For another point of view on whether Dick Cheney should face prosecution, here is Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, now writing his own blog on "The Dish." Here he is responding to Cheney's last tv interview, which came after the release of the Senate Committee report on CIA and torture:
"His interview last night is worth revisiting . . . . [He is] clearly
rattled. He is used to proclaiming categorical truths about things he
knows will never be made public. He is used to invoking what he says he
knows from secret intelligence without any possibility of being
contradicted. This interview is the first time he has made statements
about torture that can be fact-checked by the record. And, he is proven
to be a liar . . . .
"He doesn’t address the mountain of evidence. He is simply ruling it out of bounds – after admitting he hasn’t even read it! . . . . He merely invokes other CIA official
denials as an authority – when they too are charged with war crimes.
That’s like a gangster claiming he is innocent on the basis of his
gang-members’ testimony. He blusters on. In a court of law, his
performance would be, quite simply, risible as an act of self-defense.
It becomes some primal scream version of “Because I said it worked! . . . "
Citing transcript evidence that, rather than torture being used as a last resort, Sullivan continues:
"In fact, it is prima facie evidence that torture was used as a first resort, and it was a first resort because Cheney already knew
it was the only way to get intelligence. How he knew we don’t know. No
one in professional interrogation believed or believes it. So you have
clear evidence that the decision to torture was taken early on – and
nothing was allowed to stand in its way. This was an ideological
decision – not a policy judgment based on evidence. . . .
"What we have here is a staggering thing: the second highest official
in a democracy, proud and unrepentant of war crimes targeted at hundreds
of prisoners, equating every single one of the prisoners – including
those who were victims of mistaken identity, including American citizens
reading satirical websites, including countless who had nothing to do
with any attacks on the US at all – with the nineteen plotters of one
terror attack. We have a man who, upon being presented with a meticulous
set of documents and facts, brags of not reading them and who continues
to say things that are definitively disproved in the report by CIA
"This is a man who not only broke the law and the basic norms of
Western civilization, but who celebrates that. If this man is not
brought to justice, the whole idea of justice in this country is a joke."
Part of me feels the same way toward Dick Cheney. And yet I'm not sure it is the best way to set the record straight -- because any attempt to hold Cheney legally accountable will be fought tooth and top defense lawyer nail, and we would probably never get a clear verdict.
I'd still settle for a clear, unimpeachable record of what happened (building on this important report that Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) bulldogged into the light of day. It is based on actual documents (emails, written reports) rather than on personal testimony Cheney criticizes it for that: "They didn't even interview a single person that was involved." No, but they read the email of those people written contemporaneously, which is probably closer to revealing the truth.
The editorial reads, in part:
"No amount of legal pretzel logic can justify the behavior detailed in the [Senate Intelligence Committee] report. Indeed, it is impossible to read it and conclude that no one can be held accountable. At the very least, Mr. Obama needs to authorize a full and independent criminal investigation. . . .
"The question everyone will want answered, of course, is: Who should be held accountable? That will depend on what an investigation finds, . . . But any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who drafted what became known as the torture memos. . . .