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Cheney v. Obama
This photo provided by CBS shows former Vice President Dick Cheney appearing on the CBS news show "Face the Nation," Sunday May 10, 2009, in Washington. (AP)

Former Vice President Dick Cheney appearing on the CBS News show "Face the Nation" on Sunday, May 10, 2009. (CBS/AP)

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was the most bunkered leader of the George W. Bush era.

Now, out of office, he’s the most public. In attack mode. Going after the Obama administration on national security. Aggressively defending coercive interrogation. Insisting it wasn’t torture. Suggesting that if it was, it was necessary.

He told Face the Nation’s Bob Schieffer this past Sunday: “If I don’t speak out, then where do we find ourselves? Then the critics have free run, and there isn’t anybody there on the other side, to tell the truth.” You can almost hear the former vice president saying, “The truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

As Republicans work to find a post-Bush/Cheney public image, and Obama works to make a new way, Cheney’s out there fighting for his legacy and his view of the world.

This hour, On Point: Dick Cheney, out of office and on the warpath.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guests:

From Washington we’re joined by Bart Gellman, diplomatic and Pentagon correspondent for The Washington Post. He is author of “Angler: The Dick Cheney Vice Presidency.”

Joining us from New York is Jane Mayer, staff writer for The New Yorker, where she writes on politics and the war on terror. She is author of “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals.”

And from Great Falls, Va., we’re joined by Mona Charen. She’s a nationally syndicated columnist and author of “Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got it Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First” and “Do-Gooders: How Liberals Harm Those They Claim to Help — and the Rest of Us.”

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  • Sam E.

    Well if this is a popularity contest I know would win. One thing I can’t help but wondering in the back of my head is would Obama still be massively more popular than Cheney if Obama advocated positions closer to Cheney’s and vice versa. Unfortunately, I think he would be. As a republican I actually think Cheney would have been a decent president but there’s no getting around it he’s the absolute worst politician ever he makes Nixon appear luminescent by comparison.

  • George Holoch

    Please have your panelists address the question of whether Cheney’s drumbeat of attacks is intended as a “preemptive” defense against eventual criminal charges for his illegal conduct.

  • Ted Auch

    I find it amazing that Dick is know asking for transparency when for 8 years he was diametrically opposed to the word. Moving forward is not possible until we prosecute Yoo, Addington, et al. Cheney’s argument that we are attacking the CIA is ludicrous as we are attacking the OLC and Cheney’s office for their legal writing. We can look into this as a country and do other things at the same time contrary to neocon positions.

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Let’s Connect the Dots:

    Douglas Feith’s Book: War and Decision
    Richard Haass; Yes, we invaded Iraq and there were no meetings within Bush Administration about invading Iraq and the reason for the Invasion.
    They are spinning one thing: Why did we Invade Iraq?

    Why did CIA destroy the tapes?
    Because they were tapes for manufacturing evidence about Why we invaded Iraq?

    Ali Mohamed Al-Fakheri, alias Ibn E-Sheikh El-Libi, committed suicide in his cell in Libya
    This guy was the biggest source of intelligence, why Iraq and El Qaeda were connected.
    Read CIA reports from 2002 which were used as basis to invade Iraq.
    During the Senate mandated CIA investigation in 2006, he claimed that he was misleading the investigators because he was being tortured.
    This guy’s testimony was the basis for Why we invaded Iraq. The El Qaeda Link!
    Since late 2001 Sheikh El-Libi was in CIA prisons in Egypt and Libya. Finally two weeks ago, he saw his family.
    Last week, after 7.5 years in captivity, Human Rights group has seen him. He knew he will see the daylight and at least be heard. A few days after the light of hope, he decides to commit suicide.
    Why, because he could testify that he was tortured for creating evidence ragarding Why we invaded Iraq?

    Since the earliest days of Humanity, all wars are well documented as well as the reason why they were fought.
    United States of America vs. Iraq is the only War for which the real reason is still unknown and not being asked.

  • Mike

    All cheney is trying to do is spin it from “torture is wrong and sign a treaty along with the moral aspects not to do it” along with that he try to change the law to enable him the ability to torture.

    To hey we got some good info and it was only done because of the doomsday set up(i mean over 80 times to one person alot of doomsday events). even know we had people testify yesterday saying everything he been saying is a lie.

    If this methods work so well give them to the police against drug-dealers, gangster, it could potentially save people. BUT we all know it was be abused to get people to say what a police officer wanted. the same would go with torturing prisoners.

    For the supporters of torture think if iran did this to our troops or than iranian/american born reporter to get her to say she was spying we and the world be up in arms to sanction, condemn them, do u think we believe the info they got from her?

    also think how do we have the moral high-ground or the ability to tell places like cuba that u cannot hold people without trials, or treat them inhumane yet do it ourselves for national security. People this is not the show 24

    a nation that gives up liberty for security deserves neither.

  • JP

    How about discussing how Cheney/Bush ousted thousands of years worth of experienced intelligence talent to clear out or intimidate all voices of opposition to Cheney/Bush policies.
    That didn’t exactly help to make our country safer, just as Cheney and the neocon’s war in Iraq has not made us safer… quite the opposite.

  • JP

    Cheney/Rumsfeld also did their best to oust all opposition from all brass within the Armed Services.

  • PW

    Smartest thing we (and the media) could do is ignore Cheney. Having been Joe Goebbels for more than eight years, he’s become another Joe the Plumber. Exile would probably be insufficient punishment for his sins, but — jeez! — someone get him outta here!

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Please everybody …

    Let’s not get lost in the argument that is not going to go anywhere. Torture is good, but we did it for the Good of the American Poeple. Case closed.

    American People’s attention span will die shortly, because they were not any party to the “torture”.
    But they were party to the Invasion with lost arms and legs and lives and billions.

    It is much easier to press on Why did the torture has happened. There has to be written contracts with outside “interrogation” companies; bonus structures based on How much the extracted testimony can be related to Iraq.

