,” some of the first questions asked Khalid Sheikh Mohammed upon his capture and during the time he was waterboarded 183 times were about these connections.
It certainly isn’t to protect former President Bush. Cheney already threw him under the bus on “Face the Nation” Sunday when being interviewed by Bob Schieffer.
SCHIEFFER: How much did President Bush know specifically about the methods that were being used? We know that you--and you have said--that you approved this...
SCHIEFFER: ... somewhere down the line. Did President Bush know everything you knew?
CHENEY: I certainly, yes, have every reason to believe he knew --he knew a great deal about the program. He basically authorized it. I mean, this was a presidential-level decision. And the decision went to the president. He signed off on it.
With friends like that…..
However, the depth of Cheney’s involvement into ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ was reveled in a report written in “The Daily Beast” by Robert Windrem, who covered terrorism for NBC.
“Two U.S. intelligence officers confirm that Vice President Cheney’s office suggested waterboarding an Iraqi prisoner, a former intelligence official for Saddam Hussein, who was suspected to have knowledge of a Saddam-al Qaeda connection.
“The former chief of the Iraq Survey Group, Charles Duelfer, in charge of interrogations, tells The Daily Beast that he considered the request reprehensible.”
Then there is Cheney’s proselytizing about information gained by using these techniques as he did here again with Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation”.
“One of the things that I did six weeks ago was I made a request that two memos that I personally know of, written by the CIA, that lay out the successes of those policies and point out in considerable detail all of --all that we were able to achieve by virtue of those policies, that those memos be released, be made public. The administration has released legal opinions out of the Office of Legal Counsel. They don't have any qualms at all about putting things out that can be used to be critical of the Bush administration policies. But when you've got memos out there that show precisely how much was achieved and how lives were saved as a result of these policies, they won't release those. At least, they haven't yet.”
Yesterday the CIA denied the release of these two memos because they are the subject of pending lawsuits related to the interrogation program and cannot be declassified.
That’s handy for Cheney because he can say that there is evidence of the success of torture, but the CIA won’t release it. And even if the two memos he claims will provide irrefutable proof that torture works, why should we trust only TWO pieces of evidence when one prisoner was waterboarded 183 times in one month to get information. The information they got after two waterboardings apparently wasn’t sufficient.
Time and time again military and intelligence personnel contest that torture is not effective and does not get useful information. Torture gains only false confessions.
As Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, U.S. Navy (Ret.) said, “Here are four simple truths about torture for you to consider: It is un-American. It is ineffective. It is unnecessary. And it is damaging.”
Three things come to mind when I hear Cheney drone on and on about that “we didn’t torture” but our “enhanced interrogation techniques” got valuable information.
1) Listening to Cheney drone is torture. If I had to listen to him continually I would confess just about anything to make it stop.
2) He reminds me of Scott Peterson when he was on every T.V. show possible to convince everyone that he was innocent of the murder of his wife and unborn son….right up until the time he was found guilty.
3) The line Tom Cruise says about Jack Nicholson in a “Few Good Men":
“I think he wants to say it. He’s pissed off that he has to hide from this. He made a command decision and that’s the end of it. Shake him up and put him on the defensive and lead him right where he wants to go!”
Jack Nicholson (as Colonel Jessup): I would rather you just thank me and went on your way.
In his twisted mind Dick Cheney thinks he has saved the world and he is dying to get recognition. He wants us to thank him.
* I took literary license with this phrase. The actual quote is “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” – William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
“We don’t need no stinkin’ Stephen King, we’ve got Dick Cheney.”
Cheri Cabot, on Twitter, 5/14/09
Cheri Cabot, Politics Correspondent
Cheri’s column, “Personal About Politics,” published every week, will reflect on how the life of a 59 year-old, middle class woman is affected by politics, policy and the current state of the nation - a look at the personal aspects of politics. Her column is part of Gather Essentials.
Cheri is a freelance writer, living in Southern California. She has two grown children, one in Iowa and one a recent graduate of Columbia University, and is the proud grandmother of two. Cheri is also a purveyor of fine coffee, warm chatter and dry wit.
You can find all of Cheri’s columns on Personal About Politics at www.personalpolitcs.gather.com, The Obama Watch at theobamawatch.gather.com or her home page here, www.ccabot.gather.com.