Joy-Ann Reid

Joy-Ann Reid
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Journalist and talk radio personality in South Florida. Also blogging daily at reidreport.com

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MAY 21, 2009 3:37PM

What Dick Cheney didn't say

Rate: 35 Flag

When Dick Cheney mounted his full-throated defense of the previous administration's national security state at the curiously named American Enterprise Institute this afternoon, he made his core argument (that the Bush-Cheney torture and surveillance programs should be praised by a grateful nation, not shunned and despised by phony moralists who don't seem to mind when Jack Bauer does it...) based on a set of facts that are no longer operative. [Illustration at left by Rex Lameray]

Cheney continued to make the case that he ... I mean President Bush ... did what had to be done after 9/11 in order to thwart another -- imminent -- attack on America. They had to waterboard the bad guys you see -- and make no mistake, these weren't balerinas they were near-drowning -- because no one at the time knew when or where the next attack was coming. And it was coming. It's always coming... a few hundred turns on the waterboard and a mock burial or two later, the attack never came. See how well that worked?

The problem is: we now have at least a strong circumstantial case suggesting that the administration escalated the waterboarding in 2002 and 2003, long after the imminence of 9/11 have passed them by, but conveniently, right around the time they were building the case for invading Iraq. They waterboarded Abu Zubaydah 83 times in 30 days in August of 2002, the same month Bush's chief of staff, Andrew Card, formed White House Iraq Group to try and "market" the war. They waterboarded Khalid Sheik Muhammad 183 times in March 2003, the same month we invaded Iraq. And we learned on May 13 from former NBC News investigative producer Bob Windrem (who gave the bombshell story to The Daily Beast since I'm presuming the New York Times and Washingto Post couldn't be bothered...) that they even tried to get the Iraq Survey Group to waterboard an Iraqi general in April 2003 -- not to thwart an "imminent" attack, but in order to produce false confessions to justify the invasion of Iraq.

But Dick Cheney didn't mention that today, nor did he bother to defend it. He didn't have to. The media has so thoroughly set aside the stunning revelations in the previous paragraph, that Cheney doesn't even feel the need to bring it up. He is free to continue arguing his case on pre-May 13 thinking, and he knows he'll get away with it.

After all, who's going to stop him ... the "media?" The vast majority of the Washington press corps has long since lost interest in the subject of how, and why, we got into Iraq. And as NBC's Mark Murray all-but admitted today, the mainstream press spends more time helping the GOP out with their media strategy than rethinking their credulous assent on the Iraq war. ... The Obama administration? They're all about "moving forward." ... Congress? Don't make me laugh. They're too scared of the vanishing right's mysterious power to cow them on national security issues even to vote for the money to close Guantanamo, and they can't even build up the spinal fluid to move forward on a truth commission. The American people??? I'm sure Dick, who was too scared to fight in Vietnam but is clearly not afraid of YOU, would simply say, "good luck with that."

Related: The media's collective yawn over torture for war

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Joy-Ann. Excellent post. There seems to be a lot of "selective" memory loss with regard to the mainstream media and the Iraqi Invasion.
Please do not be fooled by my avatar. If you have a moment to spare, I recently posted some political satire entitled, "Channeling Your Inner Cheney" which you might enjoy. It has already received seven positive ratings, but an 8th would make it an even #.
Jo-Ann. Please pardon my mistake. The post, "Channeling Your Inner Cheney" is located on the blog of "ClosureIsaMyth".
Sorry for the mixup, I hope you still decide to check it out.
Sad, just sad, how this tinpot little man manages to con so many people.
Great post! How do we get some movement on this issue? It's inconceivable to me that we can let this go.

BTW, I got a warning when I tried to check out your other blog:

Reported Attack Site!

This web site at blog.reidreport.com has been reported as an attack site and has been blocked based on your security preferences.
Attack sites try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system.

