Least Shocking Headline of the Day

Dick Cheney Was Lying About Torture” (Politico).

FILED UNDER: National Security, Quick Takes, Terrorism, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    First I have to acknowledge that I am not pleased, as a supporter, that Obama’s words and actions on this issue are difficult to reconcile. This is an area where politics seem to be guiding him, and not what’s right.

    Beyond that…this should be an interesting few days as we watch the right wing echo chamber ramp up to defend torture…and the war crimes committed by Bush and Cheney.
    I’m sure Liz will be out there defending her father along with the entire cast of sycophants.

    What really cracks me up is that many are already saying this will foment anger against the US and thus shouldn’t be released….unable to understand that it’s the original sin…torture…that never should have happened in the first place. The crime was committed…let’s not cover it up.

  2. stonetools says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Obama, Mr. Kumbah Yah , originally wanted to “turn the page” on the whole torture thing. Like everything else, he just took it for granted that the right wing knew they were wrong, and wanted to move on with the reconciliation process. What he didn’t realize is that conservatives never admit they are wrong: they just double down on the denial. You really have to publicly demonstrate it, rub their nose it, and hammer it home over and over , to establish with the public that yes, conservatives really were wrong. Would that he had done this from the beginning with health care, economics, the deficit, etc, etc, etc.
    He has a chance now to do the things right way this time. It’s unfortunate that he apparently doesn’t really have the killer instinct to nail the torturers and by extension the Republicans on this.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    A lot of the apologists for torture are saying…look…we did what we had to after 9.11.
    Nicole Wallace…former Bush spokeswoman:

    What else did we do to make sure that 3,000 people weren’t blown out, obliterated on a New York City morning? I don’t care what we did.

    Which to me begs the question…where the fvck were you before 9.11? And why didn’t you care then? Dropping the ball and allowing 9.11 to happen on your watch does not justify torture in the aftermath.

  4. C. Clavin says:

    @stonetools:

    Would that he had done this from the beginning with health care, economics, the deficit, etc, etc, etc.

    I agree…unfortunately that really is the only way to confront the right wing echo chamber.

  5. Modulo Myself says:

    I wonder how many of these people were tortured in hopes of proving that Saddam was behind Al Qaeda? How much pain was caused by people so cruel that they were willing to harm somebody simply for a justification to pass off as true?

    What will be really vile will be the ‘we’ that torture defenders will endlessly abuse. “We were scared,” they will say, “so these measures seemed reasonable.” F— you with this ‘we’. The desire to rewrite history to include the civilized parts of this country in the passive acceptance of torture is nauseating. I’m still angry that no average Americans suffered any kind of crisis–existential or physical–at the fact that they went along with these monsters.

  6. Loviatar says:

    @stonetools / @C. Clavin:

    We’re at war, it’s a continuation of the war that began in 1861. The tactics used today by the enemy/traitors are different from the first phase of the war but they are still a direct attack on the American populace. Unfortunately, most Americans still haven’t realized this and are still living under the assumption that these traitors can be reasoned with, they can’t.

    We need another Generals Grant and Sherman

  7. bandit says:

    @Loviatar: To say you’re out of your f’ng mind is way too kind

  8. LaMont says:

    @Loviatar:

    Geez – Its people like you that fail to realize that our actions and the way we go about “war” is the very thing that tend to bring conflict and violence to our doorstep.

  9. Liberal With Attitude says:

    If I’m not mistaken, I believe that Loviator is talking about America’s war against the Confederacy.

    If so, he is not mistaken.

  10. C. Clavin says:

    McCain gave a good anti-torture speech on the floor today. Doesn’t make up for the terrific error in judgment that was Sarah Palin…but it was good.

  11. Loviatar says:

    @Liberal With Attitude:

    You are not mistaken.

  12. stonetools says:

    @Liberal With Attitude:

    He puts it blunter than I would but there are heck of a lot of folks who don’t accept the outcome of that war, and who therefore view the election results of 2008 and 2012 as illegitimate.
    But then this maybe a topic for another thread.

  13. Loviatar says:

    @stonetools:

    But then this maybe a topic for another thread.

    No, its a topic for this thread.

    This is what the traitors are, they are torturers, they are enemies to the “supposed” American way of life. If given an opportunity they will return to torturing Americans as willingly as they’ve embraced torturing brown foreigners. Pointing it out on this thread is as appropriate as pointing it out on any of the recent race focused threads.

  14. Jim says:

    If Obama really wants to torture 🙂 Bush-Cheney and their supporters, he should pardon them. The howls of protest would be loud and long.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    The more I read of this report…the more it becomes clear the International Community is going to have to ask questions and perhaps pursue prosecution of war crimes.
    People raped.
    People tortured to death.
    Sadism. Brutality.
    This stuff is ugly folks.
    I personally would love to see Cheney doing a perp-walk…no one in the history of per-walks deserves it more…but I think the politics becomes messy and perhaps even insurmountable.
    Maybe that is part of Obama’s silence. Why bother to pursue something that is a fools errand to begin with?

  16. stonetools says:

    Looking at Memeorandum, I can see why the Obama Administration was a little reluctant to get into this. The usual suspects, led by the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, are in full cry condemning the Administration for wanting to “punish America.”

    why do this now? Perhaps Democrats in Congress think that by excoriating our intelligence community before the entire world they will expiate the sins of the previous administration. Yes, it’s another chance it’s to blame Bush!

    This is the apology tour on steroids.

    It’s a good thing we are doing this now. The Republicans would have buried it for all time once they took over in January. Kudos to the Senate Democrats.

  17. Loviatar says:

    @C. Clavin / @stonetools:

    You pardon Nixon, you get Reagan.
    You refuse to indict Reagan , you get Bush II.
    I wonder how bad the next guys are going to be now that we’re looking forward not backward on Bush II.

  18. Loviatar says:

    @C. Clavin / @stonetools:

    awaiting moderation, so my comment without the links.

    ———-

    You pardon Nixon (Watergate), you get Reagan.
    You refuse to indict Reagan (Iran-Contra), you get Bush II.
    I wonder how bad the next guys are going to be now that we’re looking forward not backward on Bush II (Torture).

  19. Loviatar says:

    For those who say I don’t get the realities of politics or am not pragmatic. Here’s an analogy I like for this situation.

    A couple of years ago Elin Nordegren (Tiger Wood’s ex-wife) demolished a mansion she owned in Palm Beach, Florida. She received a terrific amount of flack and hate mail before it was learned that the house was rotten with termites and the most cost efficient thing for her to do was demolish the house and rebuild something better.

    Sometimes you have to demolish the house to build something better in its place. The Republican party’s house is infested with neo-confederate termites, it needs to be destroyed and something better built in its place. You’ll just have to live with the flack and hate until there is a better understanding of why this must be done.

    The American experiment will fail if this is not done. You can’t live in a rotten house, its too dangerous.

  20. C. Clavin says:

    After this report there is zero chance of brother Jeb ever becoming President.

  21. jukeboxgrad says:

    Modulo Myself:

    I wonder how many of these people were tortured in hopes of proving that Saddam was behind Al Qaeda?

    Torture is effective only at one thing: eliciting false confessions. And that seems to have been the purpose of our torture: generating false confessions for the purpose of selling the war.

    North Vietnam used torture the same way we did: to produce false confessions that had political utility. And it was effective in both instances. McCain produced false confessions under torture, and so did the people we tortured, as Cato Institute observed:

    Of Course It Was Torture … Imagine if, shortly after 9/11, someone had told you that the US government would adopt an interrogation policy based on Chinese Communist techniques designed to elicit false confessions. You’d have thought that person was pretty cynical. But he’d turn out to be exactly right. … Beaten savagely by Egyptian torturers, one victim of our “extraordinary rendition” program concocted a story about Saddam Hussein giving Al Qaeda WMD training. That story made it into Colin Powell’s UN Security Council speech selling the Iraq War.

