Dick Cheney, in the traditional Republican belief that because he is Dick Cheney and a Republican, thinks that he is immune to the restraints of law and civilization, and in the further traditional Republican belief that whatever he wants to do is justified because he wants to do it and if it gets him what he wants, that's even better. Even if it doesn't get him what he wants, in the even further traditional Republican belief that Republicans are the ultimate, the supreme product of humanity and can do no wrong, he can only interpret it as being good for Republicans, no matter what it is, as it always is for Republicans.
An illustration of that analysis of Cheney is the Iraq invasion, a complete catastrophe, a comparable act for which the leaders of Nazi Germany with the same mindset as Cheney, were hung for doing precisely what Cheney brags about doing.
In support and defense of that narcissistic mindset comes Richard Cohen in an article in the Washington Post, What if Cheney's Right? There are so many things about the article that shout and beg for ridicule that it's hard to find a place to start. The only thing we can do with it is take it apart, re-assemble it, lubricate it and stick it up both their asses.
The premise of the title. Well, what if the moon is made of green cheese? Or, what if Richard Cohen is an alien from another galaxy? Both are highly unlikely, the latter less so than the former. We can't counter with. what if Cheney is wrong? Because he is so provably, indisputably, indubitably wrong. There's no what if about it.
In the first paragraph, Cohen states unequivocally that he thinks that everything Cheney says is a lie. Then he goes on to wonder whether what he says is now the truth, that torture works. Cohen doesn't see a contradiction there.
Of course, torture works. If you set out to torture someone, and you torture them, they end up being tortured. As George Bush said with smug satisfaction after he tortured Iraq into chaos, mission accomplished. Nothing further needed. Cheney's rationale for torture is that it works as torture, and furthermore, is effective. He's here referring to it being effective in getting information. Torture works in the same way that bank robbery works, If you rob a bank and get away with a whole bunch of money, the robbery was effective. What Cheney can't see is that, like bank robbery, torture is illegal, no matter how effective it is.
Cohen says in the article that torture is a moral abomination. Of course it is, that's why it's illegal. As you'll see, nowhere in the article does he mention the most glaringly obvious thing about torture, that it's illegal. He never once mentions that one little niggling fact.
Cohen says that Cheney is adamant that the measures that are now deemed illegal did work. Richard, they are not now "deemed" illegal, they are in fact illegal and were at the time Cheney approved of them.
Cohen says that Cheney poses a hard, hard question: Is it more immoral to torture than it is to fail to prevent the deaths of thousands? This is a question based on a false premise, that torture will save the deaths of thousands. The thousands who died on 9/11 on the watch of the leader of the Republicans, George Bush, could have been saved had Bush and his Republicans not been totally absorbed with converting the US government to an all Republican, all the time, forever Republican regime, instead of just listening and taking some kind of action, any kind of action, when he was directly told that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike the US with airplanes flying into buildings. And, that is exactly what happened with absolutely no attempt by the Republican administration to do anything to prevent it. Nothing. Not anything. Not even torture.
In the article, Cheney says he had memos in his files that prove that the torture worked, and has asked that they be released. Here's a guy who is so delusional about efficacy supplanting illegality that he is unaware that proving effectiveness also proves his illegal acts in condoning torture.
Referring to the effectiveness of torture, Cohen says, "Inescapably, it is about life and death - not ideology." And, "If Cheney is right, then let the debate begin. What to do about enhanced interrogation methods? Should they be banned across the board, always and forever? Can we talk about what is and not just what ought to be?"
Well, Richard, to answer your statements and questions, it is not about life and death, or ideology, it is about what is against the law. And, what to do about torture has already been decided, it is against the law. And, they do not need to be banned across the board, always and forever, they already have been. And, there's no point in talking about what is or ought to be. What is, is that torture is against the law. Have you finally got that, Richard? I'll repeat that for you, torture is against the law.
Cohen says that in political terms, Cheney has been a free man ever since he eschewed any presidential ambitions. Cheney is one of the most un-free men there can be. He is captive to his delusional, hard-right, do anything he wants ideology, and is unable to see from his self-imposed prison of ideology the constitutional country, governed and made livable by laws developed over centuries of civilization. He is not a part of a civilized country that still, even after his and Bush's depredations on it, is still the best hope for constitutional government to survive.
Cohen says that, "The run-up to the disastrous Iraq war was notable for its smothering lack of debate. That served us poorly then and it would serve us poorly now if people who know something about the utility, not to mention the morality, of enhanced interrogation techniques keep their mouths shut."
Richard, the run-up to the disastrous Iraq war was not in need of debate. Bush's invasion of Iraq was unconstitutional. Only congress can declare war. Bush's declaration of war was illegal.
And, Richard, people such as Dick Cheney, who you say claim to know something about the utility, not to mention the morality of torture, are the last ones we need to hear from. Who we need to hear from are people who know something about the law, the law that says that torture is against the law. Again, the utility of it has nothing to do with it being illegal.