Some attack sites intentionally distribute harmful software, but many are compromised without the knowledge or permission of their owners.
never thought i'd say this, but i hate dick.
Joy Ann I appreciate your thoughtfulness in providing the links to more detailed articles, and will delve into them at length!

I am astounded at the "media" for the bias in giving Cheney so much attention, letting Cheney get the last word, letting Cheney speak uninterrupted by those pesky questions....

Excellent post. I hope that you will write more about this.
Congress is what mystifies me. Seemingly ordinary people get elected all across the country. Then they get to Washington where the Republicans all turn into ventriloquist dummies and the Democrats become shivering lapdogs,
Cheney just makes me sick. Thanks for the post.
I think the big dick has been so busy studying his convoluted notes that he missed michael steele's injunction that:

"" The era of Republican navel gazing is over. "
Thanks all, and I will check out the "inner Cheney" -- hopefully it won't give me nightmares! and also, thanks for the heads up on the Google crawl problem. I use a Mac and those warnings don't show up for me. I have no idea why anyone would bother to hack my little blog... until further evidence emerges, I'm blaming the previous administration.
Nice post. See also my "Mission Truly Accomplished."
If I understand your article correctly, your complaint about Cheney's remarks today is that he didn't defend a negative: specifically, your suspicion, devoid of any factual evidence, that because enhanced interrogation was conducted "long after the imminence of 9/11 have [sic] passed them [the administration] by, but conveniently, right around the time they were building the case for invading Iraq." This is innuendo of the “when did you stop beating your wife” variety, and I’m not sure what exactly you expected Cheney to say to respond to such a hypothetical he wouldn't agree with in the first place.

If the timing is a concern, when exactly was advanced interrogation supposed to take place so as to avoid “suspect timing?" Abu Zubaydah was captured in March of 2002. Khalid Sheik Muhammad in March of 2003. How were they supposed to interrogate them closer to the 9/11 tragedy?

From from Cheney's remarks today (bold mine):

”Those personnel were carefully chosen from within the CIA, and were specially prepared to apply techniques within the boundaries of their training and the limits of the law. Torture was never permitted, and the methods were given careful legal review before they were approved. Interrogators had authoritative guidance on the line between toughness and torture, and they knew to stay on the right side of it.

For a full text of Cheney's remarks, click here.
@phm:
"when exactly was advanced interrogation supposed to take place so as to avoid “suspect timing?"

---
The answer is "never." It is a violation of the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which the U.S. ratified -- read, signed into American law --in 1994. It is also a violation of the Geneva Conventions, ratified during the Reagan years. In short, there is no time that would have been appropriate to torture, it being illegal and all.

And you have completely missed the point, which is that Cheney chose to defend his and the administration's illegal conduct based on a rationale that is no longer relevant, namely that they were attempting to thwart further attacks. There is ZERO evidence of that, while there is lots of mounting evidence that what they were really looking for was false confessions that would bolster the case for war.
and another thing, phm, quoting Dick Cheney isn't helpful in this argument, especially when you quote him essentially saying that the torture was OK because the people doing it were really, really good at it...
If the media, Obama, and Congress don't want to talk about torture, that means that Dick Cheney will be the man responsible for keeping the torture ball in the air . . . perhaps long enough to bring him to trial. In the end, a grateful nation may get to thank him for forcing us to put him in jail.
When even Yahoo news calls the big dick on his bullsh*t, only the most devout kool-aid drinkers can deny the reality:

CHENEY'S SPEECH CONTAINED OMISSIONS, MISSTATEMENTS
By Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, McClatchy Newspapers – Thu May 21, 7:10 pm ET

