Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On the question of so-called torture, we don’t do torture


In a gesture to Palestinian president Abbas, Israel has released 224 Palestinian prisoners. You know what else was a gesture to Abbas? Not releasing them last week, as planned, because it was pilgrimage season and some Palestinian leaders would not have been available to participate in welcoming ceremonies. So Abbas actually asked Israel to keep them in prison just a little while longer.

The Cheney Legacy Tour has finally begun, with the veep being interviewed by Rush Limbaugh and ABC. Sadly, he doesn’t believe his wonderful work in preventing fictitious terrorist plots coming to fruition is being recognized: “it’s hard to get credit for things that don’t happen.” How did he stop things from happening? Wiretapping, torture, Guantanamo, and the imperial presidency, all of which he considers to be so commonsensical that Obama is just bound to continue them: “I think the Obama administration is not likely to cede that authority [the increased powers of the presidency in general] back to the Congress.” “Guantanamo has been very, very valuable. And I think they’ll discover that trying to close it is a very hard proposition.” On torture, excuse me, “these programs”: “They shouldn’t just fall back on campaign rhetoric to make these very fundamental decisions about the safety of the nation.” By “falling back on campaign rhetoric,” he means, “keeping the campaign promises that got him elected.”

THE WATERBOARDING WAS ALWAYS PUNCTUAL: “I think Guantanamo has been very well run.”

SO-CALLED: “On the question of so-called torture, we don’t do torture. We never have.” And the so-called torture we don’t do was also very effective: “Did it produce the desired results? I think it did. ... I think the results speak for themselves.” He says of the so-called torture that we didn’t do of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, “I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn’t do. And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.” That quote is proof that torture is unnecessary: Cheney just admitted to war crimes in a pleasant interview, without a waterboard in sight.

Speaking of which, asked specifically if waterboarding was appropriate, he said, “I do.”

EVERYONE’S A CRITIC: He does not concur with Bush’s expressed regret about the failed intelligence (or, as some might phrase it, lies) about Iraq’s WMDs because “Intelligence – it’s not a science, it’s an art form in many respects and you don’t always get it right. ... we’ve had other successes and failures. I think the run-up to 9/11 where we missed that attack was a failure.” But you’re not sure?

GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY: “I think the policies we’ve recommended, the programs that we’ve undertaken have been good program. I think those have been sound decisions and if that’s what they mean by saying I’ve changed, I’m guilty.”

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