A simple note having now read the former vice-president's despicable and disgraceful speech. It confirms the very worst of him, and reveals just how callow, just how arrogant, and just how reckless and unrepentant this man is and has long been. There was not a whisper of regret or reflection; there was a series of lies and distortions, a reckless attack on a graceful successor, inheriting a world of intractable problems, and a reminder that while serious men and women will indeed move on, Cheney never will. He remains a threat to this country's constitution as he remains a stain on its honor and moral standing. I never believed I would hear a vice-president of the United States not simply defend torture but insist on pride in it, insist on its honor. But that is what he said, with that sly grin insisting that fear always beats reason, that violence always beats dialogue, and that torture is always an American value.
He repeats this core untruth:
In public discussion of these matters, there has been a strange and sometimes willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib prison with the top secret program of enhanced interrogations. At Abu Ghraib, a few sadistic prison guards abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency. For the harm they did, to Iraqi prisoners and to America's cause, they deserved and received Army justice. And it takes a deeply unfair cast of mind to equate the disgraces of Abu Ghraib with the lawful, skillful, and entirely honorable work of CIA personnel trained to deal with a few malevolent men.
This "strange and sometimes willful attempt to conflate what happened at Abu Ghraib prison with the top secret program of enhanced interrogations" is the sober conclusion of the Senate Armed Services Committee Report, as well as every report issued getting to the bottom of Abu Ghraib.
It was a function of a policy of abuse and torture and mistreatment of prisoners in the war on terror in every theater of combat, directed and emanating from the will of Dick Cheney via the pen of George W Bush. It is simply impossible to review the evidence and conclude otherwise and no one, outside the Cheney cocoon, has been able to sustain the fiction that Cheney proposes as fact. The attempt to separate this from his own highly controlled, personally directed program of torture and abuse and coercion is a deep and malicious and wilfull lie. It may be what Bush wishes to believe. But Cheney knows otherwise. His speech was therefore not a patriotic defense of what he thinks is best for this country; it was a vile and deliberately divisive attempt to use the politics of fear and false machismo against the stability of the American polity.
He has clearly learned nothing; and will remain a threat to this country's ability to fight terror and defend its values. The president will remain above this, as he should, as Cheney seeks further to divide and destabilize this country in a futile attempt to rescue his reputation. But his reputation is unrescuable, his crimes a matter of record, and his character now indelibly written in history. Our job is to never let him forget it, to never let history be re-written and to remain resolute in bringing both him and those who attacked us to justice. And that is in the presidential oath of office.