Monday, November 7, 2005

Kinky

Okay, so I don’t know all the ins and outs of the defense policy; hell, I’m not even sure the people at the Pentagon do. But this story from the Washington Post about Vice President Cheney being against the ban on using torture is just plain…well, odd.

In recent months, Cheney has been the force against adding safeguards to the Defense Department’s rules on treatment of military prisoners, putting him at odds with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon R. England. On a trip to Canada last month, Rice interrupted a packed itinerary to hold a secure video-teleconference with Cheney on detainee policy to make sure no decisions were made without her input.

Just last week, Cheney showed up at a Republican senatorial luncheon to lobby lawmakers for a CIA exemption to an amendment by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners. The exemption would cover the CIA’s covert “black sites” in several Eastern European democracies and other countries where key al Qaeda captives are being kept.

Cheney spokesman Steve Schmidt declined to comment on the vice president’s interventions or to elaborate on his positions. “The vice president’s views are certainly reflected in the administration’s policy,” he said.

Increasingly, however, Cheney’s positions are being opposed by other administration officials, including Cabinet members, political appointees and Republican lawmakers who once stood firmly behind the administration on all matters concerning terrorism.

Maybe he just likes to watch.