Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation, Ex-Vice President Cheney was finally interviewed by a competent interviewer and the results were revealing if not kind of shocking. The man lives in his own world only informed by his own views. So without further ado, here are his lunatic views or in other words, his answers to Bob Schieffer’s questions with my commentary:
TORTURE IS JUSTIFIED:
SCHIEFFER: You say that the (new) administration has made this country more vulnerable to attacks here in the homeland.
CHENEY: That’s my belief, based upon the fact, Bob, that we put in place those policies after 9/11. On the morning of 9/12, if you will, there was a great deal we didn’t know about Al Qaida. There was the need to embark upon a new strategy with respect to treating this as a strategic threat to the United States. There was the possibility of Al Qaida terrorists in the midst of one of our own cities with a nuclear weapon or a biological agent.
It was a time of great concern, and we put in place some very good policies, and they worked, for eight years. Now we have an administration that’s come to power that has been critical of the programs, but not only that, there’s been talk about prosecuting the lawyers in the Justice Department who gave us the opinions that we operated in accordance with, or referring them to the Bar Association for disbarment or sanctions of some kind, or possibly cooperating with foreign governments that are interested in trying to prosecute American officials, those same officials who were responsible for defending this nation for the last eight years.
STEVE: What he is saying here is that we put torture in place and it saved us and now you are trying to have these fine honorable American patriots who justified this thrown to the wolves. There of course was no intelligence to support any of this and he ran totally scared. If he could have he would have rounded up every American Muslim and torture them until they told him what he wanted to hear. Note there is a big difference between what you want to hear and what is true. I also want to focus on his words, “the lawyers in the Justice Department who gave us the opinions that we operated in accordance with…” “Gave” is the operative word here because as we now know they were legally deeply flawed and it was only through multiple iterations that Cheney and his lawyer, Addington, got the language the wanted in deeply flawed and later revoked memos.
CHENEY: Well, at the heart of what we did with the terrorist surveillance program and the enhanced interrogation techniques for Al Qaida terrorists and so forth was collect information. It was about intelligence. It was about finding out what Al Qaida was going to do, what their capabilities and plans were. It was discovering all those things we needed in order to be able to go defeat Al Qaida. And in effect, what’s happening here, when you get rid of enhanced interrogation techniques, for example, or the terrorist surveillance program, you reduce the intelligence flow to the intelligence community upon which we based those policies that were so successful.
STEVE: His argument here is that the only way you gather reliable quick intelligence is through torture. This has been debunked by just about everyone who is a trained interrogator. If you take his logic, torture should be the norm, not some aberration.
SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask you about that, because some people in the administration — believe the attorney general says he does not know of such memos. Other people in the administration say, as a matter of fact, what we found out using these methods — and I mean, let’s call things what they are — waterboarding was one of the techniques that were used — that they really didn’t get all that much from that. You say they did.
CHENEY: I say they did. Four former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency say they did, bipartisan basis.
Release the memos. And we can look and see for yourself what was produced.
The memos do exist. I have seen them. I had them in my files at one time. Now everything is part of the National Archives. I’m sure the agency has copies of those materials, and there’s a formal way you go through, once you’re a former official, a formal way you go through requesting declassification of something, and I started that process, as I say, six weeks ago. I haven’t heard anything from it yet. I assume…
STEVE: There is no doubt in my mind that Cheney got the memos he requested purporting to lay out all of the good information they got and the attacks that were prevented. The reason they will probably never see the light of day is because they were written for Cheney, at his bequest, and sadly like the intelligence to support weapons of mass destruction, were careful fabrications and stretching of truth. If these memos every do see the light of day, they will be debunked for the nonsense that fed Cheney what he wanted to hear.
SCHIEFFER: What do you say to those, Mr. Vice President, who say that when we employ these kinds of tactics, which are after all the tactics that the other side uses, that when we adopt their methods, that we’re weakening security, not enhancing security, because it sort of makes a mockery of what we tell the rest of the world?
