Tag Archives: Dick Cheney

Is Dick Cheney Above the Law?

He obviously thinks he is. How else to explain his veiled threat not to co-operate with the probe of detainee interrogation? We already know he doesn’t like the probe. He’s called it partisan, says the techniques used by the CIA were legal and saved lives, blah blah, blah.

Yet when asked in a Fox News interview if he’d talk to prosecutor John Durham once the probe got started, here’s what Cheney said. “It will depend on the circumstances and what I think their activities are really involved in.” That would seem to mean he won’t talk to Durham unless he feels like it. Right now, that means he doesn’t feel like it.

What makes Cheney think he, as a former elected official, is empowered to thumb his nose at a legitimate inquiry? And why is he taking the position that anything the CIA did in the wake of September 11th was legal and warranted?

The former VP went on in the interview to mention how this investigation will demoralize the intelligence community. This is old stuff. He wants us to believe any look back at how the Bush Administration conducted the war on terror must be an organized plot by the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Some facts to keep in mind. President Obama has said only those who acted without legal authorization face the possibility of legal action. Both the president and Attorney General Eric Holder have said those who acted on legal advice from the Justice Dept. won’t be prosecuted.

And of course, there’s Cheney’s assertion that even those interrogators who went over the line provided crucial intelligence that saved the lives of Americans. Even Sen. John McCain got off the bus on that one. So you have to go back to the question, why? Why is Dick Cheney the point man on this? He wasn’t even president at the time, and the guy who was doesn’t talk nearly as much about it.

No, Dick Cheney has a personal stake in all this. Does he worry about a trail of illegality that stops at his door? Does he think there’s no way an investigation that hasn’t even begun yet can be fair to those involved? If the probe is political, what is his response to it?

Former Vice President Dick Cheney
Former Vice President Dick Cheney

Methinks this guy has much to hide, and he’s hiding behind the people at the CIA, the people who tried to do their jobs properly and legally. That is truly sad. Let me say this from the left wing of the Democratic Party. The investigation should go forward. If Cheney refuses to talk to the prosecutor, let the full weight of the law fall on his head. And if it turns out he broke the law, let him be prosecuted!

What’s wrong with that?

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Is Torture Probe Risk For Obama’s healthcare plan?

That’s how some media are describing the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to name a special prosecutor to look into CIA prisoner abuse cases. There are worries the fallout from Holder’s decision could distract attention from President Barack Obama’s continuing efforts to reform the healthcare system.

Eric Holder, President Obama
Eric Holder, President Obama

Why one would have anything to do with the other is for bigger media minds than mine. The Attorney General’s decision seems perfectly rational, and in fact the only thing he could do after new details emerged about “enhanced” interrogation techniques used after September 11th. President Obama is also correct in leaving the decision about what to do in Holder’s hands.

The AG acknowledged his decision would be controversial, but after all, that’s why he’s making the big money, isn’t it? The question now is whether those who have wanted accountability for torture during the Bush years will stand behind Holder as he takes flack for naming career prosecutor John Durham to head up this investigation.

As we’ve seen with healthcare, silence on the part of one side gives the other free rein to control the debate in the court of public opinion. And what will they say? Obama doesn’t care about national security, that he’s undermining morale at the CIA, that these allegations are old news.

And who will lead the charge? Could it be the Darth Vader of Bush era interrogation, Dick Cheney? They’ll trot him out, for sure. In fact, they won’t need to. He’ll start magically appearing on the Sunday talk shows again, and accuse the Obama Administration of offering aid and comfort to America’s enemies.

It’s all so predictable.

What can’t be predicted is whether those who side with justice on the issue of torture will be proactive, or just watch the firestorm from a distance. Let’s be clear. There is no excuse for linking healthcare to investigating torture.

Those who do so ought to be called on it immediately.

Progressives in this country don’t know their own strength. If seeing to it that suspects America detains in the future aren’t subjected to “enhanced” interrogation is important, get behind Holder and Obama. And then, push for the investigation to include not just the grunts who carried out these activities, but those who ordered them to do so, or looked the other way while it was happening.

None of this has the least little bit to do with keeping America safe. It’s about keeping America America.

What do you think? Is probing torture risky for President Obama’s healthcare reform?

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Is the GOP Fighting a Civil War?

Is it North vs. South all over again? Recent public statements seem to indicate moderate Republicans, mostly from the North and Midwest, are getting tired of their conservative, southern brethren.

Witness the recent shot across the bow by Ohio Senator George Voinovich. “We’ve got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns. The party is being taken over by southerners”, the outgoing senator says.

civil-war-soldiers1

Some of this is pushback from DeMint’s now infamous “Waterloo” statement regarding the Obama health care plan. Yet that doesn’t tell the whole story. The GOP has been steadily losing support in areas where just a few years ago, they did well in elections. Only in the South do they dominate, and that’s because they’re generally so conservative.

So what to do to stem the tide? As a progressive, I shouldn’t really care about this.

However, I do remember a time when the GOP was a very different party.

When I was coming up, people like Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, and Lowell Weicker were prominent figures in the Republican Party. Even now, there are moderates like Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe among the ranks of Republicans. Trouble is, their numbers are shrinking.

Part of the problem is that conservative Republicans have an army of support, not only in their home states, but among the right wing punditocracy that rules conservative talk radio and television. For some reason, even the mainstream media tends to overblow their importance to, for example, the confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. The mitigating circumstance there was the decision by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham to support the nomination.

The battle over health care reform has emboldened the conservative wing as well, as evidenced by De Mint’s  “Waterloo” remark.

The question is, at what cost? Can the conservative wing of the Republican Party actually expect to turn back the clock? Do they really think there’s any currency left in the ideology of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney?

Maybe conservative think tanks have convinced them it can happen. Maybe the tea parties, and the birthers, and the people clamoring for the status quo on health care can sway the American people one more time. I’m not betting on it, though.

One thing the conservative Republicans forgot all about was the economy.

To this day, there have been few bold proposals coming from the Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns of the world as to how that gets fixed. Without the vision to deal with that, the GOP could be a minority party for many years to come, no matter how many times they say “no”.

And the South would lose the war. Again.

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