Thursday, October 26, 2006

Vice President Cheney on Waterboarding

"Those of us who bear some responsibility for the security of the nation...look at it [the terrorist threat] and say, next time, they could, in fact, have far deadlier weapons than they did last time, that the ultimate threat is a group of terrorists in one of our cities with a nuclear weapon, and that would cause more casualties than we lost in all the wars we've fought in the 230-year history of the Republic. So it is a huge problem, and periodically, I think people are reminded of it."--Vice President Cheney (10-26-06)

Today Fox News will interview Vice President Cheney on the interrogation technique called waterboarding. It will be interesting to see how the Vice President expands on remarks he made Tuesday.

Vice President Cheney discussed waterboarding on Tuesday, October 24, 2006, with Fargo, N.D. radio talk-show host Scott Hennen, of WDAY Radio.

Hennen told Cheney that his WDAY audience had asked Hennen to "let the vice president know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives." Here is a passage from the official White House transcript of the conversation:

Q [Hennan] I've heard from a lot of listeners -- that's what we do for a living, talk to good folks in the Heartland every day -- and I've talked to as many who want an increased military presence in Iraq as want us out, which seems to be the larger debate, at least coming from the left -- cut and run, get out of there. One fax said, when you talk to the Vice President, ask him when shock and awe is coming back to Iraq. Let's finish the job once and for all.

And terrorist interrogations and that debate is another example. And I've had people call and say, please, let the Vice President know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives. Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?


THE VICE PRESIDENT: I do agree. And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided us with enormously valuable information about how many there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth, we've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that.


The Congress recently voted on this question of military commissions and our authority to continue the interrogation program. It passed both Houses, fortunately. The President signed it into law, but the fact is 177 Democrats in the House -- or excuse me, 162 Democrats in the House voted against it, and 32 out of 44 senators -- Democratic senators voted against it. We wouldn't have that authority today if they were in charge. That's a very important issue in this campaign.

Are we going to allow the executive branch to have the authority granted and authorized by the Congress to be able to continue to collect the intelligence we need to defend the nation.


Q Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?


THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that.

And thanks to the leadership of the President now, and the action of the Congress, we have that authority, and we are able to continue to program. [Full Text]

The Seattle Times (10-26-06) reported on this story but noted:

Lee Ann McBride, a spokeswoman for Cheney, denied that Cheney confirmed that U.S. interrogators used waterboarding or endorsed the technique.

"What the vice president was referring to was an interrogation program without torture," she said. [Full text]

The Christian Science Monitor (10-26-06) has also commented on Vice President Cheney's radio interview and the practice of waterboarding.

The Seattle Times and The Christian Science Monitor were pretty negative about waterboarding. Both articles pointed out that this practice originated with the Spanish Inquisition and that some important Republicans were against the practice. Both newspapers omitted this issue raised by the Vice President:

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the -- a lot of folks, obviously, don't want to focus on the threat. To spend all your days worrying about that next attack is something that's difficult for people to adjust to. And I think there are some folks out there who say, well, it was just a one-off affair. It will never happen again.

Those of us who bear some responsibility for the security of the nation, on the other hand, look at it and say, next time, they could, in fact, have far deadlier weapons than they did last time, that the ultimate threat is a group of terrorists in one of our cities with a nuclear weapon, and that would cause more casualties that we lost in all the wars we've fought in the 230-year history of the Republic. So it is a huge problem, and periodically, I think people are reminded of it.


But as long as things are going along swimmingly, and there hasn't been another attack, it's hard, I suppose, for us to get credit for what hasn't happened in a sense.
[Full Text]

According to ABC News (11-18-05), everyone subjected to waterboarding confesses within seconds or minutes.

I read these articles, and I guess I don't trust Stephen Richard of the Open Society Institute [a Soros organization], the former CIA employee Larry Johnson cited by ABC News, The Seattle Times, or the Christian Science Monitor because they didn't bother to address Vice President Cheney's concerns about the terrorists' stated genocidal goals against millions of Americans. I am not at all sure that these people and organizations want Americans to be safe and to prevail against the terrorists.

Instead, these Administration critics point out that the Spanish Inquisition used waterboarding, that this practice has been regarded as a cruel war crime in the past, and that harsh interrogation techniques "don't work."

Still, in the event that an American city is incinerated by a nuclear weapon, the surviving Americans are not going to be saying that waterboarding, as conducted by trained CIA interrogators on a few highly-placed Al Qaeda operatives, were cruel and inhuman treatment.

I know for a fact that some of the people who show such touching concern for the rights of terrorists are themselves violent people who have assaulted men, women, and even children. Naturally, some of these "humanitarians" probably are getting paid money to advocate on the terrorists' behalf.

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