Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bunker Fatigue!

Spending the last eight years in a bunker seems to have left Dick Cheney giddy with gabbiness after emerging into the bright lights of his post-(vice) presidential life.

In fact, he now seems unwilling to yield the spotlight to anyone else - except perhaps to Rush Limbaugh.

During his reign as the nation's second in command, he seemed strangely silent, except when he trolled the hallways of the capital looking for votes for torture, money for Halliburton and support for the war in Iraq.

In retrospect, it seemed that Cheney spent the best years of his vice-presidency yammering about Iraq's threat to the world... Iraq's connection to Al Qaeda... Iraq's possession of nuclear weapons. He proved highly adept at spinning falsehoods as truth. There was a time, certainly, when much of the nation was convinced we were about to be blown up in an Iraqi-initiated mushroom cloud.

So we made the preemptive strike against Iraq to protect ourselves from their massive stockpile of weapons.

We all know how that story went....

Now Cheney's back, uncharacteristically hogging the limelight for himself - shilling for torture in interview after interview. His goal, these days, is to persuade everyone to realize that torture needs to remain an essential part of the American dream.

On Face the Nation, he defends his regime's "enhanced interrogation techniques" as policy moves that were "successful." In fact, he asserts that the use of torture (AKA enhanced interrogation techniques) "is one of the great success stories of American intelligence."

In the wake of his rather messy reign, however, he's finding it hard to make his point stick. In this Newsweek story, former FBI interrogator Ali Soufan, testifies why he feels torture to be ineffective - because torture is "slow, ineffective, unreliable, and harmful to our efforts."

According to this story in the Washington Post, Cheney's charge into the bright lights of television interviews is not making some Republican stalwarts very happy. But because of Cheney's popularity among "the base," most GOP critics, according to the WaPo story, want to remain anonymous:

"The fact that most people want to talk [without attribution] shows what a problem it continues to be," said one Republican strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid. "Cheney continues to be a force among many members of our base, and while he is entirely unhelpful, no one has the standing to show him the door."

Cheney's daughter, Liz, is quoted in the article without the need for anonymity:

"This isn't about partisan politics, it's about what's right for the country," said Liz Cheney, the former vice president's daughter and a former State Department official. "Every American, whether you're a Republican, Democrat or independent, would agree that before critical decisions are made about national security of the nation, we ought to have a full and fair debate."

"A full and fair debate before critical decisions are made about national security," is what is motivating her father to speak out, Liz Cheney tell us.

Interesting that Dick Cheney's discussion on the use of torture is now happening after the fact.

Liz Cheney is her father's daughter, for sure....

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