Anyone who tells you that they remember the administration of George W. Bush fondly compared to our current president—Nancy Pelosi included—is overlooking, well, pretty much everything about the Bush administration. Former vice president Dick Cheney played a very big role in the horrors of the Bush years, and you will not be surprised to learn that he’s still the same giant asshole who once shot someone in the face and just never apologized for it.
In an interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo on Sunday, Cheney doubled down on his love of torture while defending President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel.
“We’ve had seventeen years to digest what happened after 9/11, and of course, much has been made about the torture programs and the interrogation programs,” Bartiromo said. “You’ve been vocal about this, that at the time you said this was the right thing to do. Correct?”
“I believed in it, I was heavily involved in getting it set up and getting the opinion out of the Justice Department on how far we could go,” Cheney said, an admission that would get him a cell at The Hague if we lived in anything close to a just world. “I’m not one of those persons who calls it torture, an awful lot of people do. But it wasn’t and it was set up in a way that was in fact consistent with our fundamental statutes and agreements that were in place—it worked.”
“Waterboarding was applied, actually, to only three individuals,” Cheney continued, arguing that it worked because one of those three individuals was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a former top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden who was involved in the planning and execution of 9/11. In doing so, he cited a CIA study.
“He’s the guy who got waterboarded more than anybody else, I think what we did ultimately helped produced the intelligence we needed to get bin Laden,” Cheney said. “I supported it wholeheartedly, I still do to this day, prepared to defend it, debate it, argue it.” Bartiromo then asked Cheney if it was the “right move” to discontinue the torture program, and Cheney said no, that we would still be torturing people if it were his choice, before lamenting the fact that Congress has since changed the law to more explicitly prohibit the use of torture.
“There are a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks in the terrorism business,” Cheney said.
The father of another “high-value detainee” alleged in an affidavit in 2006 that Mohammed’s sons—who were detained at the ages of seven and nine, respectively—were also tortured:
The Pakistani guards told my son that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs, and were denied food and water by other guards. They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding. The Americans also once stripped and beat two Arab boys, ages fourteen and sixteen, who were turned over by the Pakistani guards at the detention center.
This is the legacy of the torture program, one that both Cheney and the next CIA director are complicit in.
“I think she’d be a great CIA director...she’s done a great job in terms of the career she’s built,” Cheney said of Haspel, a career that has included giving orders to destroy evidence that detainees were tortured. “I think the Democrats are trying to find some way to vote against her, but it’s hard.”
[H/T Raw Story]