"Former Vice President Dick Cheney's defense Thursday of the Bush administration's policies for interrogating suspected terrorists contained omissions, exaggerations and misstatements.
In his address to the American Enterprise Institute , a conservative policy organization in Washington , Cheney said that the techniques the Bush administration approved, including waterboarding — simulated drowning that's considered a form of torture — forced nakedness and sleep deprivation, were "legal" and produced information that "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people."
He quoted the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair , as saying that the information gave U.S. officials a "deeper understanding of the al Qaida organization that was attacking this country."
In a statement April 21 , however, Blair said the information "was valuable in some instances" but that "there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."
A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general's investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.
FBI Director Mueller Robert Muller told Vanity Fair magazine in December that he didn't think that the techniques disrupted any attacks.
— Cheney said that President Barack Obama's decision to release the four top-secret Bush administration memos on the interrogation techniques was "flatly contrary" to U.S. national security, and would help al Qaida train terrorists in how to resist U.S. interrogations.
However, Blair, who oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, said in his statement that he recommended the release of the memos, "strongly supported" Obama's decision to prohibit using the controversial methods and that "we do not need these techniques to keep America safe."
— Cheney said that the Bush administration "moved decisively against the terrorists in their hideouts and their sanctuaries, and committed to using every asset to take down their networks."
The former vice president didn't point out that Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Ayman al Zawahri , remain at large nearly eight years after 9-11 and that the Bush administration began diverting U.S. forces, intelligence assets, time and money to planning an invasion of Iraq before it finished the war in Afghanistan against al Qaida and the Taliban .
There are now 49,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan fighting to contain the bloodiest surge in Taliban violence since the 2001 U.S.-led intervention, and Islamic extremists also have launched their most concerted attack yet on neighboring, nuclear-armed Pakistan .
— Cheney denied that there was any connection between the Bush administration's interrogation policies and the abuse of detainee at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, which he blamed on "a few sadistic guards . . . in violation of American law, military regulations and simple decency."
However, a bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee report in December traced the abuses at Abu Ghraib to the approval of the techniques by senior Bush administration officials, including former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld .
"The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of 'a few bad apples' acting on their own," said the report issued by Sens. Carl Levin , D- Mich. , and John McCain , R- Ariz. "The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality and authorized their use against detainees."
— Cheney said that "only detainees of the highest intelligence value" were subjected to the harsh interrogation techniques, and he cited Khalid Sheikh Mohammad , the alleged mastermind of the 9-11 attacks.
He didn't mention Abu Zubaydah, the first senior al Qaida operative to be captured after 9-11. Former FBI special agent Ali Soufan told a Senate subcommittee last week that his interrogation of Zubaydah using traditional methods elicited crucial information, including Mohammed's alleged role in 9-11.
The decision to use the harsh interrogation methods "was one of the worst and most harmful decisions made in our efforts against al Qaida ," Soufan said. Former State Department official Philip Zelikow , who in 2005 was then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's point man in an internal fight to overhaul the Bush administration's detention policies, joined Soufan in his criticism.
— Cheney said that "the key to any strategy is accurate intelligence," but the Bush administration ignored warnings from experts in the CIA , the Defense Intelligence Agency , the State Department , the Department of Energy and other agencies, and used false or exaggerated intelligence supplied by Iraqi exile groups and others to help make its case for the 2003 invasion.
Cheney made no mention of al Qaida operative Ali Mohamed al Fakheri , who's known as Ibn Sheikh al Libi , whom the Bush administration secretly turned over to Egypt for interrogation in January 2002 . While allegedly being tortured by Egyptian authorities, Libi provided false information about Iraq's links with al Qaida , which the Bush administration used despite doubts expressed by the DIA.
A state-run Libyan newspaper said Libi committed suicide recently in a Libyan jail.
— Cheney accused Obama of "the selective release" of documents on Bush administration detainee policies, charging that Obama withheld records that Cheney claimed prove that information gained from the harsh interrogation methods prevented terrorist attacks.
"I've formally asked that (the information) be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained," Cheney said. "Last week, that request was formally rejected."
However, the decision to withhold the documents was announced by the CIA , which said that it was obliged to do so by a 2003 executive order issued by former President George W. Bush prohibiting the release of materials that are the subject of lawsuits.
— Cheney said that only "ruthless enemies of this country" were detained by U.S. operatives overseas and taken to secret U.S. prisons.
A 2008 McClatchy investigation, however, found that the vast majority of Guantanamo detainees captured in 2001 and 2002 in Afghanistan and Pakistan were innocent citizens or low-level fighters of little intelligence value who were turned over to American officials for money or because of personal or political rivalries.
In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Oct. 5, 2005 , that the Bush administration had admitted to her that it had mistakenly abducted a German citizen, Khaled Masri , from Macedonia in January 2004 .
Masri reportedly was flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan , where he allegedly was abused while being interrogated. He was released in May 2004 and dumped on a remote road in Albania .
In January 2007 , the German government issued arrest warrants for 13 alleged CIA operatives on charges of kidnapping Masri.
— Cheney slammed Obama's decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and criticized his effort to persuade other countries to accept some of the detainees.
The effort to shut down the facility, however, began during Bush's second term, promoted by Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates .
"One of the things that would help a lot is, in the discussions that we have with the states of which they (detainees) are nationals, if we could get some of those countries to take them back," Rice said in a Dec. 12, 2007 , interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. "So we need help in closing Guantanamo ."
— Cheney said that, in assessing the security environment after 9-11, the Bush team had to take into account "dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists."
Cheney didn't explicitly repeat the contention he made repeatedly in office: that Saddam cooperated with al Qaida , a linkage that U.S. intelligence officials and numerous official inquiries have rebutted repeatedly.
The late Iraqi dictator's association with terrorists vacillated and was mostly aimed at quashing opponents and critics at home and abroad.
The last State Department report on international terrorism to be released before 9-11 said that Saddam's regime "has not attempted an anti-Western terrorist attack since its failed plot to assassinate former President ( George H.W.) Bush in 1993 in Kuwait ."
A Pentagon study released last year, based on a review of 600,000 Iraqi documents captured after the U.S.-led invasion, concluded that while Saddam supported militant Palestinian groups — the late terrorist Abu Nidal found refuge in Baghdad , at least until Saddam had him killed — the Iraqi security services had no "direct operational link" with al Qaida ."
But Joy, your argument wasn't that the torture should never have taken place. I could actually understand that argument. You were saying that the timing was suspect, and I don't follow the logic of that.

