Friday, May 15, 2009

Cheney's MAD.

Crooks and Liars have really interesting theory as to why Dick Cheney is parading himself around the newsrooms telling anyone who will listen that Obama is endangering the country because he's too pussy to torture people.

There are some who say that he is "hurt" by what has been said about him and there are others who claim that he genuinely believes that the country is in danger. Crooks and Liars have a suggestion that I find much nearer to the truth:

But lost in these analyses is Cheney's real objective and strategy is his twilight struggle against the Obama administration. For that, one need only look to Dick Cheney's Cold Warrior roots and the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD).

By raising the stakes over the torture issue with his repeated appearances, Dick Cheney isn't merely daring Democratic Congress and the Obama administration to investigate him and other members of the Bush torture team. Cheney's is a scorched earth game he believes he can win.

Cheney's MAD strategy goes something like this. If the DOJ or Congress proceeds with torture probes or prosecutions, Republican retaliation will be massive and total. Nominees will be blocked, legislation filibustered and the gridlock in Washington permanent. The blame for the carnage, the theory goes, will go to the side (in this case, Democrats) which launched the first strike. As Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, "a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought."

With the prospect of an atomic political conflict assured of leaving both parties devastated, stalemate is the only alternative. And in Dick Cheney's case, stalemate equals victory. By ratcheting up the public pressure, Cheney is forcing Obama's hand: act on torture, or back down. And by backing down, Obama would in essence codify the Bush administration's criminality. In the unsteady equilibrium which would endure, the Bush torture team would appear to be right, seemingly vindicated. Like the Soviet threat, the risk from torture prosecution would be successfully contained. In his eyes, Cheney's omnipresence isn't a nightmare for Republicans, but their path back.

As the Associated Press noted, "Cheney seemed even more exercised after Obama released memos detailing how 'enhanced interrogation' became a tactic used during the Bush administration."

This is one of the main reasons why I feel prosecutions must take place. Cheney is seeking to portray what he did, as not only legal, but as a necessity. He is seeking to make torture an acceptable practice in the US arsenal. Should Obama fail to prosecute then Cheney will have succeeded.

The fact that the Obama regime has announced that it will not torture will, barring the prosecution of Cheney and Bush, simply be sold as the Democrats deciding not to use all of the tools at their disposal. The fact that they did not prosecute Bush and Cheney for their crimes will be held up as proof that torture of the kind Cheney and Bush indulged in is actually perfectly legal.

That's what Dick is up to. He's rattled, but he still sees a way to make the Democrats back down. And, if they back down, then his arguments and his ideas regarding what is legal and illegal regarding the the treatment of prisoners will be seen to have prevailed.

He's seriously raising the stakes. Obama now has to decide whether to investigate these crimes or whether to, effectively, allow Cheney's insane theories to become accepted as lawful.

Obama was elected to undo the wrongs of the previous administration. He cannot do that whilst allowing such blatant criminality to stand unchallenged.


Col. Lawrence B. Wilkerson, former chief of staff of the Department of State during the term of Secretary of State Colin Powell, has a stunning rejoinder to Cheney's claim that Obama refusing to continue with his "harsh interrogation techniques" is somehow endangering the country.

Third--and here comes the blistering fact--when Cheney claims that if President Obama stops "the Cheney method of interrogation and torture", the nation will be in danger, he is perverting the facts once again. But in a very ironic way.

My investigations have revealed to me--vividly and clearly--that once the Abu Ghraib photographs were made public in the Spring of 2004, the CIA, its contractors, and everyone else involved in administering "the Cheney methods of interrogation", simply shut down. Nada. Nothing. No torture or harsh techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator. Period. People were too frightened by what might happen to them if they continued.

What I am saying is that no torture or harsh interrogation techniques were employed by any U.S. interrogator for the entire second term of Cheney-Bush, 2005-2009. So, if we are to believe the protestations of Dick Cheney, that Obama's having shut down the "Cheney interrogation methods" will endanger the nation, what are we to say to Dick Cheney for having endangered the nation for the last four years of his vice presidency?

It's a great article which you can read here.

Hat tip to Crooks and Liars.

Click title for full article.

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