Torture

Did Dick Cheney Really Approve CIA Torture?

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Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf notes that Dick Cheney has been contradicting himself when it comes to his defense of torture by the CIA. Speaking on Fox News to Bret Baier, for instance, Cheney noted that George W. Bush was fully in the loop not just about torture in general but in specifics, too:

"Not true," [Cheney] says [of claims Bush wasn't fully briefed]. "Read his book. He talks about it extensively in his memoirs. He was, in fact, an integral part of he program. He had to approve it before we went forward …. We did discuss the techniques. There was no effort on our part to keep him from that." Cheney goes on to declare that "the men and women of the CIA did exactly what we wanted to have them do in terms of taking on this program."

In the same interview, though, there's this:

Later in the interview, Baier notes a particularly depraved tactic. "At one point, this report describes interrogators pureeing food of one detainee and then serving it in his anus," he says, "something the agency called 'rectal rehydration.' I mean, is that torture?" (More to the point, did Bush and Cheney know about that? Is it "exactly" what they asked the CIA to do?) "I don't know anything about that specific instance," Cheney said. "I can't speak to that. I guess the question is, what are you prepared to do to get the truth about future attacks against the United States. Now, that was not one of the authorized or approved techniques. There were 12 of them, as I recall. They were all techniques we used in training on our own people."

Which leads Friedersdorf to argue:

He can't have it both ways. Either the CIA hid depraved, unapproved tactics, or Cheney was perfectly okay with subjecting prisoners to anal rape.

Read the whole piece here.

This is not a small thing. Whether or not the CIA was actually being forthright with the Bush administration (not to mention Congress) is a what a different vice president would call a "big fucking deal." The CIA has a history of going rogue, after all.

The Fox News interview took place on December 12. Yesterday, Cheney appeared on Meet The Press and defended the treatment of Gul Rahman. Here's how host Chuck Todd described Rahman's death:

He was chained to the wall of his cell, doused with water, froze to death in C.I.A. custody. And it turned out it was a case of mistaken identity.

Cheney grants the point that Rahman was not in fact in any way implicated in the 9/11 attacks and that fully 25 percent of the detainees subjected to torture were in fact innocent. To which Cheney replies:

I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective. And our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11 and it is to avoid another attack against the United States.

Friedersdorf is unsparing in his analysis of Cheney, who is unsparing in his refusal to acknowledge any sort of error, doubt, or ambivalence. Cheney tells Todd:

Well, torture, to me, Chuck, is an American citizen on a cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11. There's this notion that somehow there's moral equivalence between what the terrorists and what we do.

And that's absolutely not true.

To which Friedersdorf responds:

This is unusually naked nonsense.

Cheney is dodging questions by invoking the 9/11 dead. It would be as if O.J. Simpson said, "You think I murdered my wife and her friend? Murder is what Al Qaeda did to 3,000 New Yorkers on 9/11. The notion that there's a moral equivalence between my actions and what Al Qaeda did is an insult to the American people."

Read more here.

I've written of the ways in which both parties in Congress abdicated leadership and oversight that might have kept the United States from going down the path not simply to torture but making a defense of the torture and droning of innocent people. It's worth remembering too that the Bush administration's inability to acknowledge mistakes and missteps didn't just get us into Iraq in the first place, it contributed to the military failure of the whole operation that began the minute after major hostilities ended. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld may have been fun to watch at press conferences, but his quips couldn't hide the fact that he was a total failure in his post from any conceivable perspective.

NEXT: "Getting to 'No'" in The New York Times Magazine

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  1. Caption contest: “This is what my peepee does.” It explains a lot, right?

    1. “Talk to the Dick.”

    2. “W made me get rid of my LOVE and HATE knuckle tats.”

  2. He can’t have it both ways. Either the CIA hid depraved, unapproved tactics, or Cheney was perfectly okay with subjecting prisoners to anal rape.

    Or option three: Cheney thinks it can’t be anal rape if he orders someone to do it.

    1. He’s basically waving off those “un-approved” torture tactics.

      They keep saying it was all approved by DOJ and then ignore the deaths and excess done in their name – but that would require some kind of prosecution of the interrogators which nobody seems to want to do.

  3. I’d like to see Remmy do “Good Hydrations” to a certain Beach Boys song.

    1. “Barbara Ann”? “Little Deuce Coupe”? “Surfer Girl”?

      Which song???1!?

