a has-been…

Posted on Sunday 30 August 2009

Cheney’s Sophistry on Torture Investigations
By: emptywheel
August 30, 2009

It will not surprise you to learn that PapaDick parsed wildly about what Obama has said about torture in Cheney’s defense of torture today. Five times today, Cheney claimed that Obama is "going back on his word," "his promise," that "his administration would not go back and look at or try to prosecute CIA personnel."

  • "President Obama made the announcement some weeks ago that this would not happen, that his administration would not go back and look at or try to prosecute CIA personnel"…
  • "We had the president of the United States, President Obama, tell us a few months ago there wouldn’t be any investigation like this, that there would not be any look back at CIA personnel who were carrying out the policies of the prior administration. Now they get a little heat from the left wing of the Democratic Party, and they’re reversing course on that"…
  • "The president is the chief law enforcement officer in the administration. He’s now saying, well, this isn’t anything that he’s got anything to do with. He’s up on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard and his attorney general is going back and doing something that the president said some months ago he wouldn’t do"…
  • "Instead, they’re out there now threatening to disbar the lawyers who gave us the legal opinions, threatening contrary to what the president originally said. They’re going to go out and investigate the CIA personnel who carried out those investigations. I just think it’s an outrageous political act that will do great damage long term to our capacity to be able to have people take on difficult jobs, make difficult decisions, without having to worry about what the next administration is going to say"…
  • "I think if you look at the Constitution, the president of the United States is the chief law enforcement officer in the land. The attorney general’s a statutory officer. He’s a member of the cabinet. The president’s the one who bears this responsibility. And for him to say, gee, I didn’t have anything to do with it, especially after he sat in the Oval Office and said this wouldn’t happen, then Holder decides he’s going to do it"…
  • "But my concern is that the damage that will be done by the President of the United States going back on his word, his promise about investigations of CIA personnel who have carried those policies, is seriously going to undermine the moral, if you will, of our folks out at the agency"…
Of course, as is Cheney’s sophistic habit, his description of what Obama said changes: from "looking at or trying to prosecute CIA personnel" to "looking at CIA personnel who were carrying out the policy of the prior administration" to "his promise about investigations of CIA personnel who have carried those policies." Here’s what Obama said in his official statement.
    In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.
That is, Obama assured those who tortured "relying in good faith upon legal advice" from DOJ that they would not be prosecuted.
  • Obama said nothing about those who ignored or overstepped that legal advice.
  • He said nothing about those who tortured before that legal advice.
  • He said nothing about those who gave the legal advice.
I am going to fight the impulse to retort what Cheney says. emptywheel said all that needs to be said. I will remark that Mr. Cheney is one of the nastiest characters we’ve seen for a very long time, and he seems to be getting nastier.  What I do want to say is that after I read this, I thought, Dick Cheney is getting scared. And he should be scared. He bullied us into a war; he outed a CIA Agent; he directed a secret torture program and a secret eavesdropping program by manipulating the DoJ; he consciously lied about all of it the whole time. His reign of intimidation may be coming to a close at last. I doubt that anyone on either side of the Aisle really cares what he thinks anymore, including his fellow Republicans. He’s just a has-been…
    August 31, 2009 | 9:33 AM

    Has been or bad penny…I wish to God someone could help him recognize that he has nothing further to contribute…thankfully, he didn’t get to open up another front in Persia.

    “….Cheney defended the use of harsh interrogation techniques and criticized the Obama administration’s decision to begin investigating the abuse of detainees held by the CIA. At one point, he also suggested that he wanted President Bush to authorize a military strike against Iran’s nuclear-weapons program before he left office. “I thought that negotiations could not possibly succeed unless the Iranians really believed we were prepared to use military force,” he said. “And to date, of course, they are still proceeding with their nuclear program and the matter has not yet been resolved.”

    If Dubya shut him down on this – well, thank YOU Mr. President. Wish you could have gotten your head together around the time you were making the VP mistake of your life but we’ll take any kind of crumb of moral rightness at this point!

    September 1, 2009 | 12:15 AM


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