You say: "Cheney chose to defend his and the administration's illegal conduct based on a rationale that is no longer relevant, namely that they were attempting to thwart further attacks. There is ZERO evidence of that..." Apparently you missed the point of Cheney's remarks. The "evidence" you want was not released by the Obama administration -- only the accusations, in the form of the "torture memos." How fair is that? You blame Cheney for lack of evidence but he's not the one capable of providing it by declassifying memos.

You also say: "[W]hile there is lots of mounting evidence that what they were really looking for was false confessions that would bolster the case for war..." there's no evidence of this, only empty accusations that seem to be politically motivated. You are trying to demonize, not criticize, a previous administration. That is not good.

I respect you for thinking torture is not okay. What I don't agree with is you not understanding the rationale behind it, that your position also is a judgement that would have contained risks, just as Bush/Cheney's judgement contained risks. The risk was a future attack. The evidence such attacks were averted have been supported by the statements by people Cheney mentions in his speech, some of whom are still in the Obama administration.
markinjapan,

You know, I can copy and paste too. I could have copy/pasted Cheney's entire speech. Would that have accomplished anything? You copy and paste an article (when you could just provide a link) and I disagree with the first paragraph of the article. It says "Cheney said that the techniques the Bush administration approved, including waterboarding — simulated drowning that's considered a form of torture — forced nakedness and sleep deprivation, were "legal" and produced information that "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people."

First of all, waterboarding is considered torture by whom? And Cheney never mentions nakedness and sleep deprivation, but the article makes it sound like he did. So in my opinion it's not a carefully written piece that is interested in responding to Cheney's remarks.
phm: "First of all, waterboarding is considered torture by whom? "

I'll presume that this is a rhetorical question.
No it's not because I don't think that is as obvious as apparently you think it is. And Robert Gates, Obama's own Sec. of Defense, agrees with me.
phm, you didn't take from my original post that I think torture should never have taken place? Really? Okay... well it never should have taken place. And you have so completely bought into the Cheney rationale that I doubt anything I could say would convince you otherwise.