    If you need false confessions for the purpose of selling a war, then torture is useful. As General Irvine said:

    … they built the CIA’s surreal secret interrogation program around the same brutal coercion that had successfully forced American POWs to lie to their North Korean and Chinese captors. In other words, they assumed that the very brutality which had forced American soldiers to lie would magically force a Muslim terrorist to tell the truth, even if he had to be waterboarded 183 times.

    Since false confessions were the goal, it made perfect sense to use torture techniques we imported from China and North Korea.

    It’s interesting to notice when we stopped waterboarding: March 2003. Anyone remember something else that happened that month? We invaded Iraq. Funny how we had no need for it anymore, once the war started. This tends to create the impression that the purpose was to generate false confessions for the purpose of selling the war. If we were really doing it to prevent future attacks, there would have been no reason to stop at that moment. On the contrary.

  22. Tyrell says:

    Think about this – there are effective ways to get material, information, clues, codes, and strategic information from criminals and terrorists other than torture. And these are not some science fiction, fantasy stuff. One method that has been used is setting up and arranging specific dialogues, scenarios, mindsets, and manipulations. This has been done before with good results. It requires skill and training. This can be seen in the movie “Argo” and some of the “Criminal Minds” episodes, such as the one where a terrorist is manipulated into giving the location of where his bombs are. Another method is to set up a situation that is artificial but seems real to the terrorist. It involves technology and clever disguising. This can be seen in the “Mission Impossible ” tv programs and the movies.
    Another method employs brainwashing, mind control, and hypnotism.
    These methods have been proven effective and painless. They can achieve the goal.
    Imagine if you had some one like Jack the Ripper, John Wilkes Booth, Lee Oswald, Dr. Lecter, or Heinrich Himmler in an interrogation room. They would present a challenge for sure ! Imagine what they would say, and reveal !
    Our leaders must make sure that terrorist groups do not assume the US has gone weak or soft !!

  23. Davebo says:

    @C. Clavin:

    McCain has always paid lip service re: torture but when it came time to cast a vote in the Senate he caved.

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @Davebo:
    You are right, of course. But today, while the rest of the Republican party is defending torture and those who torture, McCain is not. That’s all.

  25. C. Clavin says:

    Not a lot of Republicans screaming about the rule of law today.

  26. Tillman says:

    I couldn’t tell today whether I was physically sick or was that sickened from reading the torture report.

    My father asked me back in June of ’03 if this was what it felt like to be an anti-war German during World War 2. At the time, while I sympathized, I thought the comparison was a little overblown, as I think most comparisons to Nazi Germany are overblown. Now I’m reading this stuff and left wondering.

    And of course nothing will happen. Obama’s not going to prosecute these people. He made that clear from day one. My generation put inordinate faith in his promises, and certainly many “lost faith” before now in them, but this is the last nail in the coffin. Unless he performs a flip-flop of exceptional magnitude on prosecuting war criminals, he’s lost me and plenty of others.

    I’m really surprised all the talk of the torture report here on OTB is confined to this one minor headline and not something bigger. Like I give a shit about which Republican hopefuls have a chance in 2016 compared to these revelations.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    After this report there is zero chance of brother Jeb ever becoming President.

    I’d like to agree with you. I’d love to agree with you. It would make my whole month if I could agree with you. But I can’t. 2/3 of the electorate will settle on, “It kept us safe.” Given that, and a gazillion dollars of Koch Bros et al money, I’ve come to regard Jeb as the greatest threat. And I mean threat to the country, not just to Hillary.

  28. Mikey says:

    @Tillman:

    And of course nothing will happen. Obama’s not going to prosecute these people. He made that clear from day one. My generation put inordinate faith in his promises, and certainly many “lost faith” before now in them, but this is the last nail in the coffin. Unless he performs a flip-flop of exceptional magnitude on prosecuting war criminals, he’s lost me and plenty of others.

    There will be no flip-flop. No President will ever prosecute a predecessor for actions that predecessor took in his capacity as Chief Executive. To do so would diminish the power of the office of the Presidency, and that is something no President will ever do.