What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 31, 2011

An Update On Dick Cheney, War Criminal

An astute reader emailed in this link from The Atlantic.

Ta-Nehisi Coates boils everything down into a bite sized paragraph :
It's amazing, though it shouldn't be, to see the former vice-president of the United States arguing that the government still should be torturing people, and that torture is one of the things he's proudest of. I think the worst thing about the Obama administration's "looking forward" doctrine is that it virtually guarantees that torture will happen again--perhaps even under the very next administration.
I could not agree more.

And on a recent edition of Democracy Now! Salon.com writer Glenn Greenwald and Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell discuss the real fallout of the Cheney book:
GLENN GREENWALD: One of the most significant aspects of the rollout of Dick Cheney’s book is that he’s basically being treated as though he’s just an elder statesman who has some controversial, partisan political views. And yet, the evidence is overwhelming, including most of what Colonel Wilkerson just said and has been saying for quite some time, and lots of other people, as well, including, for example, General Antonio Taguba, that Dick Cheney is not just a political figure with controversial views, but is an actual criminal, that he was centrally involved in a whole variety not just of war crimes in Iraq, but of domestic crimes, as well, including the authorization of warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens in violation of FISA, which says that you go to jail for five years for each offense, as well as the authorization and implementation of a worldwide torture regime that, according to General Barry McCaffrey, resulted in the murder—his word—of dozens of detainees, far beyond just the three or four cases of waterboarding that media figures typically ask Cheney about.

And yet, what we have is a government, a successor administration, the Obama administration, that announced that there will be no criminal investigations, no, let alone, prosecutions of any Bush officials for any of these multiple crimes. And that has taken these actions outside of the criminal realm and turned them into just garden-variety political disputes. And it’s normalized the behavior. And as a result, Dick Cheney goes around the country profiting off of this, you know, sleazy, sensationalistic, self-serving book, basically profiting from his crimes, and at the same time normalizing the idea that these kind of policies, though maybe in the view of some wrongheaded, are perfectly legitimate political choices to make. And I think that’s the really damaging legacy from all of this.

AMY GOODMAN: Colonel Wilkerson, do you think the Bush administration officials should be held accountable in the way that Glenn Greenwald is talking about?

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON: I certainly do. And I’d be willing to testify, and I’d be willing to take any punishment I’m due. And I have to say, I agree with almost everything he just said. And I think that explains the aggressiveness, to a large extent, of the Cheney attack and of the words like "exploding heads all over Washington." This is a book written out of fear, fear that one day someone will "Pinochet" Dick Cheney.
There's more from Wilkerson here:
"[Cheney]'s developed an angst and almost a protective cover, and now he fears being tried as a war criminal so he uses such terminology as 'exploding heads all over Washington' because that's the way someone who's decided he's not going to be prosecuted acts: boldly, let's get out in front of everybody, let's act like we are not concerned and so forth when in fact they are covering up their own fear that somebody will Pinochet him," Wilkerson added.

Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested for war crimes.
As both Bush and Cheney should be.

Dan Simpson, in today's P-G, has a list of reasons why he won't buy or read Cheney's book:
1) He is a liar. Anyone who would take the United States to war based on two false reasons -- the claim of Iraq having nuclear weapons and of the Saddam Hussein regime having links to al-Qaida -- has no further right to be believed about anything. Mr. Cheney's approach to these deadly lies was to choose and interpret U.S. intelligence to reinforce his goal, as opposed to arriving at a truth upon which to base U.S. policy.

2) He is a killer. His deliberate actions, probably intended to get himself and President George W. Bush reelected in 2004, led to the deaths of more than 4,400 Americans and countless thousands of Iraqis. Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, fine; George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, no way.
I would have added stuff about the torture and the non-existent WMDs and the domestic surveillance. But that's just me.

Many thanks to the Obama Administration! By taking any prosecution of the war crimes off the table, it's at least partially legitimized the crimes Cheney is so so proud of.

