Cheney’s Justification for Torture Highlights How Very Different Obama Is from Bush


Obama never asked us to give up a major freedom so he could get Bin Laden. He just got him.

This is really all that needs to be said in response to so many things, not the least of which is Dick Cheney’s predictable yet still stomach wrenching attempts to justify abandoning democracy and our core values in order to achieve a goal he admits in the same interview was not achieved. Cheney was featured on Meet the Press Sunday to justify the Bush administration’s actions in light of the newly released Senate Intelligence Committee torture report.

The only person who achieved anything close to that goal was the same President whom Republicans accuse of being “weak” on torture, wherein “weak” means not a sociopath, but an effective eliminator of a major threat.

Cheney told Chuck Todd, “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective” when asked about the tortured detainees who were innocent. Does the former Republican VP regret it? “I would do it again in a minute.” As for former Republican President Bush getting off sans blame, his VP made sure to set the record straight, saying, “This man knew what we were doing. He authorized it. He approved it.”

No more playing dumb.

Republicans do not understand that values are not things you force people to give up in the name of fear. They are not things to be sacrificed in the pursuit of a goal. Living up to the value is the goal.

Even under duress, especially under duress. That is when values are tested. If they don’t hold up under duress, they aren’t a value.

There is no excuse for violating basic freedoms and laws. There is no excuse for violating human decency. Not only is torture not effective and thus inexcusable, but it is not legal. It is legal to kill people in war. It is not legal to capture them and torture them. The reasons for this are preschool level obvious.

Republicans want everyone to buy their line that this was and is the only way, and so they show violent pictures and repeat over and over again ugly, horrific things the terrorists want to do or have done. Yes, many of these things are real and they are horrific and despicable.

They do not justify us becoming horrific and despicable.

The response to horrific and despicable acts is to hold them up for the world to see so that we can all fight them as a unified force. To lead the way with some semblance of democracy. To shine a light in the dark.

Often the very people pushing torture and fear have never actually been in a situation where someone was trying to kill them. Dick Cheney took five deferments to avoid service in Vietnam and Slate reported that in 1989 he told George C. Wilson of the Washington Post, “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service.”

I have been in a situation where someone was trying to kill me. I know evil.

I also worked enough with the military to understand the importance of allowing our troops to defend themselves, a point I am not arguing against.

Torture is not defense.

Obama got Osama and he didn’t ask us to give him a single moment of our freedoms to do it. He didn’t terrify us with terror alert levels or shun those who disagreed with him as an enemy of the state. He never used the horror to advance an unrelated political agenda.

Listening to Dick Cheney speak today on Meet the Press made me wonder exactly what agenda is at play when pundits accuse Obama of being like Bush. A person can’t be that ignorant. If a person lacks discernment to this degree, they either aren’t paying attention or are too ignorant/misinformed to merit a moment of precious time.

There are plenty of criticisms that can be launched at Obama, but to compare him to the Bush administration on issues of war or torture — or more broadly an “imperial presidency” — is a travesty of false equivalency that is near criminal in its obvious attempt to whitewash the dirty horrors of the Bush administration.

This was what the Bush years were filled with — emotional appeals used to cover up dark deeds. Hijacking of freedoms with fear. Lowest common denominator plays.

And it didn’t work. Not only was it ugly and demeaning to our core values, it did not work.

And that should be the end of the “torture justification”, but instead, our media is giving a platform and carrying water for the architects of the destruction of democracy once again. This is yet another reason why it’s hard to take them seriously when they claim they are only hyperventilating about a glitch in a website to bring affordable healthcare to everyone part of their job as the “fourth estate”.

Where is the fourth estate now? Where were they then? Bowing down to Big Daddy so he would keep us “safe”; aka, not safe at all and down several freedoms to boot. Well done.

Obama got Osama and he didn’t need to silence everyone who disagreed with him in order to do it. He didn’t need to give billions in government contracts with no accountability to family friends. He didn’t need to violate international laws to do it. He didn’t need to alienate several previous allies to do it. He just did it.

