You know, it was a big week. . . lots to talk about, lots of insanely insane Republicans to shamelessly shame. . . but what with all this “he said, she said,” with the “she” being Nancy Pelosi, isn’t it time we talked about, you know, the, um, elephant in the room?

That’s right, tonight, let’s talk about Dick.

There has been a great deal of excellent reporting on this site by the likes of Marcy, Jane, and Spencer, among others, showing that there is now pretty solid evidence that the CIA misled those in Congress tasked with oversight—that the Bush Administration waited until after it began torturing detainees to inform the likes of Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Bob Graham about these “enhanced” programs. . . and, even then, it is possible they withheld important facts. Yet, pretty much every news segment I catch is starting and ending the argument with whether Speaker Pelosi is hiding something, and whether it is over the line to accuse the CIA of lying.

I got news for ya’, it isn’t even close to over the line—but that’s not where I want to go tonight. . . .

Because before you get to Pelosi, or to Graham, or Jane Harman, or a host of other congressional leaders who in good time should be held accountable for their action or inaction during the Bush years—before you get to any of that—one thing had to happen. . . .

Someone had to order the torture. Someone had to sign off on the program in its design phase, someone had to render a group of detainees, hold them outside the reach of US law, and someone had to give the order to have them tortured.

I could, at this point, throw out the name George W. Bush—he was president at the time, after all—but we now have pretty good evidence that the real authority for waterboarding (to name but the most talked about of many illegally brutal “techniques”), the real orders to “do that,” and “do that again,” came from the vice president. The order to torture came from Dick Cheney.

Let me say that again: Dick Cheney ordered torture.

Not Nancy Pelosi; Dick Cheney.

Before there were any briefings of any Democrats, there was the torture—a violation in-and-of itself—and that torture was ordered by Republican Vice President Dick Cheney.

And to take it one step further, that torture wasn’t ordered up to save us from some imagined “ticking bomb” scenario (not that torture would even solve that particular problem, and not that, even if it did, it could be justified), it was ordered to make detainees produce a specific, desired piece of information (or disinformation). Dick Cheney wanted a connection between the attacks of September 11, 2001 and Iraqi leader Sadam Hussein, and so Cheney told interrogators contractors to torture detainees until they stated that there was a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

They signed off on a reverse-engineered program designed to help US troops survive “brain washing,” and then used that program to elicit false confessions.

All at the behest of tonight’s big fucking elephant, Dick Cheney.

I know all of that has been said before, but I felt like I needed to say it again. What do you need to say about this week’s execrable elephants?

Gregg Levine

Gregg Levine

61 Comments