Fact Checking

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Before I get to posts about Sotomayor, I noticed (thanks to Mr. Furious) that McClatchy did a fact-check on Cheney's lines of bullshit in his speech last week against the Obama Administration's national security efforts.

Tangentally, it was being billed as a squaring-off. In reality, the Obama Administration could have given less of a flying fuck if Cheney spoke that day or not. This was being billed as a debate, which it wasn't. What it was was an embarrassing display of an Ex-Veep grousing about a new administration's policies.
And, it turns out, casting half-truths and lies. Color me shocked.

First, McClatchy,point-counterpoint style (click the link for all of it; I am just picking some of my personal favorites):

He [Cheney] quoted the Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair , as saying that the information [gained from waterboarding, etc.] gave U.S. officials a "deeper understanding of the al Qaida organization that was attacking this country."

In a statement April 21 , however, Blair said the information "was valuable in some instances" but that "there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means. The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."

A top-secret 2004 CIA inspector general's investigation found no conclusive proof that information gained from aggressive interrogations helped thwart any "specific imminent attacks," according to one of four top-secret Bush-era memos that the Justice Department released last month.
— Cheney said that President Barack Obama's decision to release the four top-secret Bush administration memos on the interrogation techniques was "flatly contrary" to U.S. national security, and would help al Qaida train terrorists in how to resist U.S. interrogations.

However, Blair, who oversees all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, said in his statement that he recommended the release of the memos, "strongly supported" Obama's decision to prohibit using the controversial methods and that "we do not need these techniques to keep America safe."
— Cheney accused Obama of "the selective release" of documents on Bush administration detainee policies, charging that Obama withheld records that Cheney claimed prove that information gained from the harsh interrogation methods prevented terrorist attacks.

"I've formally asked that (the information) be declassified so the American people can see the intelligence we obtained," Cheney said. "Last week, that request was formally rejected."

However, the decision to withhold the documents was announced by the CIA , which said that it was obliged to do so by a 2003 executive order issued by former President George W. Bush prohibiting the release of materials that are the subject of lawsuits.
— Cheney slammed Obama's decision to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and criticized his effort to persuade other countries to accept some of the detainees.

The effort to shut down the facility, however, began during Bush's second term, promoted by Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates .

"One of the things that would help a lot is, in the discussions that we have with the states of which they (detainees) are nationals, if we could get some of those countries to take them back," Rice said in a Dec. 12, 2007 , interview with the British Broadcasting Corp. "So we need help in closing Guantanamo ."

Now if only the MSM would pick-up on McClatchy's piece and shred Cheney's bullshit line for line as well, maybe he would finally crawl back under his rock.

But again, I am not going to act all surprised that he distorted the truth to make a case to a shrinking room of true believers.

What really surprised me about his speech is what it insinuates (again, H/T Mr. Furious, who credits Publius):
There was one part of Cheney’s speech that disturbed me though. From listening to Cheney (and others), you get the sense that they are now rooting for another terrorist attack.

In that respect, Cheney’s speech was more than a retroactive defense of past criminal acts. He was looking ahead. He was setting up the political chessboard to attack Obama and the Democrats in a particularly poisonous way if – God forbid – we are attacked again.
It's a quick read, and well worth it. The overall point is that blowback from Bush Administration torture and war policies will take a while to be achieved. It won't happen right away, but very well could happen under Obama's presidency, and Cheney will be the first in-line to use it as a hammer to say "I told you so."

Nobody wants that to happen, especially an administration trying hard to clean-up messes. But with as violently as Cheney is denouncing Obama's new takes on Bush-era policies, you gotta wonder if Publius is on to something. It's not that they are trying to make a terrorist attack happen. It's that they expect it, and are eagerly awaiting it, rather than letting Obama make his own way. Why else be so vocal if you don't otherwise mean to set the stage?


Bob 3:52 PM  

“There was one part of Cheney’s speech that disturbed me though. From listening to Cheney (and others), you get the sense that they are now rooting for another terrorist attack.”I totally believe this and believe that 9-11 was seen as an opportunity. In 1992ish Cheney, Rumsfeld and others drafted their plan to initiate preemptive invasions of countries throughout the Middle East. The first Bush President was smart enough to shelve it. That report stated that they would need a Pearl Harbor-like incident to implement it. They got their wish.

