Let us now praise infamous men. The desiccated husk of a demi-human that is named Dick Cheney, former Vice President of these here United States, dragged his decaying body and scent of rot into his home away from home, Fox "news" studios, to discuss the Senate's report on the CIA's program of torturing suspected terrorists. He was speaking with Bret Baier, who obviously must worship mad Lovecraftian gods in order to be in the presence of such a barren soul with such black eyes and a mouth torn to shreds by the speaking of endless lies without vomiting endlessly. How many sacrifices have to be made at an altar covered in the blood of Iraqi children to keep Cheney alive? How many virgins, fresh for fucking and devouring, did Baier have to provide Cheney in order to secure the interview?
However, oddly, Cheney ought to be thanked for what he told Baier. When asked about President George W. Bush's awareness of the CIA's interrogation methods, which the report says he was kept in the dark about, Cheney responded, "He was in fact an integral part of the program. He had to approve it before we went forward with it...I think he knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program. There's no question... I think he knew certainly the techniques that we did discuss the techniques. There's nothing -- there was no effort on our part to keep him from that. He was just as with the terrorist surveillance program. On the terrorist surveillance program, he had to personally sign off on that every 30 to 45 days. So the notion that the committee's trying to peddle it, somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis, and we weren't being told or the President wasn't being told is just a flat-out lie." Cheney totally and without hesitation said that Bush committed war crimes.
Now, one way to look at Cheney's remarks is to say, as several people have, that the former VP threw Bush under the bus, a kind of "Fuck you, I'm not taking the fall." But it's more than that. It's the beginning of a legal defense. Cheney may be an entity of concentrated malice, but he's not stupid. With United Nations officials saying that there need to be prosecutions for the crimes described in the report, with the potential for other nations to want torturers and torture architects arrested, even if the likelihood of anything happening along those lines is slim to "America is awesome," Cheney knows that he might need a legal defense. And the only defense for a vice president is to point the finger at the president and say, "That's where the buck stops."
While some on the right, like Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and, really, The American Conservative magazine (seriously), have honorably stood up and said that the torture program was an unmitigated wrong, most conservatives have gone nutzoid in defense of the CIA. For instance:
MSNBC's host with the inbred eyes, Joe Scarborough, tweeted, "Senate Intel Report investigators refused to interview the accused. Sounds like Rolling Stone's journalistic approach on their UVA story." And that'd be totally true if Rolling Stone had had access to a treasure trove of documents from the students accused of rape at the University of Virginia. But the magazine didn't review six million pages of emails, memos, and internal reports from the alleged rapists, things that in a court of law are often seen as more legitimate than the recollections of someone years after the fact. There's 6000 pages more we haven't seen of the torture report, with, it's reported, tens of thousands of footnotes. You can bet that many of them are not just interviews with the victims - they include internal interviews with the people involved, including by the CIA's inspector general.
The whole charge is bogus because, as Dianne Feinstein noted, while the report was being put together, the CIA was being investigated by the Justice Department for destroying evidence of torture. The agency couldn't compel anyone to testify to the committee because "CIA employees and contractors who would otherwise have been interviewed by the Committee staff were under potential legal jeopardy." And Joe Scarborough can go fuck himself with Starbucks travel mug.
The rest of the conservative arguments against the report are equally bullshit filled. There's the "Who the fuck cares?" camp, who say things like, "Without a nation we have no values. And without torture, regardless of the latest politically correct views, we have no nation." (That's from Daily Caller tough guy David Lawrence.) There's the "It worked" argument, best exemplified by the desperate ass-covering of things like the website CIA Saved Lives, the Wall Street Journal editorial by former CIA directors, and torture-approver John Yoo.
Yoo is an especially skeevy cockknob about the report, which he calls "the Feinstein Report" (which will no doubt become the talking point). He wants to know what else would have worked to get information he claims stopped terrorist plots: "The Feinstein Report claims that the CIA would have captured all of these operatives anyway...Feinstein provides no reason to conclude, counter-factually, that the U.S. would have killed or captured these al Qaeda leaders without the high-quality intelligence from interrogations. The United States and its allies certainly had not done so before the interrogations started—it did not even know about many of them before 9/11. But we do know that armed with the intelligence from interrogations, the U.S. succeeded."
So his argument boils down to saying that burning down the house was the only way to get rid of the mice because we don't know if traps would have worked. In fact (and by "fact," the Rude Pundit means, "What happened"), we got all the intelligence we needed out of people like Abu Zubaydah before they were tortured, which proves the traps work, put the fucking gas can down.
There's two more arguments that the Rude Pundit will deal with tomorrow.