    Chris Matthews said: (on Torture-Iraq) “It fits like a glove”.

  • Micah

    Were we safe under the Bush Administration policies? Oh, that’s right, we were attacked and thousands of people died, then thousands more of us have died trying to prevent thousands more of us from dying.

    Micah
    Des Moines

  • Bruce

    Why would we expect anything else from the puppet master? He and George W are of the same mold: I made a decision, I don’t make mistakes and I’m sticking to that to my grave.

    I agree with PW, stop reporting on anything Cheney says (or Limbaugh for that matter). The only people listening are a small minority who only want to hear the ‘party line’ until whatever is said makes national news.

  • Joshua

    Cheney continues his fear mongering. Without his power he turns to the media for his voice.

  • Micah

    Also, Cheney literally and figuratively fails to see what is behind the thing he is shooting at.

    -Des Moines

  • Charlie

    Cheney cares about Cheney – and nothing else

    He is protecting his own self – from criminal prosecution for war crimes and violation of several federal statutes. His own inflated ego cannot fathom that his deception and treachery have been rejected.

  • sixerjman

    Dick Cheney should be rotting in some stinking overseas bagnio. I wish somebody would waterboard _his_ lying ass.

  • Fred Hegel

    Dick Cheney is the current incarnation of Dick Nixon. He holds the American electorate in contempt and considers himself to be one of the chosen leaders of mankind with no real respect for democracy.

  • chris belden

    Should we NOT have prosecuted the Japanese military for waterboarding? Should we say it’s OK for other countries to torture if they get “actionable intelligence”?

    Whatever happened to accountability? When a police officer shoots someone, whether it was appropriate or not, he is removed from active duty & an investigation is launched. If the shooting WAS appropriate–if the shot person was a direct threat– that officer is allowed to continue. If not, he is prosecuted. Why won’t these cowards –Cheney, Addington, Rumsfeld, et al–stand up & allow us to look into each & every case of torture they approved? Where were they when the Abu Ghraib photos came out? Didn’t they blame the grunts for being “bad apples”?

    Cowards!

  • Claire Williams

    Dick Cheney is being his usual arrogant self – he thinks everyone but himself is just stupid – and particularly the American public. He would never in his wildest dreams think that he (the Great One) would ever be prosecuted – after all he is always right and no one can touch him. He is delusional to the point of lunacy.

  • james in Providence

    Curious who the guests on this show were, I read a recent column Ms. Charen penned for The Jewish World Review:

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/charen050109.php3

    She schools us on the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding the “f-and s- words.” She warns us:

    “Liberals are always on the ramparts attempting to kneecap tradition and standards. . . the fact that these words have been so aggressively foisted upon us by Hollywood does not mean that they have lost their power to offend. I heard a linguist recently lecturing on the effect that hearing profanity produces in the brain. All sorts of hormones and chemicals are activated, whether we say we’re offended or not.”

    The Vice President, in the Senate chambers, said: Why don’t you go phuck yourself.

    Is Ms. Charen actually going to defend him?

  • Katherine Prum

    Cheney is a toxic, malevolent, fear mongering presence on the political scene. His media appearances are an obvious campaign against future war criminal prosecution, which he justly deserves. He’s agenda is to present himself and his rabid republican ideology as caring about preserving American safety when he’s really just interested in perpetuating fear as he has done throughout his career. It’s high time he went home and shut up.

  • Jesse

    Now out of office, does Dick Cheney receive daily security intelligence briefings? And, if not, isn’t he commenting from intelligence that is 3 months old?

  • Lyndsay

    When his own party was in power, Cheney was unpopular, untrustworthy, downright nasty, and seen as a politician that uses fear as a motivational tactic. Now, knowing all of this, why is his opinion worth anything to anyone? Not even George W. is speaking out, why should Cheney? He is making the Republican party look worse and worse, and Obama knows this and has no need to dignify this monster with a response.

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Dick Cheney is really scared.

    They really thought that a another friend would be in the White House. He knows, down deep Obama wishes to see them all in a jail cell and gradually people will come forward and fingers will be pointed at him.

    We have to concentrate on the “Motive” for the torture. “Keeping America safe” is just a cover-up.

    Imagine they captured lots of people in late 2001; and then they bomb the hell out of Afghanistan. In a war zone, things change many many times in one month. And then more than 14 months of total isolation from the outside world, they are trying to extract information from detainees about the Past. What kind of excuse is that to torture people.

  • Erin

    During the Bush administration, they claimed no one could have anticipated 9/11 even though those who study terrorism knew writing was on the wall. Then, they cranked the terror alert level up to Orange every few weeks to cover themselves. Now, he’s saying that the “next big attack,” which they’ve been saying WILL happen since 9/12, will be Obama administration policy’s fault? That’s incredibly opportunistic and cynical.

  • Beth

    I find it hard to believe that Bart and others are getting away with saying that Cheney is motivated ONLY BY GOOD and the power of his “principles.” I would like to hear an argument that really backs that up. It seems a lot more likely that he (and all the others who are saying the same things) is stirring up support for the Republican party.

  • Dennis Kerr

    Please call me KD on the air if it goes on.

    I don’t pretend to speak for the US Army or my fellow soldiers, but…

    Without doing a darn thing, President Barack Obama has made my job as a soldier much easier. Too many people in the Muslim world believe we are at war with Islam.

    The people in Africa who we need win over to support our commercial interests, promote our values, and partner to resist extremist terrorism were antagonistic to us last year. This year they wave and smile!!

    Also, President Obama is also improving national security by rebuilding our national security infrastructure that was privatised to contractors. Oh yeah, wasn’t it the contractors who make people hate my fellow soldiers unfairly?

    Everything that the private contractors did ended up reflecting badly on us soldiers. That is not fair to the people in the service, and to the people who think their taxes are paying for increased security.

