Old Ball & Cheney
Most of the previous administration has taken a hint from approval ratings and common sense, deciding to vanish into the sunset. But tenacious former Vice President Richard Cheney politely declines that fate. Redundant controversy is just too tempting.
Cheney has been a popular guy over the past few months as he has resurged into the news. In an attempt to further maintain relevancy in Obama's administration, Cheney was interviewed by FOX news on August 30th to share his opinion on the recent probes into the possible abuse of detainees by the CIA.
Memos incited this investigation and documents recently released regarding questionable interrogation techniques used by government personnel. Earlier this summer, Attorney General Eric Holder announced his intent to investigate the CIA for any violations that may have occurred during the post- 9/11 hunt for anti-American terrorists. Some may think that this is a natural progression from evidence that has surfaced, but others feel sorry for the CIA and worry about any hurt feelings. Well, mainly Cheney.
In a troubling diatribe of hyperbole and often disjointed statements, Cheney expressed his disapproval of the new administration's intent to investigate illegal actions by former government staff. During his interview, his main concern seemed to center around the morale of the CIA officers rather than the likelihood of mistreatment and homicide. "It's a very, very devastating, I think, effect that it has on morale inside the intelligence community," Cheney stated. "If they assume that they're going to have to be dealing with the political consequences -- and it's clearly a political move. I mean, there's no other rationale for why they're doing this -- then they'll be very reluctant in the future to do that, Cheney continued."
At one point, Cheney expressed that the "enhanced interrogation techniques were absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks." This directly contradicts a variety of independent reports and interviews with military personnel who maintain that so-called "enhanced techniques" have no real leverage over humane interrogation. Matthew Alexander, a former military interrogator, was quoted earlier this year expressing his concerns that this type of torture of suspected terrorists has probably cost more lives than saved. "Torture and abuse became Al Qaida's number one recruiting tool," Alexander stated in a Huffington Post's article. "And cost us American lives."
It might be easy to dismiss Cheney's disapproval as another former politician disagreeing with a new government ordinance, however his resurrection in the news may be linked to something more. There is a discernable rumor among political columnists' knitting-circles that Cheney might try for the 2012 presidential ticket. James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal briefly commented on this possibility, predicting the main platform of the 2012 race will shift from economic concerns to national stability. Taranto states, "Republicans would be wise to nominate someone with both toughness and experience. Under such circumstances, it's hard to think of a better candidate--assuming, of course, that he could be persuaded to run--than Richard B. Cheney." Cheney himself remains tight-lipped about any future political ventures and his health problems may become more than a political deterrent, however it remains a valid possibility.
Future president or not, his opinions resonate with the conservative Republican crowd and reflect what a sizable group of Americans may think about the actions of the CIA. This urge for even more secrecy in high places is troubling and lends itself to perpetuate the ugly reputation our government has built during recent administrations. More than this, the idea of many more politicos coming to the same conclusions about blind justification is even more disheartening.
The reality is that Cheney is out of political office and he won't be making any real effectual decisions. He is fighting against a majority precedent and lords over his constituents with only delusions of relevance. Since he only appeals to a certain demographic, what else could be encouraging him back into the spotlight?
When Chris Wallace of FOX News started to ask some politically charged questions about President Barack Obama, Cheney simply responded, "If I address that, I will address it in my book, Chris." Perhaps Cheney is taking a clue from other authors by taking interviews here and there, reminding the public of his existence. But anyone who might think his new book will shed any new light into his real motives should be ashamed. Think of what it could do to his morale!