      1. Barbara Anal? Little Deuce Poop? Butt Surfer Girl?

        1. You ideas…interest…newsletter…

  4. I suggest removing the first comma in the tags at the bottom of the blog post, then acting upon the resultant statement.

    1. HAHA!

      YES!

      /Ed McMahon

      1. You are correct sir!

    2. Fascinating. So you endorse torture.

      I bet you believe there’s no moral equivalence.

  5. Does the Vice President actually have any authority to approve anything?

    I thought the VP’s role was to do ceremonial stuff and act as a trial-balloon mouthpiece for the administration.

    1. VP?

      As noted elsewhere – it’s a big, fuckin’ deal.

    2. Cheney was actually Executive President during the Bush presidency, not VP as some have suggested.

  6. I mean, is that torture?

    Sounds more like pointless sadistic cruelty, to me.

    But what do I know?

  7. Dear Dick,

    Go fuck yourself.

    yrs trly,

    Me

  8. Yeah, whatever. I love watching everyone get all frothed up over Dick Cheney and thinking he’s going to say or do anything besides what he says or does, or being all SHOCKED at what he says or does.

    And it is NOT “inconsistent” or “a dodge” to say “we knew about THIS, but I never heard about THAT”. Now, whether that’s true or a lie…well, we know where Friedersdorf is. Me? I dunno. Doesn’t matter. Cheney’s a horrid monster, regardless – all this frothing at the mouth from CM and others is just entertainment at this point.

    But inconsistent? No – one thing Cheney is is consistent. You ALWAYS know where’s he’s going to come out on these things. He’s a monster – but he’s a CONSISTENT monster, Friederdorf aside.

    1. I see Alamnian beat me to the punch.

      And it is NOT “inconsistent” or “a dodge” to say “we knew about THIS, but I never heard about THAT”.

      Exactly.

    2. Yeah, agreed. I find his straightforwardness kind of refreshing, I’m embarrassed to say.

    3. Yeah, I actually wouldn’d be surprised if Cheney had “Yeah, I Ordered those Fuckers Tortured, Kiss my Ass” on his tombstone.

  9. It’s worth remembering too that the Bush administration’s inability to acknowledge mistakes and missteps didn’t just get us into Iraq in the first place, it contributed to the military failure of the whole operation that began the minute after major hostilities ended.

    So – BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH. That’s helpful, Nick. When did you have shriek start ghost writing for you?

    1. it contributed to the military failure of the whole operation that began the minute after major hostilities ended.

      I’m a little confused by this. I seem to recall that Iraq was actually in decent shape, for awhile. What military failure are they referring to?

      Perhaps, the failure of the Iraqis and a subsequent administration to hold onto gains made?

      1. What? WHAT? I can’t hear you over the rushing sound of air inherent in mouthing

        BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSHHHHHHHHH!!!

        *waves arms*

      2. “We succeeded in throwing that rock up in the air. I don’t see how it coming back down after that has anything to do with us.”

        1. Iraq and the moral agents that populate it are not billiard balls.

          1. That doesn’t mean it takes a psychic to accurately predict the results of a foreign invasion/occupation.

            1. I see your retrospectoscope is in fine working order.

              1. Actually I opposed the invasion of Iraq back in aught three because the Middle East is a shitshow and foreign intervention never goes well.

                And I’m not the one trying to retroactively revise victory conditions.

          2. No, they are victims of a botched occupation by the United States.

            1. Agreed. We should have never tried to turn Iraq into anything other than what it wants to be.

              After a brief “occupation” spent executing jihadists and Baathists, we should have left.

              1. And it wouldn’t be any different now.

    2. It is highly important to remember this lesson of that administration. Bush’s gut caused more problems for the world than can be accounted for.

      1. Bullshit. Lesson may be for the US to quit fucking around outside our borders, but the for the world both Iraq and AFG were but a blip. I doubt the death rate in the world from war barely moved due to our wars.

        1. In a historical context yeah I guess you can say at least they didn’t needlessly start a world war?level event. Kudos!

          But they did manage to create more and worse terrorists than the ones they were claiming to be responding to, and destabilized the entire Middle East (not to mention the damage to the budget you guys usually place at prime importance).

          1. Yes, low bar on not killing too many people, so I don’t want to seem too calluous, but perspective is needed when you claim that Bush is the worst gift to the world evah, like most leftists since your ahistorical thinking is at work.

            Same on the budget – waste of 700B or so, but during the Bush years look up how much was wasted on the DOE rathole, welfare ratehole and other crap they can’t stop spending on.

            Also, sorry, terrorism has had plenty of recruits for decades. They don’t need Bush as an excuse to become head choppers and rapists.