  • Bruce

    Surely even former VPs have the right to free speech in a democracy…I don’t recall hearing anyone complain when Al Gore attempted to sway public opinion on a policy issue that HE felt strongly about!

  • http://www.bcradvertising.com Jim Baldwin

    Dick Cheney (who was really in charge during the Bush years) was and thanks to the media still is a very dangerous man precisely because he is intelligent and a zealot. His arrogant foreign policies increased not decreased our danger level. He and his administration ran roughshod over such minor things as, well, the Constitution. Thanks to his policies other nations became distanced from us. He lied to the nation. He left probably the biggest domestic and foreign policy mess in history on Obama’s plate. To hear him now simply brings back the pain and, thanks to the media, the danger he represents. The Obama administration should simply ignore him. The media should do us and the world a favor and remove his soap box.

  • Tim Morse

    For motivation: does Cheney think that the only way that far right Republicans can come back into power is if the US is attacked by terrorists and Obama is blamed?

  • Bruce Davis

    The new face of the Republican Party: Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh.

  • Beth

    I think KD’s point is a really good one. I hope Tom discusses it on air.

  • David Nemon

    I think to get to the bottom of this and to discover if Cheney is telling the truth is to subject him to some of his approved techniques, and see what the previous administration really knew…

  • KAM

    I’m a Republican. I think the Cheney doctrine is wrong. But it was 38 minutes after the top of the hour before we at last heard anyone mention 9/11, and then only obliquely “if there is another terrorist attack.”

    Jane Mayers said that it is “so unusual” for a former VP to come off the reservation. Unlike that wallflower Al Gore!?

    And–surprise, surprise–Mona Charen, the only person on Cheney’s side has received, what, 90 seconds of air time.

  • JP

    If there is another terror attack in the US, it will be Cheney/Bush’s fault beacause they took us to an unfounded war in Iraq instead of using all that money and effort to secure our borders and ports.

    They should have been building international cooperation for terrorist surveillance activities instead of tearing cooperation apart.

    And most certainly, they should not have ousted the thousands of years worth of intelligence talent that disagreed with Cheney/Bush policy… that talent was and is sorely needed.

  • Lisa Harkey

    The point made by one speaker is the most pertinant – Whether torture works or not is of no importance – what we need to decide is what kind of country are we? It is very easy to have high moral principles when things are going well. It is when things are not going well, when there is fear or panic that we reveal how much we actually believe in those principles. If it were easy to be moral and humane under threat, then there would not be so much inhumane activity in the world. We need our leaders to remain strong and embrace our values when there is a mob panic to throw them out.

  • Anne Kilgore

    why are you giving this war criminal a platform. I was living in Cambridge in 2002-2003 and remember your beating the drum for that disasterous war. I’ve never heard you apologize for your role in selling it, and I assume you’re broadcasting these treasonous attacks from the person who DIDN’T keep america safe. does Cheney want to give Obama one “do over”?

  • http://www.TommyeKMayer.com Tommye Mayer

    Why are you devoting an hour to Cheney. He’s no more than a bully exposed for the fraud he is shouting like a sullen kid, “it did too-oo work. It did too-oo.

    If you ignored him he skulk back into his undisclosed hiding place & maybe someone would roll a rock in front of the door so he’d stay there.

  • Daniel Franks

    Cheney is a protege of the Nixon administration and as such, is acting like Nixon did before he finally came to his senses and realized his best choice was to resign.

  • Bruce

    Surely even former VPs have the right of free speech… I don’t remember any outcry when Al Gore sought to sway public opinion on a subject HE felt strongly about.

  • Beth

    David Nemon: yes! :)

  • Mari

    Katherine wrote: “Cheney is a toxic, malevolent, fear mongering presence on the political scene.” I couldn’t say it any better.

    Jon Stewart does the best imitation of this hideous creep by mimicking Darth Vader whenever Cheney’s name is mentioned.

    Ignore this former “eminence grise”. Even Torquemada and his Inquisition died off, eventually. So will Cheney and his backasswards philosophy of “torture ‘em ’til they squeal” as a substitute for effective foreign policy.

  • Beth

    Freedom of speech does not mean your words will not be criticized.

    If anything, this segment is much too soft on Cheney.

  • Jacki

    Obama is campaigning even when he’s not — the republicans are no different.

    Cheney’s actions are an example of the republican attempt to derail Obama’s popularity, making him seem naive and weak — unable to keep the US safe.

    The longer this issue stays in the limelight the less political capital Obama will have.

  • SUSAN MONTGOMERY

    I liken the Cheney statement to “I have a deer whistle on my car and I haven’t hit a deer for seven years”. Is it the whistle or is it that no deer came in my path?

  • MJ Bland

    Torture is against international law. Why is it that the US feels it is above the law? Can any US citizen simply decide the law doesn’t apply to them in a given situation and not be prosecuted? The debate also highlights the fact that our two party system does not work. Everything is broken down along party lines and the good of the country, the will of the people and what is morally right is never considered. It is only Democratic vs. Republican ideas.

  • BHA

    I am SO sick of Cheney and Bush fear mongering. It is how W. got a second term and why tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens, US and allied soldiers are now dead. Fear is the way they have to ‘make’ their case since all the only facts that exist point to to them being wrong. Al Quaeda in Iraq would never have come to be without the help of W. Bush and Cheney invading a country that while run by a ruthless dictator was not a current threat to us or the countries in the middle east.

    And I skip right past Ms. Charon’s column when it is in the paper. She is so far from my sensibilities, there is no reason to read the drivel.

  • Lilya Lopekha

    Carl Levin’s Senate Report … the one that was published two weeks ago

    It has many reference to the Bonus system, but it does not go into details. Are these documented? What was the motive; what were the Objective?

    Why can’t we see the details. It cannot be related to National Security. Let’s see the payment/bonus structure for the Outside Contractors and Companies who led the CIA internals towards that path.

