Monday, August 31, 2009

Offense Intended

Former Vice President Dick Cheney told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday that the probe into excessive torture by the CIA “offends the hell” out of him.

“I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from al Qaeda,” Cheney said. “The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, how did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?”

And, Cheney maintains, he has “serious doubts” about whether President Barack Obama “understands and is prepared to do what needs to be done to defend the nation.”

This is not the casual observation of some pundit like Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck; this man was the Vice President of the United States who is on the record as saying that he really doesn’t care if the CIA or our contracted interrogators broke the law. He also wistfully reflects that he was overruled on going even further. He’s also making the argument that doing so has prevented someone else from attacking us. This kind of smug arrogance — echoed by a fawning and snide Chris Wallace — ignores the fact that the attacks of September 11, 2001 occurred during the Bush administration a month after they ignored the warning that Osama bin Laden was determined to attack us within the United States. The clock on the Bush administration did not start on September 12. And are they going to take credit for the fact that we haven’t been struck by an eight-mile-wide asteroid, either?

All in all, it’s arrogant, self-serving, and sounds suspiciously like the opening statement of a defense attorney at a criminal trial. His sniping at the Obama administration makes him look petty, small, bitter, and more interested in furthering his own agenda — and those of his book sales — than really caring about what happens in the defense of our country or the reduction of the threats we all face. So if he takes offense at the fact that the Justice Department is looking into the conduct of the administration he served, that’s just too damn bad.