I do find it interesting that you seem to believe, without any evidence, that the Bush-Cheney regime tortured to prevent an "imminent attack" ... in 2003 ... 183 times in one month ... something backed up by no one but them (and these vaunted "two memos" that Cheney is so desperately clinging to,) but you dismiss the corroborating statements of multiple insider witnesses, from Charles Duelfer to Larry Wilkinson -- all of whom worked for the Bush administration. There is so much circumstantial evidence, dating back years, that the Bushies fabricated their case for war, and such clear evidence that they broke the laws banning torture (hell, Cheney admits and is PROUD of having ordered it) that the only question left is why the Obama team refuses to pursue prosecutions. Furthermore, the CIA did its own report in 2004 that found that no attack was thwarted due to torture. The super secret memos Cheney is clinging to were barred from release by the same CIA he claims to be defending ... and people who have seen them have also spoken out, saying they contain nothing helpful to your friend Dick.

At the end of the day, it's still a free country (despite the Bushies' best attempts to wiretap, sneek search and surveil the freedom right out of us...) and you can choose to buy what Cheney's selling, but that doesn't make him any more credible. A previous poster put up the text of Jonathan Landay's excellent deconstruction of the many myths Cheney pimped in his speech. Here's the link:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/68643.html

BTW, Cheney also forgot to mention that 9/11 happened on his and Dubya's watch. So much for keeping America safe.
omg phm, now you're just making stuff up. Robert Gates approved the release of the torture memos

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/23/AR2009042302446.html?hpid=topnews

and has never asserted that he thinks waterboarding is not torture. As defense secretary, he stands by the Army Field Manual, which absolutely bans the practice. Where are you getting your information? If it's Fox News, which it sounds like it is, you'd probably be better off just not watching TV at all...
...btw waterboarding is considered torture by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the legal arbiter of what is and isn't torture, and it has been considered torture roughly since the Spanish Inquisition, it having also been practiced by the Maoist Chinese, North Koreans, the Viet Cong and the Khmer Rouge ... oh, and by the Bush administration.
"I do find it interesting that you seem to believe, without any evidence, that the Bush-Cheney regime tortured to prevent an "imminent attack"

Well part of the evidence was deleted from the memo Obama released. The following line from Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, was marked out: that the information gave U.S. officials a "deeper understanding of the al Qaida organization that was attacking this country."

Writers Landey and Strobel, whom you seem to praise for objective reporting (“Jonathan Landay's excellent deconstruction”), are quick to point out in an article you link that “in a statement April 21, "Blair said the information ‘was valuable in some instances’ but that ‘there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.’"

That's fine. That's a difference in judgement. Rational people can have a difference in judgment. But Landey and Strobel fail to mention the fact that Blair's remarks support the Bush policy in the memos Obama released but were marked out. To me that demonstrates political motivation on the part of the writers (and the Obama administration), not factual motivation. If you’re interested in the facts, just release the memos. Why mark out something that is supportive of the previous administration’s policy? No one is claiming that people can't have disagreements. The question is the reason behind those disagreements.

And when you use the word “Bushies” I feel you are being disrespectful to a former administration. I don’t consider that productive or a characteristic of someone interested in a discussion the facts.

That said, I’ll end my remarks here and let you or others have the last word.
Well I have to respond when you say I'm making things up.

First of all I didn't say Gates didn't approve the release of the memos. I heard Gates give his views on waterboarding in a radio interview here in Los Angeles. I'll look for the specific quote, but he said (I'm paraphrasing) that while "waterboarding isn't something that we would want done to ourselves, it doesn't rise to the level of torture."

