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Cheney says he's changed

Sure, dining on nothing but orphans, puppies, and panda flesh for eight years will change a man...

Amongst many on the left, Dick Cheney is regarded as a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Reinhardt Heidrich. The power behind the puppet Bush, architect of torture, launcher of wars for profit, Haliburton shill, outer of America's version of 007 Valerie Plame, evil personified. Not that our friends on the left are given to hyperbole or anything.

On the right he is either regarded as a god-like figure or as the man tasked with keeping America safe following the September 11th attacks. To that end he has been eminently successful - not many people believed in 2001 that we would not be attacked again even once over the next seven years. Competence in the federal government is a rare thing. Of all the appointments Bush has made, Cheney has been the most successful by a large margin.

There's something to be said for a Veep selection made to add gravitas to a ticket whose accomplishments in the public and private sector actually withstand scrutiny.

Dick Cheney sat down for an interview with ABC to reflect on the past eight years.

"Have I changed?" Cheney asked. "Well, not in the sense that I've gone through some fundamental psychological transition here, but I have been, since that day, focused very much on what we needed to do to defend the nation, and I think the policies we've recommended, the programs that we've undertaken, have been good programs. I think those have been sound decisions, and if that's what they mean by saying I've changed, I'm guilty."

We'll never know about all the potential threats that have been averted by Bush administration policies, but the results are undeniable. No attacks on American soil since 9/11. If for no other reason than that Cheney has earned his paycheck.
Cheney said the new administration must carefully assess the tools put in place to fight terror. "How they deal with these issues are going to be very important, because it's going to have a direct impact on whether or not they retain the tools that have been so essential and defending the nation for the last seven-and-a-half years, or whether they give them up," he said.

Obama's team needs to look at the specific threats, understand how the programs were put together, and how they operate, the vice president said.

"They shouldn't just fall back on campaign rhetoric to make these very fundamental decisions about the safety of the nation," he warned.


If preliminary signals are any indication, Obama seems to be following this exact course. Most voters end up disappointed with politicians because they fail to live up to promises they make during the campaign. Realities render rhetoric obsolete. Obama faithful will soon see this is as true for "The One" as any other politician.
Cheney said waterboarding was an appropriate means of getting information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
...
"There was a period of time there, three or four years ago, when about half of everything we knew about al Qaeda came from that one source," he added, referring to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "So, it's been a remarkably successful effort. I think the results speak for themselves."

That puts the outcry over waterboarding in a different perspective, wouldn't you agree? There is a wide chasm between coercive interrogation techniques and torture. Nobody wants agents of the US torturing anyone for any reason. But if making them uncomfortable or filling them with the fear of Allah yields actionable information we should not hesitate to use enhanced methods to extract intelligence.
Cheney added that, given Saddam Hussein's capabilities, reputation and track record of brutality, "this was a bad actor, and the country's better off, the world's better off with Saddam gone, and I think we made the right decision, in spite of the fact that the original NIE was off in some of its major judgments."

In retrospect he's right. Whatever happened to Saddam's WMD stockpiles he remained determined to possess those weapons and was actively engaged in circumventing the cease-fire conditions of the first Gulf War. The Duelfer Report on Iraq WMD make that quite clear. With the intelligence we had at the time invading Iraq was a no brainer; with the benefit of hindsight it was a gamble that has a chance to benefit the US and Middle East enormously. I think we'll see that Obama recognizes the potential upside of a free Iraq as well.

How history judges Dick Cheney remains to be seen. But we owe some bit of gratitude to a man who shunned the spotlight to focus on America's safety. He has done well countering a determined enemy on a complex and ambiguous battlefield.


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Comments (22)

Wow, a love letter to Chene... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Wow, a love letter to Cheney. What a debut.

To that end he has been eminently successful ... We'll never know about all the potential threats that have been averted by Bush administration policies, but the results are undeniable. No attacks on American soil since 9/11. If for no other reason than that Cheney has earned his paycheck.

By that reasoning, Clinton was "eminently successful", because after 1993 there were no attacks on American soil for 8.5 years, or about 1.5 years longer than we've been able to witness how SuperCheney has fared.

Brian,The US embas... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Brian,

The US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya are considered to be US soil. They were both attacked by suicide bombers in 1998.

Man where do you c... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

Man where do you come up with this stuff? The Duelfer Report? If you know who appointed Duelfer, and why, the whole suggestion that this report is the definitive truth is a lie.
You seem to forget that there were inspectors on the ground into March 2002 finding nothing and the reasons for David Kay resigning.

This is the kind of revisionist history that submissive conservatives pedal out to try to lessen their complicity in useless deaths of 4209 US service men and women and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women and children.

I still wish Bush would res... (Below threshold)

I still wish Bush would resign a few days early just so Cheney can be President. It's fun watching heads explode.

