Liz Cheney: Torture is Vital!

Dick Cheney is seemingly quite proud of his role in making the United States violate its treaty obligations (a treaty pushed through by conservative hero Ronald Reagan, I might add) and so is his daughter. Responding to criticism in the wake of the vote to release part of the famous torture report, Liz Cheney goes full-on fearmonger:

Liz Cheney also responded to Sen. Angus King (I-ME), who over the weekend had offered to waterboard Dick Cheney “hundreds” of times to prove to him that the interrogation technique was torture.

“The decision was made, it was absolutely the right decision, and certainly I hope that future presidents would make the decision again that you’ve got to waterboard somebody ,” Liz Cheney said. “Because it means that you’re going to get information to save lives and prevent attacks.”

She insisted that Democrats were willing to “let Americans die” instead of waterboarding terrorists to stop attacks.

“Somebody like Sen. King, somebody like Mrs. Pelosi, they’ve got to be willing to accept the consequences of their argument, which is to say, which attacks would you have let happen, which Americans would you have let die if you weren’t willing to undertake those interrogations?” Liz Cheney concluded.

Oh, bullshit. There isn’t a shred of evidence that torture did anything at all to keep the country safe and a good deal of evidence that it didn’t. That same Senate Intelligence Committee report that Cheney wants so badly to keep buried is the most thorough analysis of that question ever done, based on internal CIA documents, and according to multiple reports it concludes that torture did virtually no good at all, while regular interrogation techniques supplied a great deal of information crucial to the war on terror. We already knew that, of course, from Ali Soufan, Matthew Alexander and other interrogators who actually did achieve great successes with conventional interrogation methods.

And please just spare us the childish spook stories.

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  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    I bet she also believes the Iraqi WMDs are gonna surface any day now. Any day!

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    get information to save lives and prevent attacks

    I never did understand how anyone can make that argument. What, like it prevented 9/11?

  • karmacat

    Even if it worked, torture is immoral. The whole point of the Geneva convention was to get rid of torture because it is immoral. And if you have waterboarded someone over 100 times, then it is obviously not working. I wonder became a way of punishing someone. The whole idea of using torture to get information is stupid. People will say anything, whether it is true or not, to stop the torture

  • doublereed

    Honestly I have no idea why people want America is be villainous and evil.

    Let’s just not be evil. Please?

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    People will say anything, whether it is true or not, to stop the torture

    And, as Liz Cheney shows us, some people will say anything, any time, regardless. As long as it allows them to feel “right”.

  • Phillip IV

    Angus King (I-ME), who over the weekend had offered to waterboard Dick Cheney “hundreds” of times to prove to him that the interrogation technique was torture.

    “The decision was made, it was absolutely the right decision, and certainly I hope that future presidents would make the decision again that you’ve got to waterboard somebody ,” Liz Cheney said.

    Uh…so she supports King’s suggestion, I take it? That would be quite a blow for Dick Cheney, Liz was about the last name still on Dick’s list of “Human beings who don’t hold me below contempt”.

  • D. C. Sessions

    cThere isn’t a shred of evidence that torture did anything at all to keep the country safe and a good deal of evidence that it didn’t.

    Oh, yeah? And we’re supposed to believe you instead of Jack Bauer?

  • Nemo

    Historically, the only thing torture has been good for is extracting false confessions. For thousands of years, even. Where did anyone ever get the idea that it was an information-gathering tool?

  • brucegee1962

    If you support the “It’s ok to torture someone if there is a hidden bomb” argument, then I ask if torture is ok if:

    You’ve rounded up a ring of five terrorists, and only one of them knows where the bomb is?

    You’ve rounded up five people, one definitely knows where the bomb is, and the others are possibly innocent bystanders?

    As previous sentence, but swap the words “definitely” and “possibly.”

    As above, but now change “five” to “fifty.”

    If you’re still ok with torture, keep raising that number until you’re ready to quit.

    The point is, “no torture” is a bright line that is easy to stop. If you don’t draw the line there, you need to tell me where you’re going to draw it.

  • cptdoom

    Hey, Liz Cheney is right, after all there were no terrorist attacks on the US after 9/11. Unless you count the still-unsolved anthrax attacks. And unless you count the Beltway snipers. Oh, never mind.

  • John Pieret

    doublereed @ 4

    Honestly I have no idea why people want America is be villainous and evil.

    Possibly because the people who want that are villainous and evil.

    But a lot of them are just “patriots” who have never been near a real war and think the solution to all opposition to what Americans want is through violence. A lot of them just think America is “exceptional” and anything we do is, by definition, “right.” And, of course, some of them are just political hacks who think torture in “defense of America” is a good political stance … and all too often they’re right.