            1. An integrated Iraqi government arguably would have prevented IS. Instead they deliberately marginalized Sunnis, and this is in a context of a civil war that wouldn’t have happened without the invasion.

              1. Arguable point and I paritially agree. But in alternative history I could also say an Syrian-like civil war was bound to happen in Saddam’s Iraq, leading to more death and destruction that the US Invasion and COIN caused.

                Bottom line, that whole region is a cesspool of hatred and I wished we’d stay out of it – I’d rather be damned if we don’t.

              2. So you’re saying that Saddam already had a utopian integrated government in place and the US screwed it all up.
                Got it!
                I suppose that he would have been immune to the Arab Spring and had he passed, the country would have had a peaceful power transition too.

  10. Cheney will never apologize for anything. I think that is what most people are looking for and it just isn’t going to happen.

  11. Unless either you or Friedersdorf can add something to this, I don’t see the contradiction. It’s entirely possible for George W. Bush to be in the loop on the techniques authorized AND for the CIA to engage on unauthorized techniques.

    This is not a very good “gotcha”, guys. It’s weak.

    1. You said it better and shorter. THIS ^^

  12. Maybe we should have a grand jury hear evidence against Cheney and if indicted force him to testify against himself and torture him if he invokes his 5th Amendment rights.

    1. You could simplify this and simply zap him with a drone.

      I mean, there’s current precedent…

      1. He needs his last five meals to be ground up and rectally pumped while being waterboarded. When he’s finally cracked and has completely lost any sense of awareness, that’s when we send in the drone – bam!

    2. Fascinating. So you endorse torture.

      I bet you believe there’s no moral equivalence.

  13. I guess the question is, what are you prepared to do to get the truth about future attacks against the United States.

    Please feel free to indulge your most depraved paranoid fantasies.
    I mean, if you torture everybody in the haystack, eventually you’ll get jabbed by the needle, right?

  14. I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.

    Yeah, there’s your ticket STRAIGHT to hell, Dick. I do have a problem, esp with torturing people who aren’t at all involved. But torturing anyone, even.

    But – “I don’t give a fuck if we break a couple eggs…” Yeaaaah – that’s where you go full Hitler and lose me.

    YEAH, I GODWINNED THE THREAD.

    You know who else invoked someone’s name….

    1. You know who else didn’t mind breaking a few eggs to make an omelet?

      1. Your mother?

        [ / obligatory ‘Mother’ response]

    2. Won’t somebody think of the eggs.

      1. It sounds more tragic is you use the term “unborn chickens”.

    3. Agreed. I’m not going to go so far as to say “torture” should never be employed but it’s such a stretch of the moral fabric that it should only be used when you absolutely know the guy strapped to the chair is involved AND he possesses actionable intelligence. But to employ these tactics (even under the euphemism “enhanced interrogation”) as a means to screen individuals or as an intel dragnet is deplorable. The fact that Cheney basically just says, “meh” is disgusting.

      1. Torture is not an effective interrogation technique. Real interrogators knew this long before Cheney proved it by getting no good intel through torture.

        1. Torture is not an effective interrogation technique.

          This is just meaningless pablum.

          Torture as the sole means of intelligence gathering? Yeah, ineffective, and often dangerously counterproductive.

          Torture against random disconnected individuals in order to solve or prevent crimes? Probably ineffective, although it could be a deterrent.

          Torturing an individual strongly suspected to have certain timely or valuable information for certain purposes? Depending on the circumstances, it can be quite effective.

          The child rapist who has hidden a kidnapped child somewhere? Yeah, he might divulge that information under torture.

          The would-be terrorist who is more craven or stupid than he is committed to the cause? Yeah, he might divulge important details about an operation or his organization under torture.

          A true believer, a complete sociopath, or an innocent bystander? No, no amount of torture is going to wring any useful information from them.

          Nuance, motherfucker, do you speak it?

            1. Nature, human, ca. 150000 BC – Present Day

              1. So just common sense you got from watching TV and movies instead of actual research on the subject.

                1. Your point-by-point refutation is where, exactly?

            2. To categorically say torture is not an effective interrogation technique” is overly simplistic and incorrect.

              EI isn’t used by itself. Interrogators question detainees repeatedly, record responses and cross reference them over a long period of time. EI can cause detainees to break down and give information they wouldn’t have otherwise. This information can be used in interrogations with other detainees. After time there emerges a pattern of events and the people involved in them.

