WaPo on Cheney Part 2: Dick Wants Torture. Dick Gets Torture

Brian Zick

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Barton Gellman and Jo Becker have posted Part 2 of the Cheney series, "Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power." There's lotsa detailed insight. Here are some of the noteworthy elements.• Cheney is personally responsible for establishing torture as a policy of the United States' government - and then blaming the behavior on low-ranking officials.• Addington, Yoo, deputy White House counsel Timothy Flanigan, and Gonzales all had a hand in crafting the verbal disingenuity for justifying torture by pretending specific acts universally acknowledged as torture could be defined as not torture.• Yoo signed off on a second secret opinion (still not public) which "approved as lawful a long list of specific interrogation techniques proposed by the CIA -- including waterboarding."• Ted Olson believed detainees should have a right to legal counsel, and "Addington's personal views leaned more toward Olson than against him." But Addington rejected the idea of allowing detainees access to an attorney "because that was the position of his client, the vice president." They went to Gonzales, with Olson having the support of two White House lawyers who had clerked for Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. Gonzales sided with Addington. After losing the Hamdi and Rasul cases in the Supreme Court, Olson was out as Solicitor General. Cheney rejected Ashcroft's recomendation for replacement, Patrick Philbin, because despite arguing for what Cheney always wanted, he had the temerity to object to Yoo sneaking behind Ashcroft's back, and he had questioned the warrantless wiretapping.• Cheney torpedoed the attempt by John McCain, John Warner and Lindsay Graham to explicitly prevent torture. When Bush signed the Detainee Treatment Act, language had been inserted creating a loophole for CIA interrogators. And Addington wrote the infamous signing statement, discarding previously approved language from CIA, Justice, State and Defense departments, which unanimously opposed the substitution. Harriet Miers sent Addington's version to Bush for his signature.---No mention is made of anyone ever discussing the efficacy - never mind the morality - of torture. It appears that Dick just wanted to hurt people. Not because torture has ever been shown to produce reliable information. That question never seems to have even come up. Cheney is like the sociopath who sets cats on fire. He derives gratification from inflicting pain.

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