I have found this: "At a Pentagon briefing Thursday, Gates said the U.S. knows more about al Qaeda now than it did in the years before and after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He said he believes that the need for interrogation tactics that go beyond those allowed in the Army Field Manual is now "dramatically less." (source)

I don't know how you read "dramatically less," but I read it as meaning that previously enhanced interrogation was needed.
"The Obama administration? They're all about 'moving forward.'"

What's even worse is they are now—as proven by Obushma's speech on the Guantanamo detainees and national security—looking backward, but only to replicate and continue the policies of Bush/Cheney. Our savior Barack is doing this while making lovely words about "our values" and the Constitution, etc.

But what does he actually call for: reinstituting the military commissions with hearsay evidence allowed, transferring uncharged, unindicted people into so-called supermax prisons, using our court system only "when feasible," and ongoing detention for people "who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger."

Obama is proposing a new system that will "fairly" and "consitutionally" provide unlimited detention.

I recommend that people read the transcript of the speech: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/21/us/politics/21obama.text.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print
phm: "First of all, waterboarding is considered torture by whom? "

I usually tell my students that the only stupid question is the one not asked.

You have succeeded in convincing me that I should at a minimum add a caveat to include questions asked by seriously deranged individuals.

IF mr gates agrees with you (which I doubt) than here are just a few of those who disagree with you:

Amnesty International
Human Rights Watch
United States Code 18:340 implementation of the UN Convention against torture
Washington University Law Review.

John McCain
Mike Huckabee
Joseph Biden
Chris Dodd
Barack Obama
Hillary Clinton

Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, concurred by stating, in a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, that he believes waterboarding violates Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – Professor Manfred Nowak

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the U.S. Department of State formally recognized "submersion of the head in water" as torture

Both houses of the United States Congress approved a bill by February 2008 that would ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.

I think rudolph giuliani would agree with you, and michael mukasey is still considering the matter.
Thank you for this post. Yesterday Obama said (I'm paraphrasing) "Our values are our greatest national security assets." We all need to hold his administration to that standard.
Couldn't have said it better! I wonder though, where are all the cheer-leaders who were so willing to send our troops to Iraq to "fight 'em there so we wouldn't have to fight 'em here"? Well, it seems that they're not so ready to have the fruits of our invasion brought "to the homeland" and among us. You'd think that we were going to put them up in our neighborhoods. What a bunch of wimps! Their willingness to support the troops seems to be limited to putting a ribbon on the rear hatch of their SUV.
Osama bin Laden must be pissing his pants in laughter!
Dick also did not apologize for leading 4, 300 young people to their deaths in an attempt to relieve Saddam of his WMD's. One of those lost souls being my only son, US Marine Sgt. Matthew Fenton. How can anyone still believe anything that this man says when he will not even admit that he was wrong about WMD's and Iraq's connection to 9/11. He should be hiding away somewhere, living with the image of all the wasted lives that he has created. My life will never be the same again. He is right that there is no middle ground about that. My son is dead. Period.
John Fenton

Gold Star Father
As the MSM continue to support, advance, and endorse the ideas of this little guy, the word Enabler or Accomplists is what comes to mind.

The truth about the WMD and how we got to invade Iraq, on the whim of this past administration remains unanswered.

The supposed "War on Terror" means War on an Idea. Why did'nt the past admin attack China, Russia, Korea, Isreal? There are terrorist activities going on in those nations even as we speak?

It is Truth that makes us all free.
A photo of Dick Cheney should illustrate the word "chickenhawk" in the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary. The MSM will never highlight their complicity in propagandizing the Iraq War by covering this. The NY Times still claims it has the best journalists in the world - yah, like Judy Miller.
This is a test for the American people. Your politicians are clearly betting that you don't really care about the things that were done in your name. If they get away with it, they will have been proven right.

Time to stand up an make a noise, like you're doing here.
phm, as Joe Biden might say, "God love you," you seem like a very sincere individual, but some of your points sound straight out of Sean Hannity's songbook.