              Even in your cloud of ignorant bliss, you must be aware of how police will use information gleaned from one suspect in a crime to motivate another to speak. This is really not much different except the stakes are much higher and the time spent is significant.

              I’ve read reports that these techniques were effective and I believe them.

      2. “… it’s such a stretch of the moral fabric that it should only be used when you absolutely know the guy strapped to the chair is involved AND he possesses actionable intelligence.”

        This is exactly why the torture question fails. Any evidence or intelligence that would lead to that kind of certainty about a persons involvement is likely to preclude the need to torture them for the intelligence. To look at it another way – all of the intelligence obtained from these prisoners had to be verified by other intelligence activities before it could be acted upon. The intelligence apparatus that can do this kind of verification is almost by definition capable of gathering the intelligence to begin with. This is supported by instances where intelligence gathered in the field was corroborated by torture after the fact.

        1. You make a good point but there are potentially instances where no other corroboration was present. There’s also the potential to have information obtained under EI corroborated by others who were not subject to EI or by hard evidence like travel records or surveillance. Then there’s the potential to come back to the subject you obtained information from and question them further, exclusive of EI.

          You seem to raise a contradictory argument. If a tortured detainee gives you information he didn’t know you had, and you know it’s true, it’s apparent that accurate information can be obtained by torture. The trick is to know when they’re lying and when they’re telling the truth.

          What exactly is moral fabric? Who weaves it? Why should anyone be subject to some arbitrary moral fabric? Would this same moral fabric say that gays shouldn’t marry or races shouldn’t intermingle? Would this same moral fabric forbid abortion or going outside without your head covered? Basing an argument saying something is a “stretch of the moral fabric” sounds rather subjective. Someone may well feel that their moral fabric requires they do something terrible to protect others from something far worse.

  15. Well, at lest he’s not wearing his Darth Cheney helmet while using the Halliburton hurricane machine to destroy the lives of poor black people.

    1. RELEASE THE LEVEL 5!!!!

      *cackles maniacally*

  16. I think the whole government,all the way down to local,crapped their pants and wanted to do something!Didn’t matter if you were a R or a D..It was ‘oh my god their trying to kill us all let’s do something and damn this is a great time to make us far more powerful,must do it now while the people are scared’

  17. Well, torture, to me, Chuck, is an American citizen on a cell phone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center in New York City on 9/11. There’s this notion that somehow there’s moral equivalence between what the terrorists and what we do.

    Murdering people at a fucking wedding, merely because somebody we deem to be a bad guy might show up, is what, then?

    1. Umm, did Cheney support that or are you conflating him with the current gang of idiots?

      You know, the ones who zap American citizens and their kids from the sky?

      1. Although the Bush administration bombed/shot missiles into weddings and other social gatherings, the Obama administration has done so many more times.

  18. Fesendorf is as usual a fucking moron. Cheney isn’t being unclear at all. Look at the statement.

    Later in the interview, Baier notes a particularly depraved tactic. “At one point, this report describes interrogators pureeing food of one detainee and then serving it in his anus,” he says, “something the agency called ‘rectal rehydration.’ I mean, is that torture?” (More to the point, did Bush and Cheney know about that? Is it “exactly” what they asked the CIA to do?) “I don’t know anything about that specific instance,” Cheney said. “I can’t speak to that. I guess the question is, what are you prepared to do to get the truth about future attacks against the United States.

    Cheney isn’t saying he didn’t know about the techniques. He is saying he can’t remember this particular incident, which is perfectly understandable. I doubt the CIA briefed Cheney on every interrogation or that Cheney would remember every one today even if they did. All Cheney is saying is “I don’t remember this”.

    1. Cheney goes on…

      “I can’t speak to that. I guess the question is, what are you prepared to do to get the truth about future attacks against the United States. Now, that was not one of the authorized or approved techniques. There were 12 of them, as I recall. They were all techniques we used in training on our own people.”

      What Cheney is saying is that though that wasn’t one of the “12 Techniques”, it wasn’t something he had a problem with or feels today was something that was not authorized. You can rightfully hate Cheney for approving of such techniques. But Fesendorf’s point that Cheney is contradicting himself or trying to have it both ways is just stupid and counter to the Cheney statements in Fesendorf’s own article.

      Whatever you think about torture, Fesendorf is a fucking moron whose opinion about the subject, and pretty much every other subject, is as useless as tits on a boar.

      1. I am comfortable in saying that what the Administration did was wrong AND that Fridersdorf is generally useless, yes. He’s an outrage muppet and faked being a conservative to get more Concern Troll cred.

