Trying with all his might to make Attorney General Holder's torture investigation all about "destroying morale at the CIA" and disarming America of "techniques" that worked (read: threatening to rape prisoners' mothers), How-Far-Have-the-Mighty-Fallen Dick Cheney had to put on his tie again yesterday to work the talk shows, rather than relaxing like a proper ex-VP at fishing and accidentally shooting his friends in the face.
"My sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks," he said. "It was good policy. It was properly carried out. It worked very, very well."
The real question is why Rahm Emmanuel, who supposedly revels in the political battle, is allowing Cheney to savage his boss without a come-back, as if just because he didn't want investigations, he's going to stand back and let Obama take a beating which will stick in the minds of the misguided torture-equals-safety crowd.
It's not Obama's job to fire back. It's an investigation and it is ongoing. As the purely political pit-bull Emmanuel is under no such constraints.
He has plenty to work with. Like FBI Director Robert Mueller's unequivocal statement that
"asked whether any attacks had been disrupted because of intelligence obtained through the coercive methods. "I don't believe that has been the case," Mr. Mueller said. (A spokesman for Mr. Mueller, John Miller, said on Tuesday, "The quote is accurate.")"
The New York Times noted:
That assessment stands in sharp contrast to many assertions by Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who on Fox News on Sunday said of the methods: "They did work. They kept us safe for seven years."
Or the strenuous on-air assertion by who could be called the father of the modern CIA, former Director Bill Colby, who said torture is "ineffective."
Emanuel could be using any of these credible sources to defend Obama against Cheney's all-but-announcing that Obama is a traitor putting American lives at risk. But so far, no Rahm.
Willie Stark in Penn Warren's classic "All the King's Men" said in politics you are surrounded by the sons-of-bitches: yours and theirs. Letting Obama take these punches without hitting back weakens everything he stands for, healthcare, clean energy. I move someone nominate me to take Rahm's place. Let me in there. I'll respond to Cheney.
The corrupt old coot who stops not even at defending (through John Yoo) "crushing the testicles of children" to make their parents talk, or threatening to rape a terror suspect's mother, sees right where this is going if he doesn't manage to spin this as an attack on the brave men and women at the CIA: him. (That terror suspect whose mother was threatened, al-Nashiri, denies masterminding the bombing of the USS Cole. Now says his confession was obtained, you guessed it, under torture.)
Cheney's got a problem, because someone who actually did put on a
uniform and serve his country while Cheney chickened out of the Vietnam
War, General Anthony Taguba, puts Cheney and that other draft-dodger
right in his crosshairs in his definitive report on torture, "Broken Lives":
"the permissive environment created by implicit and explicit authorizations by senior US officials to "take the gloves off" encouraged forms of torture even beyond the draconian methods approved at various times between 2002 and 2004. In an environment of moral disengagement that countenances authorized techniques designed to humiliate and dehumanize detainees, it is not surprising that other forms of human cruelty such as physical and sexual assault were practiced. The fact that these unauthorized torture practices happened over extended periods of time at multiple US detention facilities suggests that a permissive command environment existed across theaters and at several levels in the chain-of-command."
Taguba asks whether a smoking gun can be traced straight to none other than William Haynes, General Counsel of the Department of Defense, who Taguba notes told the "admiral in charge of detainees in Afghanistan "to 'take the gloves off' and ask whatever he wanted" in the questioning of John Walker Lindh."
Cheney's got a problem because former CIA interrogators are coming
out to call him a liar, if those hired by the president to answer
political attacks would only use it. From Truthout.org, "US Interrogators Back Torture Probe":
Cloonan and Kleinman, who conducted interrogations of terror suspects after 9/11, disputed claims by former CIA Director Michael Hayden and Republican lawmakers that a criminal investigation would damage intelligence gathering and could lead to another 9/11-type attack on the United States.
In an interview, Cloonan and Kleinman said Hayden and the lawmakers were sounding "false alarms" in an effort to keep serious crimes from being exposed. "What this is really about is cover your ass," Cloonan said. "To suggest [intelligence gathering] will come to a screeching halt if there were an investigation is not accurate."
Jack Cloonan and Kleinman, insiders, tell us why present CIA personnel are strangely silent:
"Kleinman and Cloonan believe many of their colleagues in the intelligence community share their views. But many are unable to speak out publicly, Kleinman said, "because to do so is almost a career ender."
When will Americans see it's not about safety but about getting the
confessions they needed for public consumption? If Bush-Cheney cared
about our safety, they would have nabbed bin Laden at Tora Bora when they had him cornered. That's all you need to know to understand the heart of the Bush-Cheney administration.
ACTION: CALL THE WHITE HOUSE, SAY "FIRE BACK AT CHENEY ON TORTURE, DAMMIT!" 202-456-1111 FAX: 202-456-2461