  • Rhea Hoch

    Besides the fact that I’m extremely uncomfortably w/the knowledge that my tax dollars have previously & possibly are now, and may yet be -paying an interrogator to hurt someone, I find it interesting that no one is curious as to who these individuals are.

    Frankly anyone willing to hurt someone, for money, isn’t someone I want walking around free amongst the rest of us. I would no more want my next door neighbor to be one of these interrogators, than I would want to them to be a child molester!

    Additionally, sanctioning “torture” has surely doomed any of our troops, captured in the field, to a very grim realty, indeed.

  • YAZ

    If there is another terror attack in the US, it will be Cheney/Bush’s fault beacause they took us to an unfounded war in Iraq instead of using all that money and effort to secure our borders and ports.

    They should have been building international cooperation for terrorist surveillance activities instead of tearing cooperation apart.

    And most certainly, they should not have ousted the thousands of years worth of intelligence talent that disagreed with Cheney/Bush policy… that talent was and is sorely needed.

  • Bruce

    To Beth, re free speech: this discussion was not framed as “is DC right?” but as “what is his motive and should he be doing it?”

  • manoog in Providence

    Firstly, The new administration to have completed an analysis of the past administration and legislature for any oversight and opportunity the otherwise obvious which could protect and secure our nation.
    IF this was actionable in the first 234 days of the Bush administration, the cataclysm which befell our nation on the 21st month of the 21st century may have been prevented.
    TO possibly jeopardize our position in Iraq and Afghanistan with our own self-examination is non-starter. On the contrary, it is this very ability to do so that make this country great and not feared as much as foreign despots who would crumble under such scrutiny.
    FINALLY, wake up On Point and realize that the former vice president, able to get a man he shot in the face to apologize to him is simple trying to get a similar apology from the American people to whom he once swore an oath to serve. The question is; has that oath ever truly been upheld or did it just expire when he rolled out of office, never to even visit one wounded soldier as had the present administration apriori oath taking.

    manoog, providence
    p.s. Failing to ‘stick the dismount’ of the past hour, On Point failed to include the past week’s very telling commentary of the former VP on network TV when he all but revealed that he not only knew what was going on, but stumbled harshly unsure that his “boss” the President knew as much as himself, when he (Bush) became aware, or if the President knew at all!

  • Marc

    Iraq was a stupid thing to get involved in and Bush and Cheney screwed up on so many levels.

    However.

    It’s hard to believe that torture doesn’t result in useful information. That people will say anything to stop the torture doesn’t mean what they say can’t be cross checked with others, or combined with other data to get a good picture of what is happening. It’s a tool, and my guess is a very effective one with people who know how to use it.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s justified. There are a lot of downsides – immoratlity, America’s standing in the world, the illegality of it, are all significant.

    But I never hear a rational, complete discussion of it. I hear one-sided, incomplete views from people who seem willing to twist any fact, to win their argument.

  • Putney Swope

    I find it so interesting how now that the Republicans are out of power and in a dependence of power, that they now start to act like they are the victims. Mona Charen kept bemoaning that only one side of the issue was being heard. She also used the devise of changing the subject and spinning it so Cheney looked like the victim here.
    I found her too be condescending and her lack of morals in regards to torture was quite scary.

    I seem to remember that in the ramp up to illegal invasion of Iraq that ever right wing pundit and politician in this country shut down any form of dissent or viewpoints that were not in keeping with their part line.

    Now that the shoe is on the other foot she is crying foul? Shame on her.

  • david

    The press lives in pure fear of Vice President Cheney.

  • JP

    David,
    You’re right… the press should get past their fear of Cheney and start slamming him with the truth and confront him about all of his lies.

  • http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/91.htm Lucius Ringwald

    In morning’s program, Mona Charen tried to reframe the issue of torture in atomistic terms like how many people were waterboarded, or how many times their noses filled with water. This reflects a broader strategy from the pro-torture camp of detracting from the substantive legal and moral issues at stake, in favor of rearranging the proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic.

    To me, the broader issue here is that of order versus anarchy, and democracy pitted against dictatorial ambitions. Our former Vice President claimed exemption from any legal constraints, and used his office to covertly promote a political model that undermines the very sanctity of our system of government.

    From Valerie Plame to the NSA wiretap scandal, from WMDs in Iraq to the preemptive strike doctrine, from detaining US antiwar protesters in “free speech zones” to indefinitely detaining prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cheney has shown that he is willing to do “whatever it takes,” even if it means throwing out the U.S. Constitution like an old pair of shoes. He even had the audacity to attempt an end-run around all US laws by claiming that the Vice President is a “fourth branch” of government that is not accountable to the other three.

    By the same token, Cheney has deceived the American public and Congress on numerous occasions. His rap sheet includes knowingly falsifying intelligence reports in order to build a case for war in Iraq, but this is barely the tip of the iceberg. His disregard for the Separation of Powers smacked of treason, as Washington and Jefferson might concur if they were alive today.

    Now, after years of defending a vision of the Executive Branch as autocratic institution that drives US policy in spite of laws or public opinion, Cheney is attacking Obama for forwarding two policies that are anathema to his own. First, the policy of transparency, which gives credence to the American people’s ability to make informed choices which influence policy; and second, the policy of accountability that represents Obama’s respect for the law of the land. Lucky for Cheney, no one–including President Obama–currently has the “political capital” to hold him culpable for his many crimes against the United States of America.

    To me, Dick Cheney has been the single greatest threat to the sanctity of the US political system that this nation has ever faced. This “broader issue” argument isn’t allowed into the current political debate, maybe so that no one has to admit how close the U.S. government came to a total political implosion under Bush and Cheney’s cowboy-style leadership. I’m just amazed that Americans made it to 2008 with so many of our civil liberties intact.

  • Frederic C.

    In a government, ‘of by and for the people,’ we shouldn’t reserve our anger for Cheney and his kind.

    Cheney et. al., performed a service by testing the boundaries of power, by pushing too far and breaking some laws.

