Head in the Sand

by Conor Friedersdorf

In an interview at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, conservative blogger Dan Riehl says the following about our former vice-president (emphasis added):

I’ve observed Dick Cheney for over two decades. And I also think more has been made of some alleged war on terror tactics by the opposition purely for political purposes. Isn’t that like creating a straw man then using it to launch an attack?

I’ve never known Cheney to do anything to harm this country in those decades, why should I expect that of him now for no reason? He seems to be a loyal, patriotic, law abiding American to me. Always has. So, given no evidence to the contrary, the onus should be upon his critics to tell me why I should mistrust him somehow. And not the reverse.

Questioner Scott Payne responds, "is it then your contention that if someone is patriotic that they are thereby incapable of doing something wrong or morally unacceptable, even, perhaps, in the name of said patriotism?" In a lengthy answer that I encourage you to go read, Mr. Riehl writes, "At most, as I understand it, anything Cheney allegedly endorsed discomforted some likely terrorists and I’ll even grant for purposes of discussion some few may have died."

So Mr. Riehl is aware of evidence based allegations that former vice-president Dick Cheney endorsed tactics that resulted in the death of possibly innocent detainees -- yet he simultaneously acts perplexed at the notion that there is any reason to think he acted illegally. Elsewhere in his answers, Mr. Riehl takes refuge in the fact that anything Mr. Cheney did wasn't as bad as incinerating millions of innocent people in a nuclear holocaust. It says something when that is your fallback argument. Again, you can read the whole interview here.