Dick Cheney Speaks the Truth!

Commenting yesterday on how the United States discovered Bin Laden’s whereabouts:

“I would assume that the enhanced interrogation program that we put in place produced some of the results that led to bin Laden’s ultimate capture,” said former Vice President Dick Cheney on Fox News.

That’s right!  He would assume it.  He wouldn’t try to check it out.  He wouldn’t hold his tongue if he didn’t know the details.  He wouldn’t speak to those who might actually know the facts.  He would assume it.  And then he would go on torturing people, over and over again.

And if this policy was ineffective, or worse, had catastrophic effects in terms of intelligence gathering and US diplomacy?  He would assume that it didn’t.

Gotta hand it to the guy: he’s certainly self-aware.

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.

12 thoughts on “Dick Cheney Speaks the Truth!”

  1. Criminals come and go, and do not necessarily have a lasting impact, except on their victims. If Obama prosecuted Bush and Cheney, that would be the case with them. By not prosecuting them, however, he has effectively legalized their crimes and has established that the President is above the law. Because Obama is a Democrat, there is now a bipartisan consensus that Presidents may torture. Obama has tortured Bradley Manning and apparently is continuing to use extraordinary rendition to torture others. Obama says that he wants to look forward and not backward, but he refuses to look forward to deterring future crime, and future Presidents will feel free to torture. By making the President above the law, he has changed the very nature of our government and has done far more harm to this nation than Bush and Cheney did. Jonathan is right about Cheney, but Cheney doesn’t matter anymore. Obama does.

  2. (Zasloff): “Gotta hand it to the guy: he’s certainly self-aware.
    Are you? “Assume” approximates “conjecture” in normal usage, and people often recognize degrees of informed conjecture. Your incessant partisan “gotcha” just makes you look silly.

  3. I don’t think it’s a joke. I think that Malcolm has a bit of a point, but not much because “assume” is stronger than “conjecture.” If Cheney meant “conjecture,” he might have said, “It is possible that … .”

    But, even if Malcolm were entirely right that Jonathan reads too much into Cheney’s “assume,” Jonathan’s conclusions about Cheney’s attitude would nevertheless be correct, based on everything we know about Cheney. Yet, I repeat, Cheney doesn’t matter anymore. Besides, criticizing Cheney is shooting fish in a barrel.

  4. And Malcolm, the wh*reson has a record; it’s not like he’s new on the public stage.

  5. Henry, those are disturbing cases for sure. Yet one obvious difference is in the explicit nature of the Obama administration (as well as Democratic) opposition to torture. Aside from the actual acts, what was so frightening about torture in the Bush years was the open advocacy for it in government as well as on the right, and it continues today (see Cheney). What this meant (means) is an ongoing thirst for it in the body politic.

    I think that is definitely not true of the left. Now, that it is apparently still going on is very worrisome. Is the administration in actual agreement with the policy, or is it a matter of political/administrative inertia? Honestly, I’m quite baffled. “The devil you know”…

  6. Eli, I was not implying that the torture that Obama has authorized is as widespread or as serious as that authorized by Bush, who, after all, tortured more than 100 men to death. My complaint is that Obama has effectively legalized Bush’s torture, and we can be virtually certain that the next Republican President will reinstitute torture at Bush’s level. Of course, Congress shares the blame, because, if Obama will not enforce the law, it could create a special prosecutor.

    As for whether the administration (aka Obama) is in actual agreement with the policy, we can assume that he supported the torture of Manning, because, when asked about it, he gave a Bush-like response, saying that the military (which was doing the torturing) had assured him that Manning was being treated properly. Obama is too smart to believe that that was an adequate answer; it was more like giving the finger to the people who were concerned about his treatment of Manning. Subsequently, Obama allowed Manning to be moved to Leavenworth and out of solitary confinement. We don’t know whether he changed his mind or was embarrassed by the fact that 250 law professors, including his own former law professor Laurence Tribe, published a petition decrying his violations of the Constitution.

  7. Eli, I didn’t really address your point contrasting “the explicit nature of the Obama administration (as well as Democratic) opposition to torture” with Republicans’ open advocacy of it. I think that that point is valid to some extent. But, since the abuse of Manning at Quantico began, I haven’t heard of opposition to torture being expressed by the Obama administration or by any Democrats other than Kucinich. And I’m not aware of any Republicans acknowledging that Bush engaged in torture and murder, except for waterboarding, which, as far as I know, they still deny to be torture. I realize, however, that Republicans are in effect openly advocating it. But, again, if Obama will not enforce the law, then his words make little difference.

  8. I agree, Henry. It is interesting I think, that this would largely be in keeping with Obama’s almost pathological desire for “mean average” political compromise – which usually ends up being somewhere on the center right.

  9. I wonder how Professor Kleiman and other Obama shills reconcile their celebration of success in the death of Osama bin Laden with their condemnation of waterboarding and their silence on the matter of drone strikes

    The U.S. launched a drone strike in Yemen on Thursday aimed at killing Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical cleric suspected of orchestrating terrorist attacks in the U.S, but he evaded the missile, Yemeni and U.S. officials said.

    , which, I have read, have increased since Jan 2009. Is a bullet to the brain or a Hellfire missile up the ass somehow to be preferred to waterboarding?
    P.S. What’s the justification/mission in Libya, again?

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