"Well part of the evidence was deleted from the memo Obama released. The following line from Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, was marked out: that the information gave U.S. officials a "deeper understanding of the al Qaida organization that was attacking this country." --

The torture memos -- there were several of them, not one -- were released almost completely unredacted. In fact, how would you know what was in the blacked out portion if ... um ... it was blacked out??? That just makes no sense. What you're referring to is a separate statement made by Adm. Blair that he later clarified. In the first, he gave his opinion, which he is entitled to, as you are. In the clarification, he stated administration policy (ie, we dont' torture people anymore.) That does indeed prove that there are differences of opinion on the matter of whether torture works. The debate over whether waterboarding is torture is taking place between right wingers and the clouds, since it is a firmly established historical and legal fact that waterboarding IS torture. That's why WE have prosecuted people for it from World War II to Vietnam to that prison guard in Texas I think.

But that's just the point. The policy disagreement over whether torture works is academic. Whether or not you think it's effective, or Gates thinks it's thumbscrew type torture is irrelevant, since torture is illegal, and has been for a long, long time. It was illegal on 9/11, and 9/12 and ever day thereafter. There is no debate about that, and having some hack lawyers write you an excuse note doesn't make it legal.

Dick Cheney has freely admitted to war crimes. He's just savvy enough to know that the current administration isn't game to prosecute him.
"What Dick Cheney didn't say"

Goodbye cruel world, I'm gonna hold my breath until I die!
Isn't it a classic post hoc fallacy to insist that the Bush/Cheney policies kept us safe and we know this because there haven't been any further attacks? Isn't this kind of like saying, "There was a flood. I raised my house. It worked because we haven't had another flood"?
Man, you'd think this idiot would slowly sink into oblivion after the destructive eight years he spent dumping our country into the sewer. Some egos are just too huge to see the truth.
Two quick points:

1) Isn't anyone else absolutely appalled that we can sit here and state that "The vast majority of the Washington press corps has long since lost interest in the subject of how, and why, we got into Iraq." WTF, the goddamn war is/will cost us a 2 or 3 trillion by the time its all done and it has ruined thousands of families and lives. EVERYONE in the media who falls under that banner of losing interest should be let go and beaten for good measure.

2) please stop giving dick cheney any air time. He is a delusional pyschopath. We can only hope that his body guards put him and us out of his misery.
I, REPUBLICAN point out that we have been using water based torture since the Inquisition, and have ALWAYS got the information we wanted.

I, REPUBLICAN Sayeth ... so it must be 21% true
Nice drawing of Cheney you've found there! If anyone's face could be said to be 'twisted by hate', Cheney's would be it.
I completely empathize with your disgust for the former Vice President -- and all those who will not pursue justice. Of course, "empathy" has recently been found to be suspect.
If the media and Congress are indeed not picking up on this war crimes nonsense, isn't it just barely possible that it's because that's all it is? Certainly no one can accuse either of being inherently biased in favor of the Bush Administration. Get real.
Wow; it has been said that it's hard to make it through the day without a good rationalization or two-you've definitely proved that to be true!
Couple of points to consider: the president's main job is to protect the citizens, since we've foiled 8 plots, it appears that the idiot Bush did a decent job and, it is interesting that Pres O is continuing many of their policies!
Also, how about releasing ALL the documents, memos AND the answers given during interrogation AND the plots that were prevented?? Are you that naive??
How about "bringing us together" like he promised and stop blaming the previous president? We don't let our children do this-why our President?? A LITTLE BALANCE IS IN ORDER.
As I have said many times, even a Democratic Congress can experience a lucid interval from time to time.
Joy-Ann. From Downunder ... an excellent observation. Dick Cheney is a white-collar criminal who was instrumental in initiating a 'war' against innocent people. Apologists for this thug sicken one to the core. It doesn't matter how Cheney's obfuscations are dressed up to sound 'plausible,' the facts as they exist ... are that Cheney, the 'Goebels' of modern times, transgressed the law. Therefore, he should be indicted for this transgression.