    Dick Cheney, ‘stress tested the Constitution,’ and well the prognosis is mixed.

  • Frederic C.

    …well, the…

  • Dennis

    Torture has but one goal – revenge. Post 9/11 saw the best of times and the worst of crimes in America; we witnessed a nation justly united in purpose and principle to respond militarily to a clear and present danger manifested by the Taliban – al-Qaida connection in Afghanistan, but we also mutely observed the fermentation of an unchecked lynch mob mentality at the highest levels of the U.S. government. By every international standard, by every legal definition, by every moral code, what was allowed to occur unilaterally under a unified executive was a criminal act of unsurpassed magnitude and demands Justice. America has faced a daunting challenge – how to balance righteous retribution against ruthless revenge. We now find ourselves at another crossroads, do we uphold the Constitution at the risk of an already polarized political climate or do we allow crippling fear to further paralyze our national Conscience. The defenders of torture have attempted to justify their erroneous decisions and heinous actions using baseless innuendo and paranoid delusions, and are relying on our distaste for self-examination to further hide from the Truth and delay Justice. But even more damning than this, they allowed others to be charged and prosecuted for executing their unlawful orders. As Americans, we should all be profoundly disturbed that our government would ever adopt the practices of those whom we have identified as the “Axis of Evil”. To ignore the lessons of history, to ignore the rallying cry to seek Justice against those that would so nonchalantly circumvent the Constitution, to let bygones be bygones because it is otherwise more convenient and expedient, in and of itself criminally validates a wrong doing, and therefore nullifies the honor and principles that have sustained and preserved our Republic for more than two centuries. The black hole of moral decrepitude that has stained our national Conscience belies a heart of darkness that is beguiling, and one which we must never surrender our common sense or uncommon virtue.
    The commonly heard excuse chanted by the Bush administration posse has been that the revealing of CIA memos by the Obama administration was motivated purely by anti-policy pettiness. This is the epitome of hypocrisy and hubris. These charges are being issued from an administration that illegally revealed the identity of a CIA agent in order to exact political retribution, that unlawfully spied on its own citizens, that disgracefully perpetuated falsehoods about WMDs and imminent threats in order to execute a proxy war, that intentionally used fear and patriotism as weapons against those who would dare to exercise their Constitutional Rights to voice a dissenting opinion, incarcerated American citizens in foreign captivity and exposed them to torture, and willfully violated the tenants of the Geneva Convention. Had our cowboy President simply decided to ride quietly into the sunset, then I might have been amenable to allow History to serve as the final arbiter. But the blinding arrogance of the Bush administration is only surpassed by their belligerent ignorance. Where was the outrage from the Republican Party when they subjected the American taxpayers to the kangaroo circus of the Clinton Impeachment hearings claiming that to ignore his obfuscation to incriminate himself for a marital indiscretion was tantamount to a Constitutional crisis? Why did the Bush administration use the Clinton administration as a scapegoat for virtually every failure that they oversaw instead of letting bygones be bygones? It is because they are hypocrites, they are on the wrong side of History, and they do not want to answer for their high crimes and misdemeanors.
    On January 20, 2009, Barak Hussein Obama swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. He did not swear to fulfill his constitutional obligations only when it was politically convenient. Amongst the many words of wisdom that my father instilled within me were, “Leaders make ways, not excuses.” I hope and pray that like our first President, President Obama is able to establish a clear precedent that America, however imperfect, will always do that which is Right and Just, regardless of cost. To do otherwise will be to subject Americans once again to the fear tactics of McCarthy-like recriminations; to risk being maligned as being unpatriotic, labeled as a traitor, or even worse – a terrorist sympathizer, appeaser, and abettor. I agree that the sooner that we close the dark chapter of the Bush administration, the better. But we cannot relegate the Truth to little more than a footnote. Let us not succumb again to their dark soliloquy of fear and deception, but instead lift the veil of ignorance and superstition to once again bask in the sunlight of Freedom and Justice. Let Freedom ring once again. Let the Truth set us free from Fear. Let us not forget the past, but to learn from our mistakes, no matter how tragic, uncomfortable, or problematic. Let us be proud that we live in a land that practices what it preaches – We Do Not Torture.

  • Ben

    One thing I don’t hear much mention of is the possibility that the Republican party is putting Cheney out there to loudly make the case that Obama is decreasing the security of the country, so that if there is a terrorist attack then they can blame the Democrats and regain popularity with voters. Cheney seems better-suited to take on this role than others because most of the public finds the assertion that Democrats are leaving us open to terrorist attacks as a kind of fear-mongering (which I agree with). Letting Cheney do the fear-mongering allows the viewpoint to be out there without the stigma of fear-mongering attaching to any sitting Republican politician.

  • Charles L. Brooks

    Mr. Cheney as well as those who agree with him can use the Freedom of Information Act to get these documents released by the Obama administration. If Mr. Cheney actually wanted some or all of the materials from the Bush administration released he would have asked on day one. Thus, I conclude his chatter is just political rhetoric.

  • http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20080919.html Lucius

    Re: “..The defenders of torture have attempted to justify their erroneous decisions and heinous actions using baseless innuendo and paranoid delusions, and are relying on our distaste for self-examination to further hide from the Truth and delay Justice. But even more damning than this, they allowed others to be charged and prosecuted for executing their unlawful orders…”

    Good catch! I had almost forgotten about Charles Graner, Lyndee England, and other personnel trained in sexual humiliation by MI personnel as part of Rumsfeld’s secret torture program. While none of these players were innocent, for years they were made pariahs as the supposed “few bad apples” behind the Abu Ghraib photos.

    As to the comment about how the Cheneys of the world perform an important service by “stress testing” the Constitution now and then, this makes as much sense to me as firing a gun at your head every few weeks to make sure it isn’t jammed. If it is jammed, great! If not… well, it’s too late to realize that this was never a theory worth testing.