Cheney said waterboar... (Below threshold)

Cheney said waterboarding was an appropriate means of getting information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
...
"There was a period of time there, three or four years ago, when about half of everything we knew about al Qaeda came from that one source," he added, referring to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "So, it's been a remarkably successful effort. I think the results speak for themselves."

Is it any wonder that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed wants the death penalty?

The Vice President just told the world that KSM was the source of more than half of what the US learned about AQ and that he (KSM) had been ratting them out for years.

I recommend everyone read Stephen Hadley's www.amazon.com/Cheney-Americas-Powerful-Controversial-President, about Cheney. In it you will find that this parting shot at KSM was no accident.

The reason the left has por... (Below threshold)

The reason the left has portrayed Cheney as evil: they can't find anything wrong with him. The left loves to portray conservatives as stupid (e.g. Reagan, Bush, Palin). But there's no way they could describe Cheney as stupid and get away with it. So as with other unquestionably intelligent conservatives (e.g. Rove, Gingrich, or even Nixon), he is automatically portrayed as being evil.

Do people say that you are evil? You might be an intelligent conservative.

We can only hope the new go... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

We can only hope the new government grows some 'nads and accepts the awesome responsibility for defending us all as Bush's Admin has.

It appears Obama does--Gates/Jones appts.

It's one thing to bitch and carp while in a position of zero responsibility, but another when called upon to actually do something, serve the country.

Never let a lib. lead on national security--they don't take it seriously. It's just campaign rhetoric to get to the promised land for libs--entitlement spending programs.

You guys seem to d... (Below threshold)
dr lava:

You guys seem to define "protecting our country" in a very limited way, no bombs have gone off on our soil. You completely ignore the deaths of 4209 of our soldiers, tens of thousands horribly wounded, thousands of children without a parent, lives destroyed, grieving parents.

Multiply that by 10 thousand for the effect on the Iraqi people. 2.5 million refugees out of Iraq, 1 million internally displaced. Hundreds of billions of dollars squandered. The Taliban as strong as in 2001 and moving eastward.

And here at home a crisis brought upon us by 8 years of incompetence and criminality as breathtaking in its malignancy as anything in history.

We are entering very dark times for America courtesy of the Bush administration and the horrific movement that was called "conservatism"

Only the most seriously deluded can claim that "they kept us safe". What were they doing on 9-11?

You are totally out of your... (Below threshold)
Biff Burns:

You are totally out of your mind to praise and kiss up to a man who has lied from the word Go. Nothing but lies from Cheney and the entire Bush administration. All of Cheney's clever protestations about keeping this country safe are nothing but lies, from an administration that has done absolutely nothing but lie. This entire post is garbage.

Yeah, a guy who polls about... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Yeah, a guy who polls about as highly as Josef Stalin deserves accolades because only two of the tallest buildings in America were destroyed by terrorists while he was in office. Never mind that the guy who perpetrated this crime remains at large.

Yes, let us characterize the success of this wonderful man by pointing out that the Sears Tower and Empire State Buildings have not, in fact, been destroyed. Up yours, Osama!

Epic fail, Dick.

Oh, and Mitchell--FDR, a li... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Oh, and Mitchell--FDR, a liberal, had to wait for Japan to attack Pearl Harbor before he could convince the conservative fuckwits that World War II was a war worth fighting. And while I wouldn't consider Clinton a liberal, those who opposed intervention in the Balkans were most assuredly conservatives.

Didn't we try a a Japanese ... (Below threshold)
jmc:

Didn't we try a a Japanese soldier for war crimes for waterboarding? I know the reason we have these "enhanced interrogation techniques" at all, is because they were used to get false confessions out of American troops during the Korean war. We basically learned about these techniques because we wanted to teach American troops to resist, and avoid giving the communist a PR victory from a false American confession.

Leave it to Dick Cheney to look at methods that got a bunch of false confessions and think, "Man, that technique that failed to get any accurate information, we should do that!"

So aside from being a technique that most of the western world thinks of as torture (Dick Cheney apologist excluded of course) It is just plain dumb. Gotta love Cheney.

from Evan Wallach, a judge ... (Below threshold)
jmc:

from Evan Wallach, a judge at the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York, teaches the law of war as an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School:

After Japan surrendered, the United States organized and participated in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, generally called the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. Leading members of Japan's military and government elite were charged, among their many other crimes, with torturing Allied military personnel and civilians. The principal proof upon which their torture convictions were based was conduct that we would now call waterboarding.


As far back as the U.S. occupation of the Philippines after the 1898 Spanish-American War, U.S. soldiers were court-martialed for using the "water cure" to question Filipino guerrillas.

recently, waterboarding cases have appeared in U.S. district courts. One was a civil action brought by several Filipinos seeking damages against the estate of former Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos. The plaintiffs claimed they had been subjected to torture, including water torture. The court awarded $766 million in damages, noting in its findings that "the plaintiffs experienced human rights violations including, but not limited to . . . the water cure, where a cloth was placed over the detainee's mouth and nose, and water producing a drowning sensation."


