Li'l Dick hasn't allowed a straight honest word past the perpetual sneer on his lip in almost 30 years. He has been caught in lie after lie after lie, virtually nothing he has said in public (and probably not in private) as VP has been true, yet here come the media acting like he may have a point when he is trying to defend his torture policy - a policy that came straight out of his office as VP (Addison worked for him and so did Yoo) - by making blanket claims for its effectiveness.
Senior Bush administration officials, led by Vice President Dick Cheney and cheered by many Congressional Republicans, are fighting a rear-guard action in defense of their record. Only by using the harshest methods, they insist, did the intelligence agency get the information it needed to round up Qaeda killers and save thousands of American lives.
In a twist this week, Mr. Cheney, a fierce defender of secrecy as vice president, called for the release of more classified memorandums that he asserted prove the effectiveness of the coercive techniques.
The self-serving nature of Cheney's defense and the typically evidenceless assertions that we've gotten so used to from him and other conservative hacks are being thrust at us as if they might actually be genuine. You know, this time as opposed to all those other times. Cheney, of course, claims that the proof is in those secret memos he wants revealed. Apparently he's no longer concerned about "national security". Now that it's his ass on the line at the Spanish War Crimes Tribunal, fuck national security.
To give the NYT reporter some credit, he isn't simply accepting Cheney's word or stenographically passing it along the way they usually do. This time, though he bent over backward to give Li'l Dick the benefit of the doubt, Scott Shane makes a point of noting that a lot of the people who've looked at those secret memos Cheney wants released aren't convinced torture had much of anything to do with anything.
The second-guessing of the C.I.A.’s methods inside the government began long before Mr. Obama’s election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the government agency with the greatest knowledge of Al Qaeda in 2001, chose not to participate in the C.I.A. interrogation program after agents became uneasy about the earliest use of harsh methods in 2002 on Abu Zubaydah, a long-sought terrorist facilitator.
In an interview with Vanity Fair last year, the F.B.I. director since 2001, Robert S. Mueller III, was 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.”)
Of course there are the usual teensy tiny little omissions hardly worth mentioning. F'rinstance:
The Justice Department memorandums released last week illustrate how difficult it can be to assess claims of effectiveness. One 2005 memorandum, for example, asserts that “enhanced techniques” used on Abu Zubaydah and Mr. Mohammed “yielded critical information.”
But the memorandum then lists among Abu Zubaydah’s revelations the identification of Mr. Mohammed and of an alleged radiological bomb plot by Jose Padilla, the American Qaeda associate. Both those disclosures were made long before Abu Zubaydah was subjected to harsh treatment, according to multiple accounts.
And oh yeah, btw, when he named Mohammed we already knew his identity, and Padilla's so-called "plot" never existed, as we now know. Other than that....
So Shane did the best he could under the circumstances, giving Cheney every possible doubt-benefit even though he's done nothing in 10 years to deserve it. Now why did he do that, do you suppose?
But far, far worse is the odious assumption on Shane's part - and the part of the rest of the corporate media - that this is a legitimate discussion, that defending torture is acceptable if you can prove some benefit - any benefit - derives from it. It is an obscene argument. After a couple of thousand years torturing people, we know that it doesn't work for shit. Never has, never will. But that's not the point and never has been. The point is:
CIVILIZED NATIONS DON'T TORTURE PEOPLE. NOT FOR ANY REASON. NO EXCUSE IS GOOD ENOUGH.
We thought we'd straightened all that out yet here is the fucking NY Times carrying an argument for torture in its pages as if the Geneva treaties, our own promises, and the dictates of humanity can be thrown aside because Dick Cheney thinks torture is cool and maybe works sometimes.
That we are discussing his irrational vengeance-mode as if it deserved to be discussed shows just how far we've fallen. And it's way, way down the Civilization Ladder. Bottom rung stuff.
This is the strongest argument I know for bringing the whole crew up on charges and damn the political cost. Not that there would be one. The country wants these people to be accountable, wants responsibility assigned and justice done. If we can't bring even bring ourselves to stop listening to the incredibly self-serving blither of wingnuts staring criminal justice in the face, I don't know how we'll bring ourselves to the point of actual investigations, never mind trials.
But we MUST do it. Or uncivilized animals like Bush and Cheney will have us arguing the relative merits of the Iron Maiden vis-a-vis the rack. We already know the SuperSerious NYT will duly spread the word along with the rest of the Corporate Media, all acting like it's, you know, no different than discussing whether you like corn syrup or maple syrup on your pancakes.
What have they done to us?