    Might it be wiser to shore up blind spots in the U.S. government which paved the way for Cheney & Co.’s assault on civil liberties and the separation of powers? Otherwise we may fail the next “stress text” and find out what a true dictatorship is like.

  • http://www.ActiveSynapse.com Daryn Guarino

    Why is Cheney talking? Because when the prosecution comes for him, and I pray it is soon, his lawyers will absolutely silence him. Cheney knows he must speak now because he won’t be allowed to speak publicly once the prosecution starts. He is merely a war criminal and war profiteer trying to stay out of jail. Since leaving the country is out of the question, thank you Spain, I look forward to his eventual prosecution or his suicide.

  • Sundev

    Cheney taking such an outspoken role defending torture reminds me of the child who stole all the cookies and, when the subject comes up of who stole all the cookies, proceeds to start screaming, “It wasn’t me!! I didn’t do it!!”. It’s so transparent, I’m surprised the media hasn’t really caught on, apart from a select few.

  • http://blog.fromwembleypark.com Lyn

    Why are liberals STILL scared of former VP Cheney? And they’re so delusional, too. There is not ever going to be a trial of Mr. Cheney or former Pres. GW Bush. They will never stand before any judge or panel of judges. No, not in the Hague, not in Spain, nowhere.

    Abu Gharib, Bagram, and parts unknown; waterboarding; rendition: all these things are disgusting. I don’t care about the Arabs and Africans who suffered, but out of concern for Americans who might suffer from these things.

    My comment here is to express my contempt for liberals’ arrogance. Your chimp Obama is much more foolish, incompetent, and corrupt than any Republican past or present.

  • Mike

    Like the answer to Linsey G, will be the answer to some on here. when Linsey G stated that well torture must work since we been doing it for a long time.

    the cia men applied because it is easier to hit someone then use your mind.

    the same can be shown ,abuses in law enforcement to civilain, minorities , child abuse where people use violences/torture to get the outcome they want from others.

    think if we can torture for national defense and security than any other country friend or foe can say and use this standard.

  • Mike

    the comment aboves mine show the extremist side that still presist in america, and inorances, and blind following and thinking that is the same thinking our enemies have.

    very sad, but on the bright side these oddly distorted views are in the minority, may our democracy have the abiltiy to stand up to such low-lifes like cheeney

  • david

    It’s alarming to see the left try to silence anyone that is critical of the administration. I can remember back during last eight years, when we were at war, the left did nothing but critize the administration. It’s sad to see the liberal or progressive movement being taken over by the radicals. Not since the 1950′s when President Truman started the hunt for communists in the government have we seen such attacks on free speech.

  • TheNads

    We need a Nuremburg-like trial for the Bush Administration people. We keep hearing the same arguments from Cheney that we heard after WWII: people were just following orders, they were simply doing their duty, they were doing what they thought was right.

    Except none of that matters if what you did was wrong. If you believe robbing a bank is the only way that you can save your wife and family, are you justified in doing it?

    Cheney and his henchmen probably broke the law and need to be held responsible, with all the weight of the law and society thrown on them. A Nuremburg-like trial is just what we need for these people.

  • Joe B.

    Vice President Cheney did what he needed to do keep this country safe. Our nation has not been attacked Sept.11, 2001 and that is no coincidence. It is due to the hard work and diligence of our of the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the N.S.A., our troops in Afganistan and Iraq, and Dick Cheney. They took the necessary steps to prevent Alqaeda from carrying out more terrorist attacks here in America, and for this they deserve be given the thanks and praise that we all owe to them.

  • Mike

    “chenney kept our country safer?”

    lets see under his and bushes watch we had sept 11th, pre-m war (based on lies) over 4k troops killed, over 100k iraqie civilians killed,world opioin of U.S. morals at its lowest(wonder why) promoted outsourcing American jobs, military obligations, (black-water) in iraq and hired contractors to help torture,

    Should the U.S. to be a nation that doesnt even obeys the laws it forces on other nations to do. enabled iran to become even stronger, cold war talk against russia, for georigas crazy actions, outed cia who disagreed, blow a cia agent cover for political proposes, politicizes the justice department, tainted the civil liberality department,war on islam, deregulation and drained the regulator ability to do there job,dont forget our economy as well.

    cant see how some would feel safe under Cheney watch.

  • William Wielert

    Why should we listen to Dick Cheney? Everyone knows he can’t shoot straight.

  • Jairam Seshadri

    I am still on the floor rolling and reeling (even after 7 hours!) from Tom Ashbrooke’s comment about Cheney not being done politically and perhaps wishes to ride the Palin-Cheney Ticket.
    :)

  • Bob French

    Here’s my question: where is the downside in Pres Obama inviting Mr. Cheney to the White House to describe definitively where the torture worked (with facts)? Surely there is a way to call his hand.

    Bob

  • scott lindberg

    From TPM

    So, when I got home last night, I thought long and hard about what I knew at this point in my investigations with respect to the former VP’s office. Here it is.

    First, more Americans were killed by terrorists on Cheney’s watch than on any other leader’s watch in US history. So his constant claim that no Americans were killed in the “seven and a half years” after 9/11 of his vice presidency takes on a new texture when one considers that fact. And it is a fact.

    There was absolutely no policy priority attributed to al-Qa’ida by the Cheney-Bush administration in the months before 9/11. Counterterrorism czar Dick Clarke’s position was downgraded, al-Qa’ida was put in the background so as to emphasize Iraq, and the policy priorities were lowering taxes, abrogating the ABM Treaty and building ballistic missile defenses.

    Second, the fact no attack has occurred on U.S. soil since 9/11–much touted by Cheney–is due almost entirely to the nation’s having deployed over 200,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and not to “the Cheney method of interrogation.”

