Saturday, December 13, 2014

not-seeism gone wild: why ken even try to pretend obama took a page from wrecked'em's patriot playbook?


theatlantic |  Former Vice President Dick Cheney, the de-facto leader of the national-security team that failed to stop the most successful terrorist attack in U.S. history, is taking to the airwaves to defend the Bush Administration's subsequent torture of prisoners.

His Fox News interview rewards close scrutiny.

Early on, interviewer Bret Baier says, "The Feinstein report suggests that President Bush was not fully briefed on the program and deliberately kept in the dark by the CIA."
Dick Cheney denies this.

"Not true," he says. "Read his book. He talks about it extensively in his memoirs. He was, in fact, an integral part of he program. He had to approve it before we went forward .... We did discuss the techniques. There was no effort on our part to keep him from that." Cheney goes on to declare that "the men and women of the CIA did exactly what we wanted to have them do in terms of taking on this program."

Got that? Bush was fully briefed, and the CIA did exactly what Bush and Cheney asked. But attentive viewers would notice that Cheney subsequently contradicts himself.

Later in the interview, Baier notes a particularly depraved tactic. "At one point, this report describes interrogators pureeing food of one detainee and then serving it in his anus," he says, "something the agency called 'rectal rehydration.' I mean, is that torture?" (More to the point, did Bush and Cheney know about that? Is it "exactly" what they asked the CIA to do?) "I don't know anything about that specific instance," Cheney said. "I can't speak to that. I guess the question is, what are you prepared to do to get the truth about future attacks against the United States. Now, that was not one of the authorized or approved techniques. There were 12 of them, as I recall. They were all techniques we used in training on our own people."

So suddenly the White House wasn't fully briefed and the CIA went beyond what was authorized, using tactics that weren't "exactly what we wanted to have them do," and that Cheney implies he can't speak to and has never known about before.

Perhaps Cheney did know about "rectal rehydration," but is too ashamed or fearful of prosecution to admit it now. Explicitly defending the anal rape of prisoners is a bit much even for him. Or perhaps he really is just hearing about the tactic.

Either way, he story doesn't hold together. He can't have it both ways. Either the CIA hid depraved, unapproved tactics, or Cheney was perfectly okay with subjecting prisoners to anal rape. Perhaps Chuck Todd can ask him about this glaring discrepancy Sunday on Meet the Press. Until then, there is reason to suspect that, whatever Cheney knew, he doesn't have a moral problem with the anal rape of prisoners, a conclusion I draw from a succinct exchange later in the interview: