Virtually every Sunday, I take advantage of C-Span radio by listening to the re-broadcasts of the Sunday talk shows. In all honesty, it is the most of Fox News that I can take (Fox News Sunday), and as I listen to the likes of Chris Wallace and Bill Kristol, I find myself wondering if I've somehow stepped into an alternate universe, a twisted Narnia if you will. Occasionally, Juan Williams and Mara Liasson will say something that sounds similar to most of the news that I will have been aware of, but the rest of the conversations usually leave me with my mouth agape.
This past Sunday was particularly galling. I listened to the Wallace interview of Dick Cheney, and could not believe what I was hearing. Take a look:
Incredible, just incredible. I've never heard so many misleading and offensive statements. The idea that the Bush Justice Department wasn't politicized, and that the Obama Justice Department is, is just outrageous. Cheney's outright dismissal of the UN Convention Against Torture, which was signed by Reagan, is equally outrageous. That alone should trigger investigations. And I find it interesting that some on the right are using the "morale of the CIA" as a cover for potentially illegal actions. If what the Bush Justice Department did was solidly legal, then a solid review from a new Justice Department should yield similar results. Right?
Andrew Sullivan rightly puts Wallace's business out in the street for this sad excuse for an interview. I would love to know how Cheney would fare in an interview with Rachel Maddow. If her debut on "Meet the Press" is any indication, then I think we might see real television drama.
Speaking of Cheneys, I saw the Huffington Post link to the Liz Cheney/Sam Donaldson confrontation. There were two things that intrigued me about that entire vid clip. First, I thought that Gwen Ifill did an excellent job of pointing out the inconsistencies with what the Bush administration did and existing public policy, and made it clear that an investigation would only make sense. Second, I was astonished to hear Liz Cheney say that waterboarding "isn't torture."
Yet, John McCain said that waterboarding is indeed torture, and more importantly that "torture harmed us." Our reputation is stained in the world; our moral authority is compromised. And, in that twisted Narnia that the Cheneys occupy, torture helped us.
McCain has this bizarre idea that investigating something in violation of our laws, our treaties, is a bad thing. How can we not look into it? I have not a single doubt that if this were a new GOP administration following a Democratic administration with all that happened in the last seven years, the GOP would want full scale investigations into every possible law that might have been broken, and it would have neither shame nor hesitation in calling for such investigations.
I disagree with the idea that we need to look away. I think that Dick Cheney is just itching for a fight, almost daring the Obama administration to try to take him on. I wish Obama would. With each new interview, Cheney happily displays his disregard for past public policy on the issue of torture; he also sends a message out to the world that the current administration is weak on terror and foreign policy, that Obama simply doesn't know what he is doing and isn't taking American security seriously. That type of commentary once was considered close to treasonous during the Bush administration; it's amazing how standards change so rapidly.
Ultimately, I hope that the special prosecutor, John Durham, finds information that will force the Obama administration to act finally, conduct a full scale investigation, and eventually restore the rule of law (and if Dick Cheney, among others, finds himself in all sorts of legal trouble, I will not be sad).