By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Darth Vader returns

In my latest for the Guardian, I express my shock and horror at Dick Cheney’s interview with ABC News, in which he (1) defended torture on the grounds that it’s not torture unless he says it is and (2) all but mocked President Bush on the decision to go to war with Iraq. Give him this: the man is not a hypocrite.


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  1. mike_b1

    1. The intelligence on Iraq was there and was accurate. The intelligence in the White House was not, thus rendering all other matters moot.2. Cheney, not Bush, ran the country the past 8 years. Which is why he cares not a wit what the Draft-Dodger in Chief thinks. Or thought.

  2. Ani

    So maybe the erroneous intelligence (or, erroneously interpreted intelligence, if that’s what it was) was for Bush’s benefit, to convince him to invade Iraq, as much as it was to persuade Colin Powell and the rest of us that the US should invade Iraq?

  3. Dan Kennedy

    Ani: It’s a slam dunk!

  4. O'Reilly

    I don’t know why you feel the need to compare one of these ‘bad actors’ favorably to the other. The level of hypocrisy or lack thereof is hardly a distinction worth making. They are are equally culpable. But Bush, at least, had the decency not to say it. Yes, he was being a hypocrite. But hypocrisy, as Michael Kinsley has written, is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. On some level, at least, it was important that the president not rub our faces in it too vigorously.Cheney’s characterization of Saddam aptly fits himself and Bush, even as his motivation was to protect the US, and probably to exact some revenge for the embarrassment of 9/11. If torture of Iraqis in Abu Grhaib, and detainees in Gitmo and CIA black sites is not ‘bad acting’, then what is? I’m all for killing al quada but I’m dead against torturing people swept up in the search of al quada. Beyond the moral argument, the Geneva convention, and International law to which we are signatory, every bit evidence tells us torture is ineffective. They, together, each with their own part, manufactured consent for war and did so deceptively. They both supported and approved torture. In fact, the CIA made a point of getting executive approval for it, repeatedly, which indicates the CIA’s savvy with regard to who eventually is held accountable.

  5. NewsHound

    Apparently no one has to Waterboard Dick Cheney to get him to talk. Maybe he is talking because he so much fears torture himself. Who would have ever predicted torture in this century of civilization by the USA?

  6. Ani

    It has often struck me that Cheney could never have gotten himself elected president — he reminds me of one of those regents to an infant king during the middle ages. Of course, as O’Reilly points out, Bush is no innocent, however.

  7. Don, American

    Have you ever considered not bad-mouthing the United States and its leaders in the foreign press? How does that improve our image in the world? I’m going to tell Obama, the Great Appeaser.

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Don: I write for Guardian America, based in Washington.

  9. mike_b1

    Don, one improves their image by acting as a mature and intelligent grownup, something the current administration is in dire need of.

  10. cavard

    The thing I can’t understand is no one in Washington is seeking accountability. Is the price of justice too much to pursue? Or does winning elections and political expediency take precedence? This is unreal. He openly admitted he approved torture for crying out loud! But no… the Dems don’t want to stand for justice. That means they would have to stand up for something! Don’t make them do that!Where’s the outrage folks?

  11. NewsHound

    Dick Cheney has been arrested twice and probably still a few times short.When he says he drank only a beer did you ever wonder just how big the tub might have been? When he filed his police report a day late after shooting his best friend in the face maybe he should have been waterboarded just so that we would be sure he told the truth, thus, restoring his integrity to the honor of the office he holds.Prior to the current president taking the oath, Cheney was held in the highest esteem by the President’s parents and friends, a mistake that got the younger George off on the wrong foot. This is unfortunate, and turned out horrible for all of us, especially for those treated with torture and cruelty by the USA.People who have fought for this country, one way or another, have a tendency to be proud and continue to do so. Unfortunately, Cheney the dodger is dodger.

  12. Michael Pahre

    Cheney defends waterboarding. And says that we would’ve gone to war regardless of the intelligence.So… So what?

  13. O'Reilly

    There are two essential elements for a country that claims to be a governed by the rule of law: accountability to the law and consequences for breaking it.Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld ordered torture. Torture is a crime, it is a war crime. We are all witnesses. The crime was conducted on behalf of the power granted to our government by US citizens. Their power is granted by our consent to be governed. You can be silent and complicit, or you can refuse to be silent and demand that government officials who broke the law are held to the same standard as John and Jane Q. Public, when he and she brakes the law. It is not enough to change our policy, we must hold accountable the lawbreakers if we want to have honor and a nation ruled by law, not by men.

  14. acf

    I don’t care what anyone says, George Bush ran for president with the intention of attacking Iraq and taking down Saddam Hussein, finishing what his father wisely left undone. It didn’t take Dick Cheney or the 9/11 terrorist attacks to make it happen. The former had the operational skill to make it happen, and the latter provided some political cover.

  15. acf

    Oops. Correcting my above post Dick Cheney enabled Iraq to happen, I don’t think he drove Bush to doing it.

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