CHENEY: Well, then you’d have to say that, in effect, we’re prepared to sacrifice American lives rather than run an intelligent interrogation program that would provide us the information we need to protect America.
The fact of the matter is, these techniques that we’re talking about are used on our own people. We — in a program that in effect trains our people with respect to capture and evasion and so forth and escape, a lot of them go through these same exact procedures. Now…
STEVE: When you cut through the bull and the denials, this program is justified anytime an American life is at risk. Had Cheney been around during WWII, torture would have been our method of choice. The other fiction here is the claim that we do this to our own people. Any description of the actual torture that took place is not even remotely close to the training our service men and women (and I) go through to prepare us for this treatment. It is sad that he thinks that if they do it, we do it.
SCHIEFFER: Do you — is what you’re saying here is that we should do anything if we could get information?
CHENEY: No. Remember what happened here, Bob. We had captured these people. We had pursued interrogation in a normal way. We decided that we needed some enhanced techniques. So we went to the Justice Department. And the controversy has arisen over the opinions written by the Justice Department.
The reason we went to the Justice Department wasn’t because we felt we were going to take some kind of free hand assault on these people or that we were in the torture business. We weren’t. And specifically, what we got from the Office of Legal Counsel were legal memos that laid out what is appropriate and what’s not appropriate, in light of our international commitments.
STEVE: The truth here is that the FBI was getting good information and then the CIA stepped in with untrained interrogators and began torturing because the Administration wasn’t hearing what they wanted. They then got the stuff they wanted and most of it was bogus. The second part of this is true self-deception. He would have you believe he went to the Justice Department to make sure they didn’t do anything that wasn’t legal. The reality was they went to the Justice Department to make the illegal, legal. Ask yourself why the bypassed all the normal reviews and channels crafting these memos, and why all the services legal chiefs opposed what they were doing.
SCHIEFFER: You — you are speaking out. You say you obviously feel passionately about this. How far are you willing to take this approach? Are you willing to go back to the Congress and talk to people in Congress about this? There are all kinds of people talking about various kinds of investigations. Would you go back and talk to the Congress?
CHENEY: Certainly. I’ve made it very clear that I feel very strongly that what we did here was exactly the right thing to do. And if I don’t speak out, then where do we find ourselves, Bob? Then the critics have free run, and there isn’t anybody there on the other side to tell the truth. So it’s important — it’s important that we…
STEVE: So what you have is an old scared little man who has defined the facts in a way to justify all the mistakes he made. Let us not forget that the information that led us to invade Iraq came from torture that later turned out to be bogus, but those 4000+ Americans who died was just collateral damage. He thinks the program saved hundreds of thousands of lives so the ends justified the means. The reality is the program prevented nothing, increase the ability of Al-Qaeda to recruit, and by our own general’s words in Iraq, led to more American deaths than any other action our government took. Dick Cheney will never admit or even understand the damage this frightened little man did to who we are and our country. But as the facts come out, maybe we the people will learn and important lesson that hopefully we will never forget.
THE REPUBLICAN PARTY:
SCHIEFFER: Colin Powell, Rush Limbaugh said the other day that the party would probably be better off if Colin Powell left and just became a Democrat. Colin Powell said Republicans would be better off if they didn’t have Rush Limbaugh out speaking for them. Where do you come down?
CHENEY: Well, if I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh, I think. I think my take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn’t know he was still a Republican.
SCHIEFFER: So you think that he’s not a Republican?
CHENEY: I just noted he endorsed the Democratic candidate for president this time, Barack Obama . I assumed that that is some indication of his loyalty and his interest.
SCHIEFFER: And you said you would take Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell.
CHENEY: I would.
STEVE: When you think one of the few people in the Republican Party who has any one’s respect anymore, Collin Powell, is an unfit Republican, then I guess that says about all there is to say about what is left of Dick Cheney and the Republican Party.