      2. Cheney said that anal rape wasn’t one of the approved tactics but defended its use nonetheless. Granted, parsing which forms of torture were approved is kind of beside the point, but Cheney is not the real victim here.

        1. Who said he was?

          I bet Khan Academy could help you with your reading and comprehension fundamentals.

          1. I doubt Khan could help, ‘Tony’ is beyond hope.

          2. John did. John decided to use his time defending Dick Cheney against a charge of lying, in the context of crimes so much worse as to make the charge itself rather frivolous.

            1. You can rightfully hate Cheney for approving of such techniques.

              Which part of that sentence do you not understand Tony? At this point you have stopped reading the blog and just follow the voices in your head.

              You know there are meds for that. Shreek won’t take his but they do help. You should look into it.

        2. And those techniques continued under Obama. And both Obama and Bill Clinton practiced rendition where prisoners were sent to countries specifically so those countries could torture them.

          Go troll on some other thread Tony. Claiming that any of the last three administrations have been appreciably different on this issue is too stupid even for someone of your remarkable stupidity to take on.

          1. Yeah, you can be logically consistent in claiming that the last three administrations are equivalently culpable, AND that Fridersdorf should not be writing for a high school paper.

          2. Why do you even bother? History is not going to vindicate these people. You are taking the losing side. Just stop for Christ’s sake, it’s embarrassing. There is an appreciable difference in how the last three administrations employed torture. Not that this is the only appreciable way in which the Bush admin. fucked everything up in morally and intellectually criminal ways beyond reckoning.

            1. You are right Tony, history is probably going to be very harsh towards Clinton, Bush, and Obama on this issue.

              I am not bothered by that. You, however, since your entire sense of personal identity is based on your support for Obama, are probably disturbed by that.

              No one made you support Obama and then defend him as he made the Democratic Party the Party of wire tapping, torture and Wall Street payoffs. If you don’t like that legacy, too bad. It is yours and you own it.

              Why don’t you just come to terms with it and start defending torture and NSA wiretapping. That would seem to be an easier transition for you than admitting the truth about Obama, something that you clearly are psychologically incapable of doing.

              Every day Tony, you become a little more of a sad and pathetic figure. If you were not so morally awful, I wouldn’t take so much pleasure in watching it.

              1. Reasonable people can disagree, but I think this is more about your identity being informed by an intense propaganda-fueled dislike of the current president. I don’t think he’s a perfect figure–but given your apologetics for his incompetent and disastrous predecessors, you really have no fucking room to criticize him for anything.

                And when I say you’re defending the Bushies, I mean you’re explicitly invoking false moral equivalencies in order to absolve them–while hoping no one notices you’re still criticizing Obama for the things you’re absolving Bush for.

                1. I don’t think he’s a perfect figure

                  That is only because you are a racist Tony. If you could handle a black President, you would be thanking him.

                  I mean you’re explicitly invoking false moral equivalencies in order to absolve them–

                  Yes Tony, we know, it is different when Obama tortures and drone strikes people and engages in illegal wars.

                  I have to admit, the utter and complete meltdown of the Obama era has made you into a first class comedy act. You have become a wildly amusing troll lately.

            2. History is absolutely going to vindicate these people. If you had announced on September 11 that there would never again be another major terrorist attack on american soil people would have thought you were insane. But there wasn’t and once the historians are allowed to analyze the issue outside of “deeper mr president” hacks like Tony’s need to change the subject to the Bush administration history will very much vindicate the aggressice approach.

              1. There is no evidence either torture or the Iraq occupation accomplished anything but wrecking our country’s global reputation for a generation or more.

                1. There is no evidence either torture or the Iraq occupation accomplished anything but wrecking our country’s global reputation for a generation or more.

                  Tony that is not being fair to Obama. I think the country is strong enough that the damage Obama has done can be repaired in less than a generation.

                  Why are you so hard on Obama? Are you angry he cost the Democrats the Presidency? Or can you just not handle a black man being President?

                  1. Was the failure of the Bush administration so traumatic that you’re expressing some kind of reaction formation? Bush started the war and implemented the torture program. I’m sorry that you can’t handle this, but you’re being a child now.

              2. Correlation and causality – how do those work?

                1. Haha you are like a kid who just discovered sarcasm. Please try harder. Causation and correlation what a cop out argument.

                  1. Causation and correlation what a cop out argument.

                    Indeed, which is why you should not have presented the classic fallacy “these two events are correlated, thus one of them caused the other” as your sole argument. If you set yourself up to be refuted by such a simple counterargument, you have no one to blame but yourself.

              3. “History is absolutely going to vindicate these people.”

                I disagree, Sam. If anything I think that mendacious reprobates are going to “vindicate” them (and likely President Obama and his fellows too).

      3. Fesendorf

        Is he a German golfer – maybe Dorf’s relative or something?

        1. Whatever his name is. He is worthless.

  19. Not only did Cheney torture people, he then forced Obama to continue doing the same.

    /Shreek

    1. You are just defending Cheney. Tony wants to know why you can’t just give up.

      1. What is this Obama torture policy everyone refers to but doesn’t explain? Banning torture was almost literally the first thing he did in office.

        1. Torture continued under Obama. He never banned it. And he continues it to this day. The only difference is that under Obama we farm it out to other countries a bit more via rendition.

          I know you are profoundly stupid and going through a rough emotional time after the midterms Tony. But the rest of us are not and understand that nothing changed under Obama other than maybe the identities of the actual torturers.

          1. Even if we are stupidly relying on foreigners to use ineffective and illegal interrogation techniques, you have to admit it’s an improvement over having our guys do it under official policy. You don’t really care thought–you just want to employ whatever bullshit rhetoric you can in order not to admit that Obama is a better president than Bush, something any child can see.

            1. Why would I “have to admit” that’s better? Because no it fucking is not.

              1. In many ways it is worse, because it is so dishonest. Love or hate Cheney but at least he makes an honest case for his actions. That puts him above Obama or Clinton, both of whom did the exact thing, but lack the integrity to admit it and defend their actions or repudiate them.

                1. You’ve got to be kidding me. Disastrous incompetence is OK as long as you are stubborn about it in the face of evidence!

                  1. Considering the reams of evidence, I don’t see how dismissing the Obama administration’s incompetence is anywhere remotely near OK.

          2. “Torture continued under Obama. He never banned it. And he continues it to this day.”

            John, do you have a link or a good source to suggest or shall I not be lazy and look for myself?

            1. Obama wrote a memo forbidding the use of “some” of the techniques that were approved in the 2001 MON memo.

              He didn’t make the banned acts ‘illegal’, as there was no new finding on their legal status – simply a diktat that as policy, ‘some’ of the enhanced measures were now disapproved.

              IOW, any of the things called torture (which are now still technically Legal – and which ALSO can be used in overseas locations even under Obama’s ban) can with the stroke of a pen be renewed, with zero consequence.

              There is some clarification here, and here

              The point is that he didn’t undo the authorizations and implement a new legal regime that explicitly made ‘torture’ a crime – he simply pressed ‘pause’ on the most sensational methods. he did absolutely nothing about things like Rendition, or overseas Military prisons.

              1. Thank you for the sources. I agree with your assessment.

                It seems we’re one horrifying attack away from the government returning to its nefarious activities and abusing even more of our liberties.

  20. “I guess the question is, what are you prepared to do to get the truth about future attacks against the United States.”

    I guess Dick Cheney was prepared to inspire future attacks to get the truth about future attacks against the United States.

    1. Except we know now that terrorist attacks are in reality inspired by bad YouTube videos. It’s almost like leftist want to blame terrorism on everything but left wing fecklessness in the face of american enemies.

    2. ” inspire future attacks “

      What ‘inspired’ the first ones?

      ahh, the chicken-egg of ‘terror motivation’.

      I imagine ‘Terrorists’ for some people are like the kid in the classic anti-drug advertisement:

      “You! I learned it by watching YOU Dad.”

      I can’t wait until Al Qaeda releases their tribute song to Dick Cheney

      1. I didn’t expect that from you GILMORE. I expected the acerbic wit, just not that viewpoint.

        It’s been about an hour since you posted and I’m surprised no one has countered with “Hates Freedomz” (TM).

        1. You guys all hate freedom.

          But seriously, do you really think Islamic nutbags in London need the US as an excuse to kill, maim and rape their way to their carnal house on a hill?

          If it wasn’t Bush/Cheney torture it will be Jew’s for breathing, Assad, Mubarak, or Beyonce in a burkha.

        2. Well, thank you… i think?

          FWIW my point was that there seems to be a rhetorical mode where people assume ‘terrorists’ are beings with zero actual self-motivation and no independent ideas, and exist like on a purely ‘reactive’ plane… like an natural element….and that everything they do is simply “Reaction” to some Western Provocation of some kind (whether identified or not);

          i.e. – The only independent actor with ‘choice’ in this framework is the West – whereas, the islamic terrorist is just ‘responding’ to these perceived attacks/insults, etc. Sans our ‘provocation’, naturally they’d be off reading their Korans and beating their wives in peace.