So it can be done, and does not require silencing of freedoms and abandonment of values.

48 Replies to “Cheney’s Justification for Torture Highlights How Very Different Obama Is from Bush”

  1. Rove: CIA’s Waterboarding Not Torture Like Japanese War Crimes Because We Raised Detainee’s Legs
    In an interview on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace pointed out that the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s use of torture had revealed techniques including a “series of near drownings,” sleep deprivation, and unnecessary “rectal feedings.”

    “Isn’t that torture by any definition?” Wallace asked.

    “No,” Rove insisted. “Let’s get the rectal feedings out. In this report, there are nine references on 14 pages to rectal feedings. And four of those five, it is the result of a hunger strike by the detainee.”

    Republicans are truly blood gurgling sociopaths.

  2. So, let me get this straight: Selling us and our country’s core beliefs out is OK as long as we get our man.

    Hey, Dick: Just. Shut. UP. You couldn’t catch a cold if it was near you without a shotgun.

  3. But the thing is there was nothing in the report to prove that torture worked. Nothing but as long as they keep saying it and the media don’t call them out the stupid among us will believe it that’s why a majority approves of torture. Just sad

  4. The most disturbing thing about Cheney, even more disturbing than the fact that he defends torture and would do it all over again, he revels in the idea of torture, he takes delight in the practice of torture. Who does that besides a bloodthirsty psychopath? The man is pure evil.

  5. Lets not forget Condi
    Condoleezza Rice gave permission for the CIA to use waterboarding techniques on the alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah as early as July 2002, the first known official approval for the technique, according to a report released by the Senate intelligence committee yesterday.

    The revelation indicates that Rice, who at the time was national security adviser and went on to be secretary of state, played a greater role than she admitted in written testimony last autumn.

    Rice gave early approval for CIA waterboarding, Senate report reveals

    • Go-ahead in July 2002 is first known official approval
    • Finding suggests greater Rice role than she admitted

  6. Republican: a wannabe-bully who gets a vicarious thrill watching monsters like Dick Cheney lie and get away with torture and murder.

  7. I came upon this website and thanks to you and others I have learned so much. I am what you call a newbie in politics. Again, keep up the good work.

  8. Cheney may have a new heart but it’s not blood pumping through his veins. What I watched today on Meet The Press was a man without shame. More like ice water being pumped through his cold heart.

  9. with that admonition from darth cheney, i would imagine if he ever tries and leave the country for europe, he would be subject to arrest. i know the UN will do something symbolic, but the UN has no teeth.

    fox will make sure that these words will be a big part of their xmas celebration.

  10. Republicans are blinded by money, beyond that nothing else of any importance seems to matter as principles and morality have already fallen by the wayside.As long as Cheney stood a good chance of making a buck from his mates at Halliburton while he dragged us all into war with Iraq under false pretenses he didn’t care to bother about the truth.He can’t accept the truth about torture either which is hardly surprising.

  11. So, Mr. Mr. Cheney says it’s OK with him for others to torture our people if they choose to because it is acceptable and not immoral. As long, of course, it is not used on him to get secret information they want.

  12. Senate Proves that Torture Didn’t Produce Anything Useful

    Frankly, it’s just that simple. People who continue to argue that using Torture – and, yes under the law that’s exactly what it was – was somehow “worth it” because it saved American Lives, well, the fact is that it didn’t.

    What’s already known is that the first subject of torture techniques, Abu Zubahdah, did provide information, for example he identified KSM as the 9-11 Mastermind and he revealed the “Dirty Bomb” plot involving Jose Padilla, however these pieces of information were gained before – repeat before – the decision to ramp up to using torture techniques was approved by the OLC.

  13. Do your research as the torturers should have. It has been log established that torture yields little to no info of value. This is well documented and proved. Ask We Job McCain. When found guilty, these criminals should also have to repay taxpayers the money spent to accomplish nothing.