    Those troops have kept al-Qa’ida at bay, killed many of them, and certainly “fixed” them, as we say in military jargon. Plus, sadly enough, those 200,000 troops present a far more lucrative and close proximity target for al-Qa’ida than the United States homeland. Testimony to that fact is clear: almost 5,000 American troops have died, more Americans than died on 9/11. Of course, they are the type of Americans for whom Cheney hasn’t much use as he declared rather dramatically when he achieved no less than five draft deferments during the Vietnam War.

    Third–and here comes the blistering fact–when Cheney claims that if President Obama stops “the Cheney method of interrogation and torture”, the nation will be in danger, he is perverting the facts once again. But in a very ironic way.

    My investigations have revealed to me–vividly and clearly–that once the Abu Ghraib photographs were made public in the Spring of 2004, the CIA, its contractors, and everyone else involved in administering “the Cheney methods of interrogation”, simply shut down. Nada. Nothing. No torture or harsh techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator. Period. People were too frightened by what might happen to them if they continued.

    What I am saying is that no torture or harsh interrogation techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator for the entire second term of Cheney-Bush, 2005-2009. So, if we are to believe the protestations of Dick Cheney, that Obama’s having shut down the “Cheney interrogation methods” will endanger the nation, what are we to say to Dick Cheney for having endangered the nation for the last four years of his vice presidency?

    Likewise, what I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002–well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion–its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa’ida.

    So furious was this effort that on one particular detainee, even when the interrogation team had reported to Cheney’s office that their detainee “was compliant” (meaning the team recommended no more torture), the VP’s office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods. The detainee had not revealed any al-Qa’ida-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, “revealed” such contacts. Of course later we learned that al-Libi revealed these contacts only to get the torture to stop.

    There in fact were no such contacts. (Incidentally, al-Libi just “committed suicide” in Libya. Interestingly, several U.S. lawyers working with tortured detainees were attempting to get the Libyan government to allow them to interview al-Libi….)

    Less important but still busting my chops as a Republican, is the damage that the Sith Lord Cheney is doing to my political party.

    He and Rush Limbaugh seem to be its leaders now. Lindsay Graham, John McCain, John Boehner, and all other Republicans of note seem to be either so enamored of Cheney-Limbaugh (or fearful of them?) or, on the other hand, so appalled by them, that the cat has their tongues. And meanwhile fewer Americans identify as Republicans than at any time since WWII. We’re at 21% and falling–right in line with the number of cranks, reprobates, and loonies in the country.

    When will we hear from those in my party who give a damn about their country and about the party of Lincoln?

    When will someone of stature tell Dick Cheney that enough is enough? Go home. Spend your 70 million. Luxuriate in your Eastern Shore mansion. Shoot quail with your friends–and your friends.

    Stay out of our way as we try to repair the extensive damage you’ve done–to the country and to its Republican Party.

    – Lawrence Wilkerson

  • Putney Swope

    david I am on left and I am very critical of Obama’s administration. At this point he wont get my vote again.

    His handling of the financial crisis and the people he has hired (Geithner and Summers) is very disappointing. Wit the two wars he has inherited I am also not happy with what’s going on in this arena.

  • Putney Swope

    Let me rephrase that with spelling corrections:

    david, I am on left. I am also very critical of the Obama administration. At this point he might not get my vote again.

    His handling of the financial crisis and the people he has hired (Geithner and Summers) is very disappointing. With the two wars he has inherited I am also not happy with what’s going on in this arena and what seems to be bad judgment on both fronts.

  • Maureen

    Listening to the woman (too weary to look up her name) who is saying we need an “open debate” as to whether there are any scenarios in which torture is “justifiable” … I am trying not to vomit.

    That is simply it. Is there no visceral, human reaction to the thought of one human being torturing another? I shake myself, trying to believe this is a conversation in the 21st century. If not this, what is left to be offended by? Will we find justification for rape, abuse, infanticide? Is there no line we can draw at which we say: I would sooner choose a dignified death than commit this act?

    Let me say it: I am an American that would sooner die in a terrorist attack than watch my government torture a single person. The irony is, of course, this is not a choice we have to make … to the contrary, the safety and humanity of us all are intricately intertwined.

    Can this woman honestly articulate this idea without making even herself ill? If this is a debate, there is no soul in this country left to defend.

  • Edward Helmrich

    I think that Dick Cheney will be vindicated by history: we will see that the destruction of the U.S. is being brought about by it’s unrepentant destruction of unborn human life. And, like the anti-slavery politicians before the Civil War, we will see the pro-life administration of Bush / Cheney as having been correct.

  • http://wnyc.org Victoria Sant

    I have a cousin who is buying property on the western slope of the Rockies so he can see the Asians and Blacks as they rise up and come to kill the
    Whites, of which he is one.
    Don’t we all have a cousin or an uncle like that? Though they’re bullies in a conversation, they usually have little power and don’t do too much harm. It’s frightening to have a whacko doomsday zealot in a position of power, still, after all these years, still frightening us, still bullying us.

  • Arnold

    I don’t see how the previous administration has a choice but to defend themselves under the attack of the selective transparency of the current administration. Obama’s only releasing memos that serve his own purposes. Obama’s invoking state secret privilege and using extraoradinary rendition even more so than Bush.

    These issues need to be debated and both sides need to be represented. This is healthy for our democracy.

  • Joe B.

    The fact of the matter is that I felt much safer under Bush/Cheney than I do under Obama/Biden. Bush and Cheney were concerned with protecting Americans. Obama and Biden are concerned with protecting terrorists.

  • Maureen again

    re: “Dick Cheney, ’stress tested the Constitution,’ and well the prognosis is mixed.”

    The next time you are arrested in a foreign country, held without trial, sent to a detention center, tortured, and then released after SEVEN YEARS because they didn’t any evidence against you (as happened to five Algerian-born men arrested in Bosnia and held in Guantanamo) … GIVE THANKS that country is testing the boundaries of its constitution.

