copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
There was a break in the news. On Cable News Network Wolf Blitzer was noticeably moved. He excitedly reported; Dick Cheney confessed. Broadcaster Blitzer’s words were a bit more tempered. He said, “This just coming into The Situation Room. The Vice President, Dick Cheney, has given ABC News an interview and confirming now publicly that the Bush administration did engage in the very controversial interrogation tactic of waterboarding.” The Commentator then asked America to listen to the clip. ABC News Correspondent Jonathan Karl inquired of the outgoing high-level government official, “Did you authorize the tactics that were used against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?” Without hesitation, the Vice President responded. “I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the — the process cleared, as the agency, in effect, came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn’t do. . . . (T)hey talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it.
Viewers vented. Some shifted nervously in their seats. However, The Judicial Watch was not amused. Nor were they elated. The answer was not the one this Conservative organization, hoped for, groped for, and searched for though the courts, for all these many years. Vice President Cheney did not confess to sins conceived long before September 11, 2001. He told said nothing of the maps and charts of Iraqi oil fields. Foreign suitors for Iraqi oilfield contracts were not discussed as they had been in March 5, 2001, six months and six days before the infamous September 11 attacks.
No, Dick Cheney, spoke of none of what might have interested Judicial Watch. Perchance, those involved with this institute listened and wondered of the Iraq oil map. would the Vice President confess to knowledge of these? From appearances, it seemed he would not.
Seeming pleased with his decision and participation, the man second to the Commander-In-Chief avowed, “It’s been a remarkably successful effort and I think the results speak for themselves.” Indeed, the consequences do speak volumes, as does Dick Cheney’s willingness to disclose what for so long has been an elusive truth. Yet, a few wondered; was this statement a confession, or merely a confirmation of what had long been known, an acknowledgment of sorts?
As the words tripped off Dick Cheney’s tongue, the public began to talk. Millions were ecstatic. He admitted it, they declared. Throughout cyberspace and in local communities people were all abuzz. Announcers throughout the airwaves and people on the streets pondered. “Did he just say that?” The answer was, of course he did. Richard Bruce Cheney knew, as he has reason to understand. He is indeed, above the law. A myriad of moments affirmed this for him. Given years of opportunities, the Democrats consistently have chosen not to touch him.
Oh, a few tried. More might insist that Dick Cheney be removed from office, just as many attested to the need to indict the President. However, nothing was done.
Former Senator and nominee for the President, George McGovern could not convince the Democratic leadership. Florida Congressman Robert Wexler actively campaigned to, at least, begin hearings. In November 6, 2007 Dennis Kucinich offered a Privileged Resolution in his attempt to avail the Congress of the need to censure Cheney. However, the Democrats averted the opportunity.
Hence, Dick Cheney trusted he was safe to speak of virtually anything. Specifically, the Vice President was certain he was safe to discuss his role in ‘purposeful persecution.’ Mister Cheney recalled that the Democrats decreed by their silence that torture was sanctioned. In reality, Progressives presented the President and his Cabinet with a dictum of faith in the practice. Those who supposedly sit on the Left side of the aisle signed, sealed, and delivered a permission slip for abusive behaviors on the part of Americans in December 2002, almost six years to the day from what some had hoped was a confession.
The news today that leading Democrats, including Jane Harman and Nancy Pelosi, were informed about the torture of military prisoners and allegedly didn’t just acquiesce but actually approved it is not something that particularly surprises. The descent into war crimes under this administration provoked very little public Democratic anger or resistance for the years in which it was used most promiscuously. The presidential campaign of John Kerry offered only token opposition. The subject never came up in a single presidential debate in 2004. And the way in which the torture issue has subsequently been raised by Democrats bespeaks opportunism as much as principled outrage and opposition.
What was perhaps more extraordinary and less discussed from the ABC interview was the anomalous question posed to a reflective Vice President Cheney, had he changed. Earlier in the interview, Dick Cheney had offered that the 9-11 terrorist attacks had definitely became “a prime motivation” for his future decisions. He said, the events that occurred on that September day in 2001 ‘critically shaped his actions in the years that followed.’ Yet, concurrently, he attested to the fact he had not changed.