  14. YOU: “thank you, George Bush, Dick Cheney and the CIA for doing the dirty work of keeping us safe”

    Keeping us safe? KEEPING US SAFE?!?

    Please tell that to the the families of the 3,000 souls who died on 9/11/01.

    Especially after Dubya was specifically told in his Presidential Daily Briefing of 8/6/01 “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” – to which Dubya infamously replied:

    “All right, you’ve covered your ass now.”

    Bush, Cheney, Yu, Rice, et al are f/cking WAR CRIMINALS!

  15. The torture “psychologists” are living large:

    Mitchell’s pied a torture is in Florida. Records describe a waterfront residence on six-tenths of an acre and appraised at more than $880,000, with 4,233 square feet of living space, four bathrooms, a three-car garage, a pool, central air-conditioning, and a wooded walkway leading to a lakeside combination dock and gazebo.

    Jessen’s is in the state of Washington, situated on 15 acres and appraised at $1,599,900. Records describe this house as 6,916 square feet, with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms. An aerial image shows what appears to be a spa, roiling water apparently carrying no nasty connotations.

  16. Hannity and Fox continue to justify torture, so isn’t it time someone reminded Hannity that he offered to be water boarded
    when this all came up before, he never carried that through. Now is the time.

    Going back to the Nuremburg war trials, a young officer who interrogated prisoners said that it is essential to gain their trust, they will never co-operate under
    stress. He later became a friend to us, he also became the American ambassador to Luxembourg under Reagan and his name was John Dolibois.
    One other thing, as a small child in WW2 England we had German prisoners held there, they were treated kindly, spoke of their families and even helped on farms as our men were all away fighting. I had an aunt who was the matron of a Land Army girls hostel, where girls helped on the farms too, never was there a problem and after the war my Aunt got letters from the prisoners thanking them for the kind treatment and telling of their experiences
    when they went home to their families.

  17. Further to my last comment, the faded and yellow letters that I found after the death of my aunt were passed on to my daughter, now I feel like they really are an important part of history.

  18. I want to add something about John Dolibois, he was the last living person to interrogate Hitlers inner circle, Goering and others, he went to see the train carriages full of bodies, and the piles of bodies – he still kept his humanity while
    interrogating them. Sorry to rant on but he died this past year -2014 and was a great man.

  19. Jahknee that is the most disturbing aspect of Cheney, the fact he will never be put behind bars. He will always live a life of ease and great comfort, never paying in any fashion for the crimes he was involved in. The only hardship Mr CHENEY will find is his inability to travel out side of the U.S. With out being under arrest from some organization. Mr. Cheney is untouchable!!! I wish, someone could kidnap him, take him out of the U.S. and put him on trial….then continue and get the rest Bush, Condoleeezzzaa Rummy the whole lot.
    These people are the blackest blot on our country the Constitution and our freedom.

  20. I’m still gobsmacked about “rectal feeding”. If they were concerned for their health the treatment would be tube feeding or IV nutrition. Even so I can’t remember the last time a judge ordered forced feeding a prisoner on a hunger strike. I’m sure some baggertard could clear that up for me with some good old questionable declarations, though.

  21. I’m no fan of Cheney or Bush, but before you start putting Obama on a pedestal ask of him the question: “what did you do to help the Dr. who pinpointed Bin Laden’s location?” The answer is nothing. He is still in a Pakistani jail. Obama “got” Bin Laden because he just happened to be POTUS when Bin Laden was located. There is nothing humane or credible about any of them.

  22. If you are going down the torture road, it sucks to be you. Obama was the only one interested in getting OBL. You may remember the words no long relevant? Of coruse you do.

    First, they got the name years ago. Then, under Obama, the recreated OBL group got more information on where and who the guy was. Yes, I will thank Obama, not herr Bushler

  23. rectal rehydration, Physicians for Human Rights have an opinion on its use to deal with hunger strikes.