    If you can. Because if that nation is like the U.S., you may actually have been tortured to death by this point. (reference: http://www.democracynow.org/2009/5/14/human_rights_investigator_attorney_john_sifton)

  • Maureen once again

    re: “I don’t care about the Arabs and Africans who suffered, but out of concern for Americans who might suffer from these things.”

    Shame on you.

  • Mike

    along with this
    senate hearing

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap0spQ2dkNw

    i hoped to maybe hear u play this clip and response showing gram to be false and these pro-torturers along.

    maybe the republicans want chenney to speak out so they can back him and maybe use it to sway people to there party

  • Mike
  • http://myspace.com/transmaterial Lucius

    I wasn’t aware that this was a pro-choice/pro-life debate, but I’ll bite (in spite of myself)…

    I could appreciate the Bush/Cheney claim to a grand “pro-life vision for America” if not for three facts:

    1) They are both ardent supporters of the death penalty, which to me is the ultimate hypocrisy in anyone claiming the “pro-life” title

    2) Bush and Cheney engaged in an elaborate, treasonous plan to deceive members of US Intelligence agencies, Congress and the American public. Their actions have caused thousands to die in Iraq, while fueling civil unrest in both Iraq and Pakistan. Incidentally, Cheney was a leading figure in the Project for a New American Century, a think-tank that planned for Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq long before 9/11.

    3) They didn’t value American lives enough to respond to the classified intelligence report “Bin Laden Determined to Strike within the U.S.,” issued shortly before the 9/11 attacks. This report, for those who don’t know, detailed Osama Bin Laden’s plan to hijack planes and fly them into major metropolitan landmarks within the United States. Any proclaimed “success” against terrorism after this cataclysmic failure has been too little, too late.

    PS: Apologies for bringing this back to Dick Cheney, but find an abortion forum if that’s what you want to talk about!

  • karen thomas

    I listen to WOSU most of the day while I work, but had to turn off ON POINT 5/14 because of supreme anger. Why are you giving this schmo air time–helping him work his way into the Whitehouse down the road? He and his sidekick already have just about brought this country down and should be in prison. Instead this country pays them a generous retirement, which many of us will not have.
    Starting with Valerie Plain, Hallebuton, the godforsaken war, torture, you name it, there are lots of reasons to put him in prison. Maybe he could get into the Whitehouse and finish us off –with your help. Why else would he be out speaking for himself and W.?
    Justice for all–not in this country. Justice for some.

  • Rachel

    *****Since the earliest days of Humanity, all wars are well documented as well as the reason why they were fought.
    United States of America vs. Iraq is the only War for which the real reason is still unknown and not being asked.******

    Not exactly true. Some of the war were documented with false or fabricated informations that was delved into by the modern historians hundreds of years later.
    Lots of times histories were written by winners, who has the power to engrave their victories or stories into a systematic regime documents that were passed down to future generations.

    And don’t forget, those ages didn’t have democracies, medias, tv or newspapers to scrutinize those documents.

    But with all that said, Bush administration seemed to be so detached with outside world, they don’t seem to understand the full scale of the age of democracy. Their deceptions and secrecies might have work about 500 years ago, not today. I will be very nervous if I were Bush or Cheney and others big dogs who helped closely with them.

  • Frederic C.

    I wasn’t aware that this was a pro-choice/pro-life debate, but I’ll bite (in spite of myself)…

    What’s to debate?

    Abortion is a religious issue and by definition and the constitution has no role to play in a person’s beliefs about abortion.

  • Frederic C.

    Cheney et. al. is only free to to what we the people allow him to do.

    Clean hands and smug piety are not attained by bustin’ on Cheney.

  • Frank

    I have big concerns about where in the US Obama is going to dump the terrorists he’s setting free. All blue states should be exempt from consideration.

  • Rachel

    *****I have big concerns about where in the US Obama is going to dump the terrorists he’s setting free. All blue states should be exempt from consideration.*****

    G.W. Bush’s ranch should be big enough.

    After proper trial, the guilty ones will share jail cells with Bush or Cheney.

  • rachel

    ****a nation that gives up liberty for security deserves neither.****

    Well said.

  • rachel

    It’s so funny, when Cheney was in the office, you hardly see him, now Bush term is over, why is he everywhere saving his ass?

  • Matthew

    If Dick Cheney keeps going out there talking about how torture worked isn’t he sending out the message that if you torture an American soldier it’ll work?

  • ncm

    I find it strange that at no time in your broadcast (and this goes for all the tv interviews that Cheney has done recently) has anyone mentioned that the only attack on US soil by foreign terrorists happened on *his watch*. It was during the Bush administration, after all, that 9/11 happened, and there is evidence that the administration didn’t take seriously warnings about Al Qaida and Osama bin Laden given to them by the outgoing Clinton admin, and that the CIA and other intelligence services seriously dropped the ball and didn’t follow up some leads to some of the hijackers. Since Cheney is claiming that Obama is undercutting US security, why hasn’t anybody mentioned these facts?

  • Christopher

    Great discussion, Tom.

    It was good to hear from Ms Charen, although I have to say that she offers only a slightly more articulate version of what we enjoy on Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity on any given night.

    Mona Charen advocates we have a “debate” about whether these abusive methods “worked,” which to my mind is completely against the values of this country.

    One would hesitate to say she is being Un-American if she were not a part of a chorus of right wing pundits and apologists who for the last eight years have accused anyone disagreeing with them of being “traitors,” “socialists,” “terrorist sympathizers” and so on.

    Anyone who defends the torment, dehumanizing, abuse, or maltreatment of incarcerated persons, rendered completely helpless and abject, is a person with a taste for fascism.

  • Fred

    No attacks since 9/11? Does Cheney not consider the attacks on our allies as attacks on us?

    Bali, Indonesia, October 2002, tourist district bombings, 202 killed.
    Madrid, Spain, March 2004, train bombing, 191 killed. London, July 2005, subway bombin, 52 killed.

    This is safer???

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