Monday, June 25, 2007

ObsidianWings on the WaPo Cheney articles

The Cheney Series: Abu Ghraib

Second, John Yoo "verbally warned lawyers for the president, Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that it would be dangerous as a matter of policy to permit military interrogators to use the harshest techniques, because the armed services, vastly larger than the CIA, could overuse the tools or exceed the limits." The fact that these techniques spread through the military was not some sort of tragic unforeseen event. They were warned that this might happen; they decided to allow the use of these techniques anyways; and if they did anything to try to prevent something like Abu Ghraib from happening as a result -- if they tried hard to train everyone involved in interrogations about what they could do and what they could not -- I haven't heard about it yet.

The Cheney Series: War Crimes

Time after time, various people say to Cheney and his staff: look, you need to realize that this line of argument will never be accepted by the courts. And every time, Cheney's response is: we insist on everything; we concede nothing; screw them. There is, as far as I can tell, no acknowledgement of the fact that the Courts have an independent role in setting out the legal limits on the actions of the Executive, or that they are anything more than an annoying hoop that has to be jumped through. Similarly with the Congress.

For this reason, it's not surprising that Cheney treats reversals of his policies in the Courts, or Congressional action overruling them, not as setting limits on what he should do, but as minor setbacks in a bureaucratic war, setbacks that he can overturn through deviousness and persistence. It's worth stopping to think about how wrong this is.

The Cheney Series: Weakness And Dysfunction

Besides explaining the backstory behind the administration's policy on torture, the Post's series of articles on Cheney (1, 2) also makes it clear that Dick Cheney is the co-worker from hell: secretive, devious, vindictive, backstabbing, and absolutely relentless in pursuit of his goals.