In 1983, federal prosecutors charged a Texas sheriff and three of his deputies with violating prisoners' civil rights by forcing confessions. The complaint alleged that the officers conspired to "subject prisoners to a suffocating water torture ordeal in order to coerce confessions. This generally included the placement of a towel over the nose and mouth of the prisoner and the pouring of water in the towel until the prisoner began to move, jerk, or otherwise indicate that he was suffocating and/or drowning."

The four defendants were convicted, and the sheriff was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Luckily, for some reason it's not torture when Cheney does it.

More Dick please.J... (Below threshold)
SillyPuddy:

More Dick please.

Jan 20th 11am, Bush blanket pardons Cheney.
Jan 20th 11:15 am, Bush resigns.
Jan 20th 11:30 am, Cheney blanket pardon Bush, Libby, Ramon & Compion, and a ton of others that could be subject to nuisance lawsuits.

Jan 20th 11:45 am - News makes it via text message to all the liberal heads gathered for inauguration day, they start exploding one after another.

You acknowledge that Cheney... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

You acknowledge that Cheney has done something for which he would need to be pardoned in order not to be sued, but you still think he's great because he pisses off liberals. You're such an asshole.

For the first time in livin... (Below threshold)
sshiell:

For the first time in living memory, there was a Vice President who was not grooming his image for the post of the Presidency. Because Cheney had no Presidential aspirations, he did not have to "play nice" with all of the so-called players out there. He had only one requirement - do his job. And he did it - and regardless of the whining being done by the Left, he did it well.

The Media and the Left could not stand it. Here was a man sitting in a position that they should be abel to skewer and manipulate at will. But when he decided upon his course, he would not be budged for any reason. Unpopular? Yes, but that does not matter to him. And the Left and the Media hate him for it.

I only can hope Biden does half as good a job.

He did the job well? Why do... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

He did the job well? Why don't you say that while pissing on 4,209 coffins, you wretched little sycophant?

Show me where Cheney had a ... (Below threshold)
sshiell:

Show me where Cheney had a vote on the war in Iraq. While you point your grubby little fingers at Cheney, shy don't you also point to your Democratic Brethren - Clinton, Biden, Kerry, Kennedy, Edwards, et al, for voting for the war. And then continuing to vote to fund the war. Go ahead you cowardly little fuk!

For the first tim... (Below threshold)
jmc:
For the first time in living memory, there was a Vice President who was not grooming his image for the post of the Presidency. Because Cheney had no Presidential aspirations, he did not have to "play nice" with all of the so-called players out there. He had only one requirement - do his job. And he did it - and regardless of the whining being done by the Left, he did it well.

Yes sshiell, I was particularly impressed when Cheney was the first to be wrong about WMDs. That screamed competency.

When he said we would be greeted as liberators, and we weren't, I thought, "it must hurt to always be so right."

When he said the insurgency was in it's last throes I thought, "my god the man is a prophet!"

Whn he lowered the world's respect for America by including torture in his morning workout (hyperbole of course) I thought, "my god, a man with vision!"

Yes sshiell, regardless of our whining on the left, or even the facts themselves, Dick Cheney did a good job.

Wow, who could have guessed... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

Wow, who could have guessed a post about Dick Cheney would trigger so many well-thought-out, rational comments?

Yeah, JMC and Hyperbullshit... (Below threshold)
sshiell:

Yeah, JMC and Hyperbullshit. He did a good job and not once voted for or against the war. Now lets look at your Democratic heroes and review their votes for the war and their votes to continue funding the war. Great jobs being done on all sides don't you think. Oh, that's right. You don't think? It is your job to continue the Liberal Narrative. And you are doing a swell job of it. Now bend over and lick your own ass - you deserve a treat!

Yeah, JMC and Hyp... (Below threshold)
jmc:
Yeah, JMC and Hyperbullshit. He did a good job and not once voted for or against the war.

Hmm, you think the fact that Cheney is not in Congress had something to do with that? Just a little, maybe?


Now lets look at your Democratic heroes and review their votes for the war and their votes to continue funding the war.

It looks like you skipped this step. You see, when you say things like, "let's look at your democratic heroes" (aside from the fact that you have no idea who my heroes are) it implies you are going to examine something. Perhaps you will get around to it in the next post.

Great jobs being done on all sides don't you think.

Hmm, I love how you think you proved something you didn't even bring up. That is some first class debating. perhaps I will try this.

I, jmc claim victory on the environment debate over you sshiel. I admit I wrote nothing about it, but it works for you.

Oh, that's right. You don't think? It is your job to continue the Liberal Narrative.

Yes, I am paid a great deal of money to continue the "Liberal narrative" it is my job, you caught me, you clever person you.

And you are doing a swell job of it. Now bend over and lick your own ass - you deserve a treat!

And deprive your wife? I think not.




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