Former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on Fox News Wednesday night to defend the Bush Administration’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and dispute the findings of a Senate panel’s report regarding torture. Bret Baier sat down with Cheney for an exclusive interview (because Cheney wasn’t going to go to another network) to discuss the recent report and allow Cheney to bash its findings. There was just one problem — the former Veep admitted that he hadn’t actually read the report. Of course, this did not stop him from criticizing it.
The interview began with Cheney constantly defending the use of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that the Department of Justice signed off on to use against detainees. Early on, Cheney told Baier that former President George W. Bush was well aware of the entire program conducted by the CIA, essentially throwing Bush under the bus and making sure everyone knows Bush knew just as much as Cheney and others during that time. After that, Cheney then straddled a very careful line, claiming that the CIA did what was necessary to protect Americans and get vital information while stating that they did not “legally” commit torture.
Baier brought up specific instances of torture from the report, such as “rectal rehydration,” and asked Cheney to comment on them. Cheney frustratingly blurted out that the “report’s full of crap” and then eventually admitted that he hadn’t even read it. He claimed that he wasn’t going to sit down and read 6,000 pages. However, when Baier pointed out that the summary report released by the Senate is roughly 500 pages, Cheney acknowledged he hadn’t read that either, but had read “some summaries.”
Below is video of the interview, courtesy of Fox News:
It takes a lot of chutzpah to go on primetime television and do an interview on a devastating and newsworthy report without even bothering to read it. Of course, this is Cheney we’re talking about. And, to be frank, if there is one man who is intimately aware of the CIA’s use of torture and will defend it to the death regardless what a report says, it is Cheney. The whole point on having him on is to provide a full-throated defense of the Bush Administration’s tactics during the ‘War on Terror.’
One part of the interview was extremely revealing and, in my mind, shows Cheney confessing that they did torture detainees. He pointed out that the “terrorists were not covered by the Geneva Convention. They were not entitled to the normal courtesies.” That to me sounds like someone who is saying, “Yep, we tortured people, and there isn’t a thing you can do about it.” You could tell throughout the interview that Cheney wanted to just say outright that torture is perfectly acceptable and that they used it unapologetically. While that was his tone, he was very careful with his words.
One thing about some the apologists and defenders of that era, such as Cheney, is that they are saying that they made sure to have the CIA ‘techniques’ legally vetted by lawyers, therefore what happened wasn’t torture. I would just ask these defenders one question. How would you feel if American soldiers or political prisoners were subjected to these actions? My feeling is you would call it torture, and rightly so. We tortured people and got no real intelligence from our horrendous activities. While Cheney can live with himself, a lot of Americans are sickened by these revelations.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).