Why else be so vocal if you don't otherwise mean to set the stage?Cheney is inoculating himself from prosecution. If Congress or the Administration ever go after him, he can say it is to shut him up.

BTW- I am working on a Sotomayor/politics piece.

Smitty 3:56 PM  

Oh, cool. I'll hold off on mine then in lieu of yours. can't wait!

There was a clip on The daily Show yesterday or so, whereby Bill Kristol stated that he actually sides with Darth Vader. While I am sure it was banter taken out of context, it just seems to be so....right.

Andy 4:04 PM  

Seems to me that this is who Cheney is...but he was on a leash the whole time he was VP.

He is now off the leash and will be an attack-dog. That is what he will do in his retirement. Some people go to Florida and drink out of a coconut. Others try to save the planet (Gore). Cheney is going to play the "agitated former insider" role and gripe about things using selective facts.

No one believed him when he was VP (remember the whole WMD in Iraq argument) so why will they believe him now?

B Mac 4:11 PM  

...but he was on a leash the whole time he was VP.It almost, almost makes you respect W a little more.

Cheney's comments remind me a little of Michelle Bachmann's (R-Crazytown) comments about some Congressmen being "anti-America", and Sarah Palin's (R-Mavericktown) comments about "pro-America" parts of the country. The suggestion is that Obama is actively trying to make things go wrong.

I don't think Cheney hates freedom, security, or our troops. I just think he's a horrible human being.

steves 7:56 PM  

I agree with Andy. Cheney is a hard-nosed attack dog, much as was Nixon. That being said, I don't buy the notion that he is hoping for some kind of attack any more than I believed "liberals" wanted us to lose the war. I think he genuinely believe his poistion is the correct one and that Obama is doing things that will make an attack easier.

I don't tend to agree with Dick, but I don't see a problem with having this debate and I sure as shit wish we had this in the previous administration.

I was going to post something on Sotomayor, but I'll just shelve it. Frankly, I am overwhelmed with the sheer volume of stuff on her and her history, that I wouldn't know where to start.

Bob 6:58 AM  

I was going to post something on Sotomayor...I was hoping you would do more of a constitutional/legal analysis. No one else can do that but good ol Steve.

Smitty 7:58 AM  

I think he genuinely believe his poistion is the correct one and that Obama is doing things that will make an attack easier. I am sure Cheney thinks he is correct, but so far, everything he thinks is right has been horribly, horribly wrong. He is right in his own little vacuum. I'm happy to see debate, but the debate is between a guy trying to fix a broken situation, and another guy who advocated for everything wrong, was defeated soundly, is out of power, and is still trying to convince people that despite all the evidence, he was right. So you'll excuse my skepticism of Cheney's "pure" motives here...

And it's the belief that Obama is making an attack easier that is my greatest concern. His words and his actions are in anticipation of an attack. In an attack, he gets to say "I told you so" even though an attack may be due to blowback from his administration's policies. But saying "I told you so" allows he and his party a chance to re-ascend to power again. And then do all the shit we hate again.

Bob 9:36 AM  

Could someone remind Cheney that the last big attack was on his watch?

B Mac 10:22 AM  

Bob, obviously that one didn't count. Every administration gets one "gimme". Unless they hate America (cough cough OBAMA cough), in which case the first one proves your inability to protect the homeland.

Andy 10:33 AM  

Thanks, B Mac. That made my day. I laughed hard at that one!

Bob 11:03 AM  

I think we need to stop giving someone like Cheney the benefit of the doubt. We cannot assume he wants to protect the lives of Americans.

The dude got us into a war based on a freak neo-con ideology that in the end likely killed 800,000 Iraqi's and thousand of American soldiers.

This dude does not care about anyone’s life.

Smitty 12:48 PM  

I agree Bob; hence, this post. I think he does want an attack. It will suit his needs, which is re-ascenscion to power. He wanted the first one. And NOBODY can say he didn't know about...BECAUSE CONDI EVEN HAD A MEMO SAYING IT WAS COMING!!!

He and his ilk care about nothing other than the ability top exact their philosophy.

Mr Furious 9:02 PM  

I'm with you Smitty. Another attack is the surest, quickest and easiest-to-exploit route back to power for the Republicans.

I think Cheney relishes it, and plenty of others would be less-than-disappointed.

Pure cost-benefit analysis for them.

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