Dick Cheney’s answer was accurate and insincere, all in the same breath. Judicial Watch, Incorporated, “a Conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, [which] promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government,” might say this man is a marvel, an artist, and an articulate obfuscator. Judicial Watch should know.
When the Bush Administration formed the National Energy Policy Development Group and then proceeded to hold meetings in private, Judicial Watch sensed a clear violation of the Freedom of Information Act. The foundation took legal actions. “Unfortunately, on May 9, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Vice President’s Energy Task Force did not have to comply with the Federal Advisory Act.”
Hence, with a history of the Democrats and the Courts on Cheney’s side the man felt no compunction to share what might have caused some havoc, were there any mayhem to be had by opponents of the Administration. Jonathan Karl, the ABC News Journalist, who some thought captured a confession on tape affirmed and asked for another perchance candid comment, Mister Karl stated, “You probably saw Karl Rove last week said that if the intelligence had been correct, we probably would not have gone to war.” He was greeted with what is arguably not a confession; nor is the retort correct, or incorrect.
Cheney: I disagree with that.
This portion of the answer is true. Dick Cheney did differ with the notion that, were the intelligence correct, the United States would not have gone to war with Iraq. However, his reason was not as he went on to state. Stockpiles, an intent on the part of Saddam Hussein to supply terrorist organizations with arms or money did not incite the Vice President or likely the Administration. Granted, Dick Cheney did and does believe as he shared on air.
This was a bad actor and the country’s better off, the world’s better off, with Saddam gone, and I think we made the right decision, in spite of the fact that the original NIE was off in some of its major judgments.
What the Vice President neglected to say was what the Courts ruled he did not need to reveal. ““Executive privilege was improperly invoked by Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and now the Bush administration,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated. No, Dick Cheney did not, would not say that. A confession of such clarity certainly would not come from this public servant, at least not yet. That admission would be breaking news. Cable News Network Wolf Blitzer and every other Broadcaster, were that declaration of guilt to occur, would have a real reason to be excited. The Judicial Watch Educational Foundation would be elated. Were that to happen, perchance, the American people would be moved to finally act. For now, the public acquiesces while they sit and await an authentic confession.
Confessions and Concessions . . .
- Maps and Charts of Iraqi Oil Fields. Judicial Watch. March 5, 2002
- Iraq oil map. Judicial Watch. March 5, 2002
- Foreign suitors for Iraqi oilfield contracts Judicial Watch. March 5, 2002
- Call for Bush and Cheney Impeachment Hearings. Congressman Robert Wexler.
- Cheney Energy Task Force Documents Feature Map of Iraqi Oil Fields Judicial Watch. July 17, 2003
- McGovern: Impeach Bush, Cheney Now. CBS News. January 6, 2008
- Debate on Cheney impeachment averted. MSNBC News. November 6, 2007
- Kucinich Will Introduce Privileged Resolution To Force Up Or Down Vote On Cheney Impeachment. Congressman Dennis Kucinich. November 2, 2007
- Kucinich Pushes Cheney Impeachment, By David M. Herszenhorn. The New York Times. November 6, 2007
- The Democrats and Torture, By Andrew Sullivan. The Atlantic. December 9, 2007
- Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002, In Meetings, Spy Panels’ Chiefs Did Not Protest, Officials Say. By Joby Warrick and Dan Eggen. Washington Post. Sunday, December 9, 2007; A01
- Transcript: Cheney Defends Hard Line Tactics. In Exclusive Interview With ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney Opens Up About His Hard Line Tactics. . ABC News. December 15, 2008
- Exclusive: Cheney Holds Hard-Line Stance, In an Exclusive Interview with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney Opens Up About His Hard-Line Tactics. By Jonathan Karl. ABC News. December 15, 2008
- Is Bush the Worst President in the Last 50 Years? In Debate Over Bush Legacy, Karl Rove Defends Old Boss but Contradicts Him on WMD. By Russell Goldman. ABC News. December 3, 2008
- Judicial Watch
- Judicial Watch V. National Energy Development Group, et al. Cheney Task Force. Judicial Watch.