Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What's a little torture between friends?

No one who's paid attention to typical BushCorp™ modus operandi should be shocked that Darth Cheney is hip deep in the Valerie Plame scandal. From the AP:

While it is not against the law for three high-level officials to discuss the identity of a CIA agent, the conversation is part of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation of whether crimes were committed when Plame's name was leaked to journalists.

The New York Times, quoting unidentified lawyers involved in the case, said Libby's notes differed from his grand jury testimony. Libby reportedly told grand jurors he learned Plame's name from reporters.

There is nothing in the public record to suggest that Cheney, like perhaps Libby and deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, pointed reporters toward the CIA official in conversations about her husband, diplomat Joe Wilson.

But the investigation has lifted the veil on the White House's brass-knuckle political culture — and Cheney's role in it.

The latest disclosure also raises fresh questions about the vice president's credibility, long-ago frayed by inaccurate or questionable statements on

But really, what's a little public lying from someone who's also in favor of torture? From today's WaPo:
VICE PRESIDENT Cheney is aggressively pursuing an initiative that may be unprecedented for an elected official of the executive branch: He is proposing that Congress legally authorize human rights abuses by Americans. "Cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of prisoners is banned by an international treaty negotiated by the Reagan administration and ratified by the United States. The State Department annually issues a report criticizing other governments for violating it. Now Mr. Cheney is asking Congress to approve legal language that would allow the CIA to commit such abuses against foreign prisoners it is holding abroad. In other words, this vice president has become an open advocate of torture. [Emphasis mine-CK]

As the Post notes, such an official stance is both unprecedented at this level of government, as well as indefensible. Fortunately the senate is, for once, not buying:
This summer Mr. Cheney told several Republican senators that President Bush would veto the annual defense spending bill if it contained language prohibiting the use of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by any U.S. personnel.

The senators ignored Mr. Cheney's threats, and the amendment, sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), passed this month by a vote of 90 to 9. So now Mr. Cheney is trying to persuade members of a House-Senate conference committee to adopt language that would not just nullify the McCain amendment but would formally adopt cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as a legal instrument of U.S. policy. The Senate's earlier vote suggests that it will not allow such a betrayal of American values. As for Mr. Cheney: He will be remembered as the vice president who campaigned for torture.

And should Bush choose to excersize the threatened, though rarely used (by him) presidential veto he will join his veep in further ignominy.

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