Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rebutting Cheney

Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, rebuts Dick and Liz Cheney’s lies with a column that appeared in yesterday’s Washington Note. It is an absolute must-read.

Some highlights:
[W]hen Cheney claims that if President Obama stops "the Cheney method of interrogation and torture", the nation will be in danger, he is perverting the facts once again. But in a very ironic way.

My investigations have revealed to me--vividly and clearly--that once the Abu Ghraib photographs were made public in the Spring of 2004, the CIA, its contractors, and everyone else involved in administering "the Cheney methods of interrogation", simply shut down. Nada. Nothing. No torture or harsh techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator. Period. People were too frightened by what might happen to them if they continued.

What I am saying is that no torture or harsh interrogation techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator for the entire second term of Cheney-Bush, 2005-2009. So, if we are to believe the protestations of Dick Cheney, that Obama's having shut down the "Cheney interrogation methods" will endanger the nation, what are we to say to Dick Cheney for having endangered the nation for the last four years of his vice presidency?

Excellent point and one which all of the Cheney lies cannot ignore. Plus, if torture is so good at preventing attacks on the homeland, what kept attacks at bay from 2005-2009? (And let me point out, there have been plenty of terrorist attacks over the past few years. Just not here at home.)

There’s more:

Likewise, what I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002--well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion--its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa'ida.

This is really the nut of the matter. Cheney and his daughter Liz are doing their damnedest to keep daddy and his friends out of jail.

Meanwhile, in today’s Wall Street Journal Karl Rove does some finger-pointing of his own:

Someone important appears not to be telling the truth about her knowledge of the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs). That someone is Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The political persecution of Bush administration officials she has been pushing may now ensnare her.

Here's what we know. On Sept. 4, 2002, less than a year after 9/11, the CIA briefed Rep. Porter Goss, then House Intelligence Committee chairman, and Mrs. Pelosi, then the committee's ranking Democrat, on EITs including waterboarding. They were the first members of Congress to be informed.

”EIT’s,” for those of you who haven’t kept up, is the polite way former Bush Administration officials refer to torture.

Of course, the name “Nancy Pelosi” is a Republican dog-whistle for “scary-lesbo-San Francisco-liberal-socialist-vagina.” Somehow this whole mess is supposed to be Nancy Pelosi’s fault but someone needs to remind Karl Rove which party was in power in 2002, and it wasn’t the Democrats. Someone is trying to insinuate that a member of the House Intelligence Committee from the minority party, who was not even House Minority Leader at the time (that was Dick Gephardt) would somehow be able to exert some kind of influence over the Republican Party and its rush to war at a time when we were being told to run out and buy duct tape and plastic sheeting because ZOMG WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!11!!1!!1!

Right. So torture was perfectly OK and if it wasn't, well, it's all Nancy Pelosi's fault. Nice try, buddy.

This is, of course, not even taking into account Pelosi’s own assertions that the CIA misled Congress, which was corroborated by former Sen. Bob Graham.

We still have a lot to pick apart here, but the basic argument--torture works, it's legal, it’s OK if it’s used to protect Americans, Jack Bauer is real and oh yeah, we didn’t torture anyway--that argument seems to have been lost. And let's not get distracted by Karl Rove's "ooh look, shiny sparkly Pelosi thing over there!" ploy.

It's time to start some serious investigations into criminal activity here.