The Vice-President for Torture


Yesterday was a vital day of clarity for what has happened to America in the Bush presidency. It occurred in one of the more sycophantic interviews I've ever read by "journalist" Scott Hennen, of WDAY Hot Talk. Here's the transcript, proudly posted on Cheney's own website:

Q: I've had people call and say, please, let the Vice President know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives. Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I do agree. And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided us with enormously valuable information about how many there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth, we've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that. ...

Q Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that.

So we waterboard but we don't torture. It's good to finally hear it from the vice-president's mouth. But wait! We didn't!

Lee Ann McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, denied that Cheney had confirmed that U.S. interrogators used water-boarding or endorsed the technique. "What the vice president was referring to was an interrogation program without torture," she said. "The vice president never goes into what may or may not be techniques or methods of questioning."

Do they think we're fools? (Yes.) Do they think the international community doesn't know what this administration is up to? (They don't care.) Does Cheney seriously believe that waterboarding is not the infliction of "severe mental or physical pain or suffering"? (No, he doesn't.)

Vote Democrat or abstain.

(Depiction of a waterboarding from the Tuol Sleng Prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. According to Cheney, the Khmer Rouge's tactics were a "no-brainer".)