    “Contrary to the CIA’s assertions, there is no clinical indication to use rectal rehydration and feeding over oral or intravenous administration of fluids and nutrients,” said Dr. Vincent Iacopino, PHR’s senior medical advisor. “This is a form of sexual assault masquerading as medical treatment. In the absence of medical necessity, it is clear that the only purpose behind this humiliating and invasive procedure is to inflict physical and mental pain.”

    CIA Torture Report Highlights Unnecessary Medical Procedure Rectal Hydration and Rectal Feeding is Not Medically Justified – See more at:

  24. Our National Shame: Dick Cheney Is Still a Free Man Today Let us say, and why not, that American civilians were taken by another country like, say, oh, hell, howzabout Russia under the pretext that they might have information about Chechnyan terrorist attacks. Let us say, and, really, why not, that those Americans were treated like the CIA treated the prisoners it held at black sites around the world, that they were waterboarded, forced to be nude in cold temperatures, slammed around walls, forced to act like dogs, put inside coffin-sized containers, sometimes folded into ones even smaller, and were sodomized with tubes shooting food into their assholes. Let us say that at least some of those Americans were guilty of no crimes other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time and that they knew nothing of any help to Russian intelligence. – See more at:

  25. The United States of America willingly signed the Geneva Accords, one of which forbids torture under any circumstances. Under the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, treaties must be respected as a part of the Constitution. Scalia and allegedly learned people like him only degrade the Constitution.

  26. rbockman in the next war( and there will be another, if rethugs have their way)will you be so thankful when one of your children is captured and tortured? This is guaranteed because we(our nation) tortured. So mr.rbockman, when one of yours, be it grandchild, member of any part of your family, any sort of relative is tortured, don’t expect any comfort. Remember how thankful you were.

  27. Oh I guess in here we are supposed to argue about a single incident of 2 1/2 buildings being destroyed which did have 2k people in it, but would be very unlikely to have me or you inside of it. We are supposed to act like this could happen to us (lightning striking you chance is greater) and it’s the most important thing ever. Let’s submit all of our rights and let Obama take all of our guns and tax us into oblivion. The only enemy here is our government and some might think these terrorists are actually doing us a favor by knocking them down a few pegs. Why would a regular american citizen care that the elites dynasty is under attack? We could argue that it’s good for the regular people just as well we could say they’ll destroy america.

  28. WTF !! You know its to early to be smoking meth. Name one bill, one executive action anything where the President has taken away your gun. Dumbass

  29. John, how could you be so incredibly uneducated? Thanks to Obama your taxes are the lowest they have been in a very very long time. I wont even go into the gun thing because that’s the common cry of an illiterate Low class person. If your enemy is the government, then you are the terrorist.

    I would suggest that you get off FOXNews and the rest of the conservative news mags, because they’re not doing anything for your Intelligence quotient

  30. obama doesn’t “torture”, he kills. he prefers using drones to kill suspected terroristsinstead of capturing them and damn the collateral damage. he has killed over four hundred children because his drones kill suspected terrorists at weddings,family gatherings,anyplace he can target a person he wants killed. women,children die. he doesn’t want anymore detainees at Guantanamo so he kills them. so much blood on his hands and so much silence from his obedient followers. so much anger for waterboarding so little compassion for dead children.

  31. The Moral Calamity Of The Obama Administration

    Alas, as we also have learned from the polling over the past week, it would not have been an easy prosecution to sell to a public that is more willing to trust a television show than it is to trust the Geneva Conventions. (This line of thinking, if should be noted, has as an adherent a sitting justice of the United States Supreme Court.) That is what made the moral calamity of the Obama Administration inevitable. The president is not an amoral man. Neither is he stupid. He knew full well, despite all his glowing rhetoric about the fundamental decency of the American people, that, for its own scurvy purposes, the previous administration unleashed the darkest collective human impulses that the country possesses, that the previous administration made good use of fear and ignorance, and the anger that is their monstrous stepchild, and that it profited politically and personally for having done so

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