What Does Cheney Have To Show For It?
Thanks to the work done by Mary over the weekend on the Cheney pieces in the Post, we know that a major newspaper is finally paying attention to what the center-left blogosphere has known about for several years now. Last night, the Post's latest installment carried another set of eye-opening vignettes of how Cheney has "pushed the envelope" on detainee policy, seizing control of the decisionmaking and running over Colin Powell and Condi Rice with Bush's full support.
Using David Addington as his legal brain to steamroller the entire Department of Justice while taking advantage of two of the biggest doormat AGs in our country's history, Cheney has pushed the administration to take an extreme view of executive branch power that allows no checks and balances when it comes to detainee treatment, all in the name of keeping us safe from terrorists. The installment tells us that Cheney kept the contents of a August 2002 legal opinion secret from Rice and Powell for two years, and even after Rice said it will not happen again, Cheney ran right over both of them anyway, because he knew neither one of them had the guts to resign and bring the problem out in the open, something that would have stopped Bush and Cheney in their tracks. The installment also tells us that Cheney ordered the administration to send a messenger to a federal judge to upbraid him for making a wrong decision in ruling against Cheney's policies, only to get the expected "who the f*ck are you" reaction from the judge.
Cheney, Scooter, and David Addington have apparently been running the detainee and war policies of this government since 9/11, and have lost more legal battles than they have won. Yet for all of their insistence that the president has the authority to torture without calling it torture, or to detain even Americans for years without due process, the question no one is asking is this: have we successfully prosecuted a single terrorist or gleaned any actionable intelligence from Padilla, Hamdi, or any of the others who still languish in Gitmo or other dark sites around the globe?