Is Cheney The Leading Advocate For A Torture Investigation?

In comments to this post, I speculate that the Obama Administration's possible release of a 2004 CIA report on torture may be motivated by former Vice President Dick Cheney's insistence on release of more information on the subject and his assertions that President Obama's abandonment of torture has made the country less safe. Josh Marshall notes the irony that Cheney has become the de facto leading advocate for a torture investigation:

[W]ith his on-going round of aggressive public appearances [Cheney] not only seems to be inviting a public inquiry into Bush administration anti-constitutional practices . . . -- but actually inviting it -- in the sense that he really seems to be pushing for it to happen. In his interview this weekend he seemed to say that he'd be happy to testify under oath about his torture policies. And intentionally or not, he's the one moving the ball forward on the release of various classified documents detailing torture practices.

Beltway stalwarts Fred Hiatt and Stuart Taylor are on board already. What's the hold up?

Speaking for me only

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    Cheney thinks the real argument (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Anne on Mon May 11, 2009 at 12:02:07 PM EST
    should be about whether torture is effective, and whether it saved more lives than it harmed; given the GOP's ability to control the rhetoric, and frame the issue in terms of the evildoers who wish to harm us, he's pretty sure he can make - and win - that argument.

    I guess the Dems never did take that course in how to frame a winning argument, but will, typically, take Cheney's bait - hook, line and sinker - and set themselves up for being once again cast as being weak on national security.  Any guesses on whether Obama will fall for it, too?

    And since there is practically no one in the traditional media who is willing to call Cheney on his BS, or willing to even ask the question of whether we should be arguing about the effectiveness of torture, Cheney will get his way.

    I think you are on target with (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by coast on Mon May 11, 2009 at 12:16:42 PM EST
    your read on this.  Cheney knows whether or not the interrogations provided information that averted other attacks.  He will use this as a "ends justifies the means" argument.  Once that information is out, Republicans and Democrats will argue over which is right, the law or the ends.

    What's the hold up? (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Mon May 11, 2009 at 12:14:46 PM EST
    We have an administration forged on the mantra of "change" that seems clearly averse to any kind of political imagination.  Start the hearings with testimony by American soldiers tortured during their captivity in foreign wars and just what they think about it.  

    I know this is off subject but have been (none / 0) (#8)
    by coast on Mon May 11, 2009 at 12:18:01 PM EST
    wanting to know how your child did with the electron microscope?

    got a blue ribbon at the science fair (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Mon May 11, 2009 at 03:01:11 PM EST
    i'm still brimming with pride.  he did get lucky, tho, in that the father of one of his fellow students works with an SEM and let him come into the laboratory and see it in action.

    eli's band also got a gold rating at a festival last weekend, too.  he plays the trombone.  been a good few weeks all around for him.  and he turns nine thursday, so he'll get some goodies to boot.

    thanks for asking.  peace.


    That is terrific. Tell him well (none / 0) (#15)
    by coast on Mon May 11, 2009 at 03:55:04 PM EST
    done from the posters at TL.  My kids are counting down the days till summer.  Won't be long.

    Cheney is wrong, (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by elrapido on Mon May 11, 2009 at 12:36:53 PM EST
    but only because the Obama Administration hasn't changed things much at all.  They're bringing back Military Commissions now.  It's much easier to talk about being President than it is to actually be President.

    Regardless Of Whose Leading (none / 0) (#1)
    by CDN Ctzn on Mon May 11, 2009 at 11:35:53 AM EST
    Investigate already! Prosecute under the mandate from the Geneva Accord and lock up that snivelling weasel and all his minions.
    We've pissed around with this for too long!

    I guessing that Cheney has something on (none / 0) (#2)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon May 11, 2009 at 11:49:46 AM EST
    congressional Dems.  Remember, the phone tapping was happening for quite a while before anyone outside the Bush Admin knew about it.  Even if Pelosi et. al. were never officially informed, Cheney might have tapes of phone conversations that can and will be used against them.  If that's the case, it would explain why Obama is pulling a Ford-like "let bygones be bygones" instead of making sure presidents can't break the law in the future.  

    Hold Obama Accountable for Preventing Future Abuses like Torture.

