During the run-up to the war, we all heard about dear old dad's pressuring CIA for answers - answers that supported going to war with Iraq. We all know about the manufactured yellowcake memo, the aluminum tubes, the regular visits to CIA headquarters that were unprecedented by a VP. Now we know that not only did he visit, but that he had a reading room set up for him at CIA Headquarters. Remember the 23 mistakes in Powell's speech to the UN? Again, plenty of facts.
Last week you went on the Sunday talks and said that 'we just didn't know much about al Qaeda' prior to 9/11, ignoring the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, 2 African embassy bombings, the USS Cole bombing, and the Aug. 6, 2001 daily briefing after which Bush so famously stated, "okay, you've covered your ass"? More facts.
Yesterday, on This Week with George Stephanopolous, he asked you about reports this week about pressure to find links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Evidence that a prisoner of war, an aide to Saddam Hussein was tortured to prove that link and thus justify the invasion as detailed by General Powell's Chief of Staff Colonel Wilkerson. You say:
"I think it's important for us to have all the facts out. And the first and most important fact is that the vice president has been absolutely clear that he supported this program...it saved American lives. Now, the way this policy worked internally was once the policy was determined and decided, the CIA, you know, made the judgments about how each individual detainee would be treated. And the Vice President would not substitute his own judgment for the professional judgment of the CIA." [emphasis added]
Stephanopolous asked you if there was pressure then from anyone in the Vice President's office and you added:
"...three people were waterboarded. The people that are claims to be waterboarded in these articles are not any of those people. And I think, frankly, you've also got to look at the source of some of these allegations, and one of the big sources is you know, Colonel Wilkerson..[who] gets coverage because of his association with Colonel Powell...and has made a cottage industry out of, you know, fantasies about the vice president since he left office."Fantasy? Judgment? "The vice-president supported the program?" I believe it was a about 2 weeks after President Obama's inauguration when your father began his infamous media blitz. He broke with all tradition and began to attack the new president's policies and decisions when past practices have been for one administration to fade quietly away and not criticize for at least a couple of years after leaving office. What is remarkable, is that President Obama has been clear from day one that he does not want to prosecute torture regardless of public will, yet the more your father stamps his feet and demands the rightness of his cause, the more likely it is that at the very least a Truth Commission will be appointed if not a Special Prosecutor.
Your father has admitted that what we did is torture, that it was necessary, and that it was successful. Forget law and convention. Forget the advice of numerous experts in the military, intelligence, and psychological communities. Your father did not "support" this program. He created it. He demanded it. He went on tour to promote it. He exhibited extremely poor judgment to not only support it, but to continue to boast that it is still necessary, forgetting that it was used briefly and not at all during the last term of his administration.
It is your father who has exhibited poor judgment and fantasy. When he did not get the answers he wanted through normal, evidence-based means from detainees and prisoners of war, he created a program using methods that are illegal, immoral, and unnecessary. Methods that are designed to produce lies. Methods designed to produce fantasy. But, that's what he wanted, isn't it? A reason to go to war.
Evidence shows that our use of torture has improved the recruitment of al Qaeda, that detainees released from Guantanamo by the Bush Administration who were not terrorists when detained, returned to their homes and became terrorists. A direct response to their treatment in a program created by your father. It was on your father's watch that the worst terrorist attack on American soil occurred.
Fantasy? Colonel Wilkerson defended his boss and himself and his country. Your father? Not so much.
Read more about Liz Cheney's interview here
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