          The idea that we “make terrorists” by fighting back against them is riddled with this kind of magical thinking. As noted = Chicken/egg? If there is a moral locus of where the ‘first blow’ landed, whom is to blame?

          People tend to blame the West because its safer than actually calling crazy murderous jihadists what they are to their face.

          is this an apologia for violating our ban against Torture? No. I’ve clarified before that i think that’s bad policy. I do not think it erases some fictitious ‘moral authority’ or ‘creates terrorists’, however.

          1. Great points from Gilmore.

            Me, I’m the torture apologist. At least for water boarding, belly slaps, sleep deprivation, and the wall punch. Nothing more than you get in SERE and many other mil schools.

          2. I partly agree with points you’ve made here GILMORE (“zero actual self-motivation and no independent ideas”).
            There are individuals and groups who mean us harm for reasons wholly their own, independent of our government’s activities.

            I think where we strongly disagree is the extent to which some of our enemies are motivated by past and current actions performed by our government. I’m not good with links on Reason, but I will refer you to Professor Chalmers, Grant Wardlaw, Michael Scheuer, and also the U.S. officials who asserted that Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay were excellent recruiting tools for our enemies.

            At this point however, I think the “chicken and egg” co-exist/are self-perpetuating. I don’t foresee an end in our lifetimes.

            1. ” Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay were excellent recruiting tools for our enemies.”

              Sure.

              FWIW = Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi prisons were themselves wonderful recruiting stations for jihadists long before we ever got in on the act.

              These claims of lost ‘moral authority’ seem to overlook the fact that the specific people we’re dealing with got over their own moral qualms about torture, dismemberment, mass murder, shooting women in public theaters, etc. a long, long time ago.

              The reality is that the only perception people care about is how they perceive themselves. All this moaning about our ‘global standing’ etc. is a bunch of narcissistic horseshit

              I went on at length in a previous thread about how the people who scream “moral” the loudest also seem to always add, “and it (torture) Doesn’t Work Either!”

              …as though they feel uncomfortable relying entirely on a moral argument if it were shown that in fact, ‘torture worked’. Deep down, they’re actually utilitarians first. But they prefer to have a self-image as ‘moral beings’, so will denounce America louder than any foreigner in an attempt to regain their own esteem.

              1. What’s wrong with that? If torture were a useful interrogation method, then the debate would be about whether it is worth it ethically and in terms of PR (whether it’s legal is not really a question until international human rights law changes).

                But it’s not. It’s a psychotic fantasy of men who have thought geopolitics was a TV show or video game since they were skulking around the Nixon administration and who employed people not trained in real interrogation to interrogate these prisoners.

                1. “Tony|12.15.14 @ 3:50PM|#

                  What’s wrong with that?”

                  Leave it to Tony to predictably fail to understand what ‘principles’ actually are, even in the abstract.

                  1. You said above that torture is “bad policy” and shouldn’t be weighed morally. You’re making an even more utilitarian case than I am.

                    We’re all utilitarians deep down. You think there is some useful purpose for “principles” (even if that purpose is declaring some of your policy preferences beyond debate so you don’t have to defend them on their merits).

                2. “But it’s not.”

                  Is too.

              2. “Egyptian, Jordanian, Syrian, and Iraqi prisons were themselves wonderful recruiting stations for jihadists long before we ever got in on the act.”

                I agree – and I think you and I may also agree that a prisoner’s loved ones might harbor a special kind of hatred for the regimes which tortured their relative(s).

                One morning in late 2001 thousands of our countrypersons were murdered. It seems to me that these despicable acts motivated a lot of individuals to join the military and millions more to condone torture and willingly give up many of their own freedoms. The desire for justice and/or revenge is a powerful motivator and can also warp our perspective. I suggest that this is true regardless of our nationality, code of laws, ‘moral’ self-image, et cetera.

                “The reality is that the only perception people care about is how they perceive themselves.”
                – I agree to a large extent, and would point out that for many individuals it seems that how others perceive them is important too.

                “All this moaning about our ‘global standing’ etc. is a bunch of narcissistic horseshit.”
                – For many of us I would agree that this is true. However, we live in a nation whose politicians/most vocal patriots tout our nation’s greatness, and for them reputation (for lack of a better word) is important. Perhaps that’s part of what you’re trying to get across.