    Why is (none / 0) (#3)
    by DancingOpossum on Mon May 11, 2009 at 11:56:51 AM EST
    12-percent-approval-rating Cheney suddenly being treated with such fawning deference? Who gives a damn what he thinks? (Or for that matter, Gingrich?)

    Anyway, Arthur Silber thinks we're all kidding ourselves and he may be right:

    People who are unable or unwilling to grasp the nature of the corporatist-authoritarian-militarist system that is slowly killing us (as it kills millions of people around the globe much more quickly and brutally) continue to hope for prosecutions of some of the major war criminals in the Bush administration. At this late date, such illusions are no longer charming, as Burgess's illusions about the ruling class were. They are astoundingly, staggeringly stupid.

    There will never, ever be prosecutions of any major figure for war crimes. Never. The system will not tolerate any serious challenge to its power and prerogatives; it will certainly not tolerate a challenge that would inevitably and necessarily implicate Democrats as well as Republicans.


    Cheney: I'll Be Back (none / 0) (#9)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon May 11, 2009 at 12:25:37 PM EST
    Maybe the GOP learned it's lesson with the lightweights McSame (I'm for the troops but voted against the VA Bill, I'm for Change but I voted with Bush, I'm just one of the regular people, but I don't remember how many houses I own.") and Palin ("What do YOU mean by the Bush Doctrine, Charlie?").

    They might as well go back to their Rush Limbaugh "STFU, we're right and you're wrong" strategy.  Cheney and his ilk fit right in with that approach.


    The thing that proves Cheney wrong (none / 0) (#12)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon May 11, 2009 at 02:25:05 PM EST
    is his indictment for murder and war crimes.

    Ain't gonna happen (none / 0) (#16)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon May 11, 2009 at 04:18:02 PM EST
    unless a big chunk of Obama supporters start demanding it.  Even with a congressional investigation, we might get the mid-level instigators, but it looks like Obama will protect the high level criminals.

    Arthur Silber (none / 0) (#11)
    by jondee on Mon May 11, 2009 at 02:17:39 PM EST
    Has history and tradition all on his side: Kissinger has skated all these years; ditto for the Iran-Contra gangsters and the forgetful Teflon Ron; Nixon, who started media worries about the American people's "loss of confidence in our leaders" basically skated, as did those who worked behind the scenes to prevent the first October Suprise of an accord with North Vietnam before the '68 election. Also, as everyone should know by now, Americans above the rank of Lt. Calley dont commit war crimes. Ever.

    This is why Cheney feels so free to continue to grandstand and point fingers at those who aren't committed to "keeping us safe": he knows that the worst that can happen at the end of an investigation is that he and some others will look slightly slimier than they do now even as his brother thugs-in-arms exploit the situation to righteously fulminate about further "partisan"attempts to handcuff those defending the U.S.


    I think Cheney just ... (none / 0) (#7)
    by Robot Porter on Mon May 11, 2009 at 12:17:56 PM EST
    misses the spotlight.

    Maybe he'll just have to find another hunting buddy to shoot.

    no doubt true. (none / 0) (#14)
    by cpinva on Mon May 11, 2009 at 03:45:28 PM EST
    I think Cheney just misses the spotlight

    however, i think he's also certifiable, literally. he believes 24 is real life, not merely tv fiction. don't expect the release of the CIA IG's report, indicating no substantive data secured via "harsh" interrogation methods, to shut him up. he'll claim the report is a fraud, that they're all lying, he knows someone stole the strawberries!

    When Cheney says they did (none / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Mon May 11, 2009 at 08:37:29 PM EST
    everything they could to prevent a terrorist attack, you can interpret it as 'to prevent being blamed for another terrorist attack'. That is all it was ever really about in their minds. Their response to Katrina shows you how much they actually care about the American people when they don't expect to get blamed.

    I think this fear of getting the blame made them act in these extremely irrational and cruel ways, and then once they had ordered such heinous acts they had to convince themselves they were justified to even look in the mirror every day. I'm not convinced Bush ever got there - I think he carries a lot of shame.

    Armchair psychology aside, bring on the investigations. Let's hear him out. Maybe if Cheney calls for it, it will actually get done. Maybe he is still calling the shots.