  • Michael Heath

    Ed writes:

    There isn’t a shred of evidence that torture did anything at all to keep the country safe and a good deal of evidence that it didn’t.

    The blood on the hands of President Bush and VP Cheney’s due to their torturing people is predominately not those they tortured. That’s a tiny fraction. Instead it’s the blood spent by the casualties of al Qaeda in Iraq, including U.S. troops wounded or killed by al Qaeda Iraq.

    In interviews of captured members of al Qaeda in Iraq, the U.S. military’s chief interrogation officer found the single biggest motivator for those captured to join al Qaeda in Iraq was to exact revenge on the U.S. for our torturing Muslim detainees [1]. This is a fact not pounded home enough by non-Republicans who demand justice, nor journalists who fail to put the impact of torture into its full context (which should include the Iraqi innocents also killed by al Qaeda).

    1] As reported by “Matthew Alexander” in his book about his experience there.

  • howardhershey

    Torture is very useful. It nearly always gets the information the torturer wants. Want the tortured to admit to being a witch? Check. Torture can do that. Want the tortured to admit to not being a witch? Check. It can do that too. Reliable information? Not so much.

  • Nihilismus

    “[W]hich Americans would you have let die if you weren’t willing to undertake those interrogations?” Liz Cheney concluded.

    Let’s see. I guess I would let Dick Cheney die. And now maybe Liz Cheney.

  • Suido

    On a similar note, I’d like to apologise on behalf of Australia for our Attorney General’s speech about Snowden.

    The speech where he declared that Snowden didn’t meet any of the criteria to be considered a whistleblower, but failed to point to any evidence supporting that opinion.

    Not a shred of evidence.

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    I’m not so sure it’s that simple, karmacat. Is incarceration moral? Is the death penalty moral? It’s always going to depend on why someone is being incarcerated or executed. If torture really worked, and it could save lives, might it not therefore be moral?

    The reason torture has generally been outlawed is because it doesn’t really work, i.e. it’s immoral to torture people for no good reason.

    I don’t know if Cheney is convinced that torture ‘works’ and is therefore moral. Given his character I think it’s just as likely that he supports torture because he thinks it sends a message to the world about America’s power. But he knows he can’t make that argument so he has to argue that torture is moral because it works.

  • sailor1031

    Well it seems that the torture went on in some cases long after it was clear that the victims had no, or no more, information. Seems some of those CIA guys just liked torturing their victims. Doesn’t actually seem like it was about getting information at all.

  • dingojack

    Dear Ms Cheney,

    Thank you for volunteering to be tortured until you come up with some information that will save America….

    What? She isn’t going to volunteer? Why does Liz Cheney hate America so?

    Still, doesn’t surprise me…. chicken-shit chickenhawks ….

    Dingo

  • dogmeat

    Because it means that you’re going to get information to save lives and prevent attacks.”

    It’s really sad, a shame, disturbing (all of the above?) when people can’t differentiate Hollywood scripts from real life and then base their policy positions on that fictional world.

    She is a perfect example of authoritarianism. Her father decided “A” needed to be done, therefore, despite the mountain of evidence provided that “A” was not only morally corrupt, indefensible, and counter-productive, she will defend “A” to her last dying breath. Some people are simply wired wrong.

  • greg1466

    I hope that future presidents would make the decision again that you’ve got to waterboard somebody

    I think it says a lot about the mentality to make that statement up front and only afterwards provide some obviously false justification for it. I mean, come on, we’ve got to waterboard somebody! And if we have to invade to get that somebody in the first place, well, that’s just gravy…

  • freehand

    Nemo: Historically, the only thing torture has been good for is extracting false confessions. For thousands of years, even. Where did anyone ever get the idea that it was an information-gathering tool?

    .

    Nemo, don’t be silly. Other perfectly good reasons for torture are:;

    1. Indulging in cruelty. Some folks just prefer working within the system.

    2. Striking fear in the hearts of the appropriate population. Stalin, Kim Jong Un, Pol Pot. Cromwell, all found that being fearful was advantageous.

  • Nick Gotts

    sigurd jorsalfar,

    Is incarceration moral?

    Not as currently practised in most countries, no.

    <blockquote.Is the death penalty moral?

    No. Never.

    If torture really worked, and it could save lives, might it not therefore be moral?

    No. But since you disagree, I take it you’re willing to be tortured because someone erroneously believes you to have information that could save a life, if it can be shown that in a single case, it has indeed produced evidence that has saved a life.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Childish spook stories are all they got.