Olbermann: Former vice president made delusional claims about national security
Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment about Mr. Cheney’s speech. Neurotic. Paranoid. False to fact and false to reason. Forever self-rationalizing. His inner rage at his own impotence and failure dripping from every word and as irrational, as separated from the real world, as dishonest, as insane, as any terrorist.
The former vice president has today humiliated himself beyond redemption.
The delusional claims he has made this day could be proved by documentation and first-hand testimony to be the literal truth, and still he himself would be wrong, because the America he sought to impose upon the world and upon its own citizens, the dark hateful place of Dick Cheney’s own soul, the place he to this hour defends and to this day prefers, is a repudiation of all that our ancestors, all that for which our brave troops of 200 years ago and two minutes ago, have sacrificed and fought.
I do have to congratulate you, Sir. No man living or dead could have passed the buck more often than you did in 35 minutes this morning. It’s not your fault we water-boarded people, you said. It isn’t torture, you said, even though it is based on 111 years of American military prosecutions. It was in the Constitution that you could do it, even if our laws told you, you could not. It was in
It produced invaluable information, you said, even though the first-hand witnesses, the interrogators of these beasts, said the information preceded the torture and ended when it began. It was authorized, you said, by careful legal opinion, even though the legal opinions were dictated by you and your cronies, and, oh by the way, the torture began before the legal opinions were even written. It was authorized, you said, and you imply even if it really wasn’t, it was done to “only detainees of the highest intelligence value.”
It was more necessary, you said, because of the revelation of another program by the real villains, the New York Times, even though that revelation was possible because the program was detailed on the front page of the website of a defense department sub-contractor. It was all the fault of your predecessors, you said, who tried to treat terror as a “law enforcement problem,” before you came to office and rode to the rescue… after you totally ignored terrorism for the first 20 percent of your first term and the worst attack on this nation in its history unfolded on your watch.
“9/11 caused everyone to take a serious second look at threats that had been gathering for awhile,” you said today, “and enemies whose plans were getting bolder and more sophisticated.” Gee, thanks for being motivated, by the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans, to go so far as to “take a serious second look.” And thank you, Sir, for admitting, obviously inadvertently, that you did not take a serious first look in the seven months and 23 days between your inauguration and 9/11.
For that attack, Sir, you are culpable, morally, ethically. At best you were guilty of malfeasance and eternally-lasting stupidity. At worst, Sir, in the deaths of 9/11, you are negligent. The circular logic, and the self-righteous sophistry, falls from a copy of Mr. Cheney’s speech like bugs from a book on a moldy shelf. He still believes in “dictators like Saddam Hussein with known ties to Mideast terrorists.” He still assumes everyone we captured is guilty without charge or trial, but that to prosecute law-breaking by government officials is “to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors.”
And most sleazy of all, while calling the CIA torturers “honorable,” he insists the grunts at Abu Ghraib were “a few sadistic prison guards (who) abused inmates in violation of American law, military regulations, and simple decency” even though — and maybe he doesn’t know we know this — even though there is documentary proof that those guards were acting on orders originating in the office of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.
It is, in short, madness.Madness, Sir. Mr. Cheney, your speech was almost entirely about you. There are only five or six other people even mentioned, and only two quoted at any length. And why would you have quoted, as you did, the man who said this. “I know that this program saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.”