And, it seems, so would many Americans

Dick Cheney on Meet the Press
Dick Cheney on Meet the Press (Photo: NBC News)

| The Prince of Darkness himself, Dick Cheney, appeared on Sunday's Meet the Press to give a breathtakingly tortured defense of torture by the Bush administration.

As usual, I recorded the program so I could watch it at my convenience and avoid the onslaught of commercials in the program. I confess that when I sat down to watch I was so disgusted that I stopped watching after less than 10 minutes. It was simply nauseating to look at Cheney's scowling face and hear him avoid answering the actual questions asked and defend resolutely everything that was done in the detention and interrogation program. "I'd do it again in a minute," Cheney declared.

Essentially it all boils down to a few points:

Cheney also threw his old boss, George W Bush, under the bus. Bush has been skating along under the presumption that maybe he didn't really know what was going on, that Cheney was calling all the shots. Cheney demolished that theory categorically: "This man [President GW Bush] knew what we were doing. He authorized it, he approved it. A statement by the Senate Democrats for partisan purposes that the president didn't know what was going on is just a flat out lie."

In a Forbes article yesterday, Rick Ungar put it well: "Cheney played a game of saying that what we did was not torture while winking to his loyal supporters in the audience in an effort to say that what we did certainly was torture … but you know you loved it."

So much time spent defending the indefensible. In his truculence and utter lack of remorse or doubt, Cheney confirmed that he is an amoral person without a shred of human empathy.

To my dismay, it seems that Cheney is, in that respect, channeling large numbers of Americans. A new Washington Post - ABC News poll found that 58% of those interviewed believe that "the torture of suspected terrorists can be justified 'often' or 'sometimes'." (WashingtonPost). This suggests that a repeat of this shameful episode is not only possible but likely:

The reality is that the president's signature on Executive Order 13491 is only valid until the next national crisis emerges and moves awell-meaning, but misguided president to rescind the order. It is worth remembering that years before this detention and interrogation program even began, the CIA had sworn off the harsh interrogations ofits past; but in the wake of the terrorist attacks against the United States, it repeated those mistakes by once again engaging in brutal interrogations that undermined our nation's credibility on the issue of human rights, produced information of uneven - and often questionable - value, and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars.

— Senator Heinrich in Committee study: Additional views, p17.

It is time — long past time, actually — for Cheney to retreat to some undisclosed location and shut his mouth. He adds nothing to discussion and consideration of the torture era. And I fault also the media for giving him a platform to spew his bile. And if he can't learn to keep quiet, then he should be shipped off to The Hague to face a trial for war crimes. His appearance on Meet the Press can be Exhibit A of the case against him.

On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart put into words what many of us have thought:

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Last updated on Apr 13, 2018

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