                1. “I went on at length in a previous thread about how the people who scream ‘moral’ the loudest also seem to always add, ‘and it (torture) Doesn’t Work Either!
                  …as though they feel uncomfortable relying entirely on a moral argument if it were shown that in fact, ‘torture worked’. Deep down, they’re actually utilitarians first.”

                  I agree generally but would add that early on when rebuking torture I and many others were constantly told that torturing captives kept us safe/prevented further attacks. The legal/moral element wasn’t important to the individuals I and others were arguing/debating with. As a result a lot of individuals who were against torture simply skipped the legal/moral elements and went directly to the claims of effectiveness.

                  “… specific people we’re dealing with got over their own moral qualms….”

                  True – but let us not trample our own laws when deciding how best to respond to the threat they pose.

                  Sadly I cannot continue tonight, but I appreciate the intelligent and civil discussion, GILMORE. Have a good night.

  21. What is this Obama torture policy everyone refers to but doesn’t explain? Banning torture was almost literally the first thing he did in office.

    Uh huh. Right after he legalized marijuana, but before he freed the gays.

    1. I thought he closed Gitmo first. Or was it healing the planet?

  22. Cameron . I see what you mean… Christina `s blog is astonishing, on sunday I bought a brand new Lexus LS400 since I been bringin in $5235 recently and even more than $10k lass month . without a doubt it is the easiest work I have ever had . I began this 10-months ago and almost immediately started bringin in minimum $75 p/h .
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    1. Fuck off, spamming cunt.

  23. Cameron . I see what you mean… Christina `s blog is astonishing, on sunday I bought a brand new Lexus LS400 since I been bringin in $5235 recently and even more than $10k lass month . without a doubt it is the easiest work I have ever had . I began this 10-months ago and almost immediately started bringin in minimum $75 p/h .
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    1. Fuck off, spamming cunt.

  24. torture never took place – stop using that silly word

    1. “torture never took place – stop using that silly word”

      Never?

      1. Only in respect to grammar.

  25. Having watched, or read the transcripts of most of the interviews on this subject by VP Cheney, I fail to see where he’s been defending “torture”, what he has been defending are the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques that were devised by the Bush/Cheney Administration, and approved by the relevant sections of the Department of Justice.
    “Torture” is against the law and what constitutes “torture” is spelled out in the law; and two investigations of the CIA – by the Bush DoJ, and by the Obama DoJ, have not found any indictable offenses.
    So, who’s not being completely above board here?

    1. Any reasonable person should agree that these things were torture. The fact that you don’t, or are willing to leave that decision up to lawyers, is a problem.

      1. So, you believe the government that makes our laws is composed of reasonable people?

  26. Lying about his role in 9/11 is an even greater insult to the American people.

    1. Oh, god, the Truthertard arrives in the thread.

  27. Dick Cheney is the front line defender of the 9/11 lie. Skyscrapers can just ‘collapse’ and leave a smoking hole at Ground Zero. I’ve used dynamite and that is what it takes to demo a steel highrise. Dynamite wasn’t used on 9/11. Dynamite would have blown out every window in Manhattan and left gigantic debris piles. All the steel would have been accounted for as dynamite doesn’t get hot enough to melt steel. What we have on video, in my professional view, is the steel of the skyscrapers did not just melt, but ionized. Not unlike fault current in a high energy circuit where the metal explodes into a gas, the pyroclastic clouds begin roaring out of the airplane holes and the entire skyscraper erupts and is obliterated in seconds. The incendiary used on 9/11 was far more high tech than dynamite. Who has access to secret advancements in destructive technology?

  28. HHhhhhhhhwwwwwooOOOOOOOoooooaaahhhhhhhh!!!! (yawn).

  29. Friedersdorf is correct: “He can’t have it both ways. Either the CIA hid depraved, unapproved tactics, or Cheney was perfectly okay with subjecting prisoners to anal rape.” My conclusion: only a fool would believe Bush, Cheney, et al. did not know about everything that was going on.

  30. Everywhere around me I see a population able to vote for parties absolutely committed to the initiation of force yet baffled and surprised that those same parties’ politicians would stoop to lying in addition to robbery. What is it about folks who believe it is good, sacred, socially useful to rob their neighbors at gunpoint, but look down their noses at liars who get caught perjuring, twisting, dissembling, forging, omitting, eliding and tampering with evidence? It is like being a test subject in a Solomon Asch experiment to measure social pressure.

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