On Cheney: The HuffPo Gets It Right And Gets It Wrong

The Huffington Post has a piece on Vice President Dick Cheney that makes for an interesting read. Given the HuffPo’s innate hatred of the former Vice President it is a sometimes useful diagnostic to measure their opinions on the former Veep to gauge the necessary chlorine levels required in the fever swamp from time to time.

On the matter of water boarding the VP quickly dispatches the Obama Cult canard that torture was the be all and end all of Bush administration interrogation techniques:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the Bush administration’s use of waterboarding on Thursday, saying that, contrary to arguments made by Barack Obama, the techniques were a necessary last-resort measure to get information from detainees.

“I don’t believe that’s true,” Cheney said, when asked to respond to Obama’s statement that interrogators may not have needed to resort to torture. “That assumes that we didn’t try other ways, and in fact we did. We resorted, for example, to waterboarding, which is the source of much of the controversy, with only three individuals. In those cases, it was only after we’d gone through all the other steps of the process. The way the whole program was set up was very careful, to use other methods and only to resort to the enhanced techniques in those special circumstances.”

The Huffpo writer, Sam Stein, then notes that Cheney “glosses” over the “266 instances in which the United States reportedly used waterboarding on two terrorist suspects” without syaing that each of these allegedly 266 instances may have represented pouring water over the person’s face and head as opposed to a distinct and separate session of “waterboarding”….but why let details like that get in the way a good narrative?

Asked if the Republican Party should moderate its principles the Vice President characteristically replied that taking the advice of the enemy is often unwise:

I think it would be a mistake for us to moderate. This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas…what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and constitutional principles,” he said. “You know, when you add all those things up the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy. I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most us aren’t.”

Stein then notes, after Cheney allowed that there always comes a time for the old regime to move on, that the Veep’s remarks may have been absent some irony:

“Cheney did — without apparent irony — allude to the fact that the GOP would benefit from him exiting the stage”

Where any mention of irony fits into this quasi historical narrative is lost on me. Rather, there is the to be expected (from a Huffpo writer) total lack of context and perspective in analyzing a genuine comment from a real player that understands the concept of “moving on” and political transitions perhaps better than any contemporary politician today. Richard Cheney cut his political teeth on the President Ford’s transition after the Nixon resignation. Say what you will about Vice President Cheney’s policies but there is nothing ironic about his attempt to protect his legacy and acknowledge that the nation has moved on from his office’s mission….

“I think periodically we have to go through one these sessions,” he said. “It helps clear away some of the underbrush…some of the older folks who’ve been around a long time (like yours truly) need to move on, and make room for that young talent that’s coming along. But I think it’s basically healthy.”

That statement is an example of what old school types call “class”. If you have to ask what it is you will never understand what it means.

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