Original Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/worldviews/detail?blogid=15&entry_id=33714
By Edward M. Gomez
On Monday of this week, George W. Bush's scowling sidekick and secretive Svengali, Dick Cheney, emerged from his hiding place to speak with ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl. In his interview with the American TV network, Cheney acknowledged his approval of the torture methods the Bush-Cheney gang has employed in its hapless "war on terror."
Notes commentator Matthew Duss in Britain's Guardian: "The notion that the presidency of George [W.] Bush has been a disaster for the U.S. approaches the level of self-evident truth. It has actually become quite difficult to find anyone who isn't a personal friend of the president who will argue otherwise. But...Dick Cheney isn't sorry about any of it." In his ABC News interview he "betrayed no second thoughts - and certainly no remorse - about the policies pursued by the administration that he both served and, according to some, led. Watching Cheney's brusque dismissal of concerns about his methods in the [so-called] war on terror, you'd be forgiven for coming to the mistaken impression that these methods have worked. There is no evidence that they have."
Duss points out that, in the interview, when "pressed" by reporter Karl "on concerns" about the military jail at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, "where suspects are held indefinitely as 'illegal combatants,' Cheney claimed that many of them 'have been released back to their home countries.' He then insisted: 'What we have left is the hard core.' But, of course, Cheney has always insisted that those held in Guantánamo were the hard core - the 'worst of the worst,' as former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld put it - while ignoring evidence that many were falsely imprisoned there, and assiduously working to quash efforts to ascertain their actual guilt or innocence. Confronted with criticisms of the Bush administration's torture policy, Cheney simply lied, saying: 'We don't do torture. We never have.'" However, later in the ABC News interview, "Cheney bluntly admitted that he had supported the waterboarding of al-Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Waterboarding is, of course, torture, devised by torturers as a method of torture, an inconvenient fact...Cheney [had earlier] dealt with by simply declaring waterboarding [to be] 'not torture,' and then finding a lawyer or two willing to go along" with that assertion.
Agence France Presse, also referring to the ABC News interview, reports: "According to Cheney, some 30 detainees who were released from Guantánamo 'ended up back on the battlefield again, and we've encountered them a second time around. But they've either been killed or captured in further conflicts with our forces.'" Of the waterboarding to which Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was subjected, Cheney said: "I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do....And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it...." Agence France Presse notes: "ABC asked him if, in hindsight, he thought the tactics went too far. 'I don't,' Cheney said."
France's conservative daily, Le Figaro, points out to French readers that, customarily, at the end of his term in office, an American president can and does use his constitutionally designated power to issue pardons to wrongdoers, and that there is currently speculation about whether or not Bush might pardon, en masse, the many participants in his administration's lawless "war on terror" - including torturers on the U.S. government's payroll and their high-ranking enablers - who played criminal roles in that aimless battle.
A question for the Bush-Cheney gang's hair-splitting legal eagles: Would such an executive pardon explicitly cover Cheney's wrongdoings, too?