August 30, 2009 / by emptywheel


Dick Cheney: I’m Proud I Tortured to Protect Our Country But Not Our Allies

One key to Dick Cheney’s defense today is the proud boast that his torture policy worked.

I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaeda.


I’m very proud of what we did in terms of defending the nation for the last eight years successfully.


Chris, my sort of overwhelming view is that the enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks against the United States, and giving us the intelligence we needed to go find Al Qaeda, to find their camps, to find out how they were being financed. Those interrogations were involved in the arrest of nearly all the Al Qaeda members that we were able to bring to justice. I think they were directly responsible for the fact that for eight years, we had no further mass casualty attacks against the United States. 

It was good policy. It was properly carried out. It worked very, very well.


The thing I keep coming back to time and time again, Chris, is the fact that we’ve gone for eight years without another attack. Now, how do you explain that? 

The critics don’t have any solution for that. They can criticize our policies, our way of doing business, but the results speak for themselves.

I wonder how Jose Maria Aznar feels about Dick Cheney’s proud defense of torture? Spain’s former Prime Minister who staked much on supporting Cheney’s unpopular war in Iraq had that support rewarded with a vicious attack on Madrid’s subway. The attack happened a year after we started torturing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. But somehow, all the torture of al Qaeda’s mastermind somehow failed to prevent the Madrid attack.

I wonder what the families of those who died in the Madrid attack think, hearing Cheney defend his torture program by boasting of eight years with no attack?

Or what do the Indonesians think to hear of Cheney’s boast? Several months after we tortured Abu Zubaydah in 2002, Indonesia suffered from its worst terrorist attack, in Bali. Yet somehow waterboarding Abu Zubaydah did little to prevent those more than 200 deaths.

Or how about Jordan which–in 2005–suffered from bombings at the hand of Zarqawi at multiple western hotels. How does Jordan feel about Cheney’s boast? We tortured alleged Zarqawi ally Hassan Ghul in 2004, but that failed to prevent these bombings.

And how does Tony Blair feel, our poodle, who stayed loyal to America’s wars until the end? How does he feel when Cheney boasts of going eight years with no attacks when London’s subway was attacked? We tortured Abu Faraj al-Libbi earlier in 2005, before the London Tube attack. It failed to prevent that attack.

The fact of the matter is that all the torture that Cheney sponsored did little to prevent these attacks. Which means either his boast–that he has prevented another attack for eight years–is plainly false. Or that Cheney mobilized torture solely to protect America, and not to dismantle al Qaeda.

I wonder … if and when Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon convicts Cheney’s sidekicks David Addington and Jim Haynes for enabling torture, if he convicts Yoo and Bybee and Feith and Gonzales, will Cheney have any more shame than he does today, boasting that torture kept us safe from al Qaeda for eight years?

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