Cheney’s Assertion that Torture Works: Hillary Nails It

Why should anyone pay attention to anything Dick Cheney says?

More of this, please:

“Are you in favor of releasing the documents that Dick Cheney has been requesting be released?,” asked Rep. Rohrbacher.

“Well, it won’t surprise you, I don’t consider him a particularly reliable source of information,” responded Secretary Clinton.”

Cheney now claims that there are documents showing the efficacy of torture. Maybe there are. But consider:

1. Cheney claimed that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted nuclear weapons.

2. Cheney claimed that there were operational links between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.

3. Cheney claimed that the insurgency was in its last throes.

And he did this all on the basis of what he claimed were classified documents showing his position.

As Jane Mayer demonstrates in The Dark Side, Cheney out-and-out lied to Dick Armey — hardly the thin end of the Marxist wedge — in making the case for war in Iraq. And as Josh Marshall has pointed out, Cheney’s “leadership” of the administration’s anti-terrorism task force in 2001 and his attempt to enlist Middle Eastern leaders in favor of the Iraq War in 2002 were grotesquely incompetent.

Indeed, the question everyone should be asking now is: is there anything that Dick Cheney said about national security policy during his 8 years as Vice-President that has been shown to be true? Did any of his national security initiatives produce anything but failure and disaster?

And if not, then why should anyone pay attention to anything the man says?

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.