Here's to hoping that some country somewhere has the courage to "Pinochet" Dick Cheney - war criminal.


EdHeath said...

I agree with what you say - with some reservations. I further will say I wish Obama would end the domestic spying program, close Guantanamo and take steps to address the administration of any foreign based US detention sites and that Obama would tell the Justice Department to stop prosecuting whistle blowers.

However, my reservations regarding prosecuting Cheney and Bush have to do with the public's perception of Obama. With no actual evidence of socialist behavior and considerable actual evidence of moderate behavior, Republicans have none the less successfully painted Obama as a far leftist and socialistic President. If Obama were to even partially fill the progressive wish list (say, prosecute Cheney and Bush and propose a large stimulus program with increased public works), then Republicans would likely flip out and make even wilder accusations, while trumpeting whatever steps Obama did take. Beyond the damage to his ability to get re-elected, there would be the increased chance of his assassination by right wing extremists.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

Obama. Moderate behavior? You have to be kidding me. Let's see..
1. Obamacare. Nationalization of the healthcare and health insurance industries,
2. GM and Chrysler. Nationalization of a major part of the US auto industry, including trampling on the legal rights of certain secured creditors and most (if not all) bondholders contrary to settled bankruptcy laws, and,
3. Student Loans. Nationalization of the Student Loan industry.

As for a large stimulus package, I suppose the $787B package was not enough. It has been shown to be a failure because all it did wa 'prop-up' State Unions and, in Obama's own words (paraphrased) "I guess shovel-ready jobs were not quite shovel-ready" (not exact, but it's close).

Your last sentence is despicable, uncalled for and unfounded. Hyperbole and racism... on your part.

EdHeath said...

CM, first of all, this. I didn't pull the notion of increased threats to Obama from ... thin air. The fact that you didn't acknowledge that the Secret Service says that Obama faces greatly increased threats against his life tells me that you are deliberately trying to mislead the readers of this blog.

Second, every other industrial nation in the world has some form of national healthcare/insurance (or at least heavily regulated healthcare/insurance). And better public health outcomes and lower health care costs. Period.

Third, the government has shed itself of Chrysler and only has 26% of GM. Nationalization hardly applies. And by the way, do Republicans have a plan to get people jobs? Besides killing the temporary payroll tax cut that is helping the bottom eighty percent? As opposed to asking the super rich, who have benefited so much from living in the United States, to help the country they supposedly love, by paying the taxes they paid during the Clinton administration. But you hate poor people, and want to transfer their tiny remaining savings to the super rich.

Fourth, student loans. I understand, you don't want poor people to attend places like Carnegie Mellon. You want to destroy mobility from poverty to Upper Saint Clair.

Anonymous said...


Under the old system, the Federal Government paid private lenders to do no more than process Federal student loans. The banks acted as middle men, taking a fee for a no-risk transaction.

The student gets the same loan, but we, taxpayers, save paying Citibank a fee for processing that loan.

And you are opposed to that?

I've got to ask you, Why??

Blue Number 2 said...

Obama nationalized he student loan program huh?

When I went to college the student loans were called...wait for it...National Direct Student Loans (NDSL). They changed the name at some point to Stafford loans. Are they still called that today? I don't know.

But seriously, I think your "evidence" of Obama's leftism kinda proves the point. Karl Marx would not exactly be adding these programs as a chapter to his "How-To" book.

EdHeath said...

CM, i have three questions for you:

First, do you think waterboarding is torture?

Second, do you think that Bush and Cheney violated the law by authorizing waterboarding (that being the actual topic of the post)?

and Third, what do you think would have happened in 2009 if Congress had not passed the (we actually agree) too small stimulus?

Anonymous said...

Conservatives have a lot of room to talk. Dick Cheney, a conservative, has pretty much put the frack drilling movement in motion thanks to his big ass ties with Halliburton.

Yeah, conservatives give a shit about the environment alright.


Just another reason why I told the Republican Party to go to hell.