RPD from Sydney
markinjapan says: "I think rudolph giuliani would agree with you, and michael mukasey is still considering the matter."

Just to show you that you don't read people carefully and apparently aren't interested in seriously considering an argument, I have specifically not stated anywhere what my personal view is on waterboarding being torture. The reason I haven't is my opinion is not the issue. An article that makes the statement "simulated drowning that's considered a form of torture" is not a well written article, precisely because it doesn't say who considers it torture, and it's an empirical fact that there are those who do not. You can chose to believe otherwise, but that means both you and the writers of that article have no interest in balanced reporting. A better sentence would be "widely held to be torture." I would have no problem if those were the words the writers used, as your list points out it is a widely held view. But to claim there's no contrary opinion is not accurate or truthful.
Ecellent post and all good points. If we really want the truth from Cheney you'd have to water board him. Of course the info wouldn't be reliable because he'd tell you ANYTHING you want to hear to make it stop.
Is there supposed to be an X in ecellent?
I think a close re-reading of the comments and their sequence would reveal that what you accuse me of are actually YOUR shortcomings:

phm: 5/22 01:48 "First of all, waterboarding is considered torture by whom?"

mark 01:58 "I'll presume that this is a rhetorical question."

phm: 01:56 No it's not because I don't think that is as obvious as apparently you think it is. And Robert Gates, Obama's own Sec. of Defense, agrees with me.

Ummm, agrees with you on what, phm?

Based on the contortions with the poster of the piece, I am prepared for some sort of elliptical response, so give it your best shot.
"agrees with you on what, phm?"

That there is a variety of opinion which is not what the article you quote infers.
@John Fenton:
Yours is perhaps the most important point of all, because if it is true that the Bush-Cheney regime tortured in order to send people like your son to war, then their crimes are compounded by the killing of mearly 5,000 American troops at their behest. I'm sure everyone on this board's thoughts and prayers are with you this Memorial Day weekend.

@Htowner77:
What are you talking about? I love it when right wingers make up "foiled plots," none of which has ever been substantiated other than by Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, and which include a supposed plot against a nonexistent tower in San Francisco, and these seven karate kids down here in Liberty City who were supposedly going to blow up the Sears Tower, but lacked the money for shoes ... or maybe Adnan Shukrijuma, the Guyanese born "terr'rist" who with a partner were supposedly going to blow up power stations and go on a shooting spree, but whose credit card got declined at a Florida gun show. Yeah. The Bushies really protected us ... except that one time when, like, 15 guys slipped by them and toppled the Twin Towers and they didn't know it was coming because all they had was a memo that said BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO ATTACK INSIDE THE UNITED STATES ... oops.

@RPD from Down Under ... spot on. And those transgressions include falsifying the case for war, launching an unnecessary war that killed John Fenton's son and others, and apparently, using torture to try and fabricate facts that would make an unnecessary war appear necessary. The worst part is, people in the media are still letting Cheney argue torture from the ticking timebomb standpoint, and right wingers are still arguing it from that perspective, when the media people should know better.

@phm,
Dude, let it go. The only people who disagree that waterboarding is torture are members of the previous administration (for obvious reasons) and their supporters, also for obvious reasons.

And during the Spanish Inquisition, when they first came up with the technique, they had doctors on hand, too...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15886834
blah,blah,blah.
hey dick cheney, does the term NANOTHERMITE mean anything to you?
more details in my blog
Cheney is a coward and a bully. He doesn't want to live with the consequences of what he has done--which are war crimes, and warrant incarceration--and at the same time, he wants to bully the Republican party into agreeing with him, and the Democratic party into continuing to fear him.

I would like to think, much like Joe McCarthy in the 50s, all it will take to burst this evil balloon and let the noxious gas escape, is one brave person on the right of national standing and good character, saying, "Have you left no decency, sir?" Unfortunately, as you know, they are trying to drum Colin Powell out of the party for doing so.

I think it's going to be a long time in the wilderness for these folks.
Thank you for such an excellent, thorough post.