Cheney insisted on torture of prisoners

Dick Cheney is, without question, the most powerful American Vice President in history. His power within the Bush Administration is, for the most part, unchecked and his rule is absolute.

More than anyone else in the White House, Cheney has promoted the notion that the Administration is above the law and does not have to answer to the Constitution, Congress or the Supreme Court.

Nowhere is that abuse of power and law more evident than in Cheney’s belief that torture is an accepted form of interrogation of prisoners and the terms of the Geneva Convention can, and should, be ignored in Bush’s so-called “war on terror.”

Write Barton Gellman and Jo Becker in The Washington Post (excerpted from the series Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency):

Shortly after the first accused terrorists reached the U.S. naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Jan. 11, 2002, a delegation from CIA headquarters arrived in the Situation Room. The agency presented a delicate problem to White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, a man with next to no experience on the subject. Vice President Cheney’s lawyer, who had a great deal of experience, sat nearby. The meeting marked “the first time that the issue of interrogations comes up” among top-ranking White House officials, recalled John C. Yoo, who represented the Justice Department. “The CIA guys said, ‘We’re going to have some real difficulties getting actionable intelligence from detainees'” if interrogators confined themselves to humane techniques allowed by the Geneva Conventions.

From that moment, well before previous accounts have suggested, Cheney turned his attention to the practical business of crushing a captive’s will to resist. The vice president’s office played a central role in shattering limits on coercion in U.S. custody, commissioning and defending legal opinions that the Bush administration has since portrayed as the initiatives, months later, of lower-ranking officials.

Cheney and his allies, according to more than two dozen current and former officials, pioneered a novel distinction between forbidden “torture” and permitted use of “cruel, inhuman or degrading” methods of questioning. They did not originate every idea to rewrite or reinterpret the law, but fresh accounts from participants show that they translated muscular theories, from Yoo and others, into the operational language of government.


  1. Charlie Couser

    Charlie Couser

    May I suggest term limits?

    One six (6) year term for the President & the Vice President. One four (4) year term for both the Senate and the House. Supreme Court Justices would serve one eight (8) year term. All Federal appointee’s term would end with the termination of the current administration’s term. Also, nobody would be able to lobby any branch of government, including the military, for three (3) years after their term of office has expired or after retiring, resigning or whatever.

    This, coupled with ‘Recall Elections,’ is the only way we can stop the graft & corruption that currently pervades every branch of government.

  2. darknyt4

    I forget who it was that remarked that voters get the government they deserve. If that is true, we must have ROYALLY SCREWED UP, to be saddled with this bunch of low-rent facist wannabees. But that is not the point I wanted to make.

    The one thing the Bush Crime Family has demonstrated is a complete understanding of how to manipulate the rules to their best advantage. Cheney being the most prodigious of them. It is no coincidence that Cheney’s Secret Service code name is “Angler”. He has the angles figured out already. I would admire him, if he weren’t so consumately evil.

    As they say around the Texas Legislature, if you
    can’t drink their whiskey, screw their women, take their money, and vote against ’em anyway, you don’t belong in office.-Molly Ivins

  3. mary cali


    I used to think the term Fascist was too extreme when the left wing used it to describe the right wing. Now, I am not so sure it is extreme.

    As for the Ds in congress, remember that they do not have the numbers for impeachment nor much else unless some Rs go along and that is not likely to happen in the case of impeachment. We need to elect more Ds to counteract the “Fascist” leaning wing of the Republican party. There, now I am using the term I once thought extreme.

  4. Ardie

    I wonder what else Bush and Cheney can do to drag the reputation of our country in the mire of history? Never have so few done so much harm in so little time. And many of us voted for these monsters–these nation wreckers–what the duce were we thinking?

  5. shag11

    I am so sick of folks on the Left calling the new Congress all of the disparaging names. They were just elected, don’t have a super-majority, and are successfully opening investigations into many areas largely ignored, the past several years, under the Republican-led Congress.
    Just look at the polls, the majority of people want the war ended, but they don’t want our troops left unfunded. It’s a tricky proposition. Give them some time, they are working their way towards that goal. You’d be better served trying to convince so many of our non-voting bretheren to vote, so we can increase our numbers in Congress.
    The reality is that, most people are Centrist. I was a child of the sixties and saw how Lefties can flame-out. Get over it, and let’s work together.

  6. KayInMaine

    I knew it! When George W. Bush came out of the White House and into the Rose Garden to beg for torture (Military Commissions Act), I said at the time he was doing that for Cheney’s shadow government run through the CIA…and looky here! It’s mostly true, though, I’m sure at some point the shadow gov/CIA part will be come out.

  7. Thumper

    Why on earth would anyone think for a minute that Cheney would allow the Congress to start impeachment actions. He has them conviently cowering in a corner and afraid of both the Bushies and themselves.

  8. Carl Nemo

    Focusing correctly is the issue. The Bushistas are bad guys and out of control, but people who come to CHB hail from every state and territory of the U.S. must realize the real focus of the problem is your two Senators and your Congressional District rep. They are are sent as your duly elected representatives to Washington, but they are ignoring your needs and obeying the commands of their shadowy corporate master’s once they get there.

    So my best advice is to contact your reps and to summarily demand accountability and if none is forthcoming then summary impeachment is necessary regardless of the chance of success. Tyranny must be challenged and the success of winning the encounter is secondary to simply doing what’s necessary.

    When you email or call their offices, don’t grovel but be succinct and to the point as to what your needs are as a citizen. Make the phone representative understand that if Bush/Cheney are not taken to task you will not be voting for them when their next election cycle comes due and then live up to your threat! Bush/Cheney can only prevail because Congress all 435 of them and 100 Senators are enabling these mattoids. They are no longer a representative body of we the people, but have become simply a “politburo”; i.e., rubber-stamping edicts from AmeriKa’s first dictators. I’ll provide the duty links so concerned citizen/patriots can fire their “thought-shot” across the bow of dreadnaught “Tyranny”. As they say…”just do it”!

    Use 10-10-987… just 3 cents a minute! Rarely will you get an answering machine; a polite rep will answer and log your sentiments. You must be willing to supply your name and address and so too on emails. If you are fearful of doing so because you might end up on a list, then you are already “toast” and deserve the government of your darkest imaginings! You should also send regular emails to their offices too. Get in the habit of calling and emailing their offices; letting them know who you are and what you want as a citizen!

    Carl Nemo **==

  9. Sam.

    He’s a sadist. He is thrilled to slaughter caged and trapped animals. He likes to see them stagger and try to run when they’re wounded and in pain. He tries to wound and not kill them right away. Their agaonized cries give him a sexual thrill. Ask his aids. He laughs. Others’pain is the only thing that gives him a feeling. That’s why him and Ted Bundy Bush get along so well. They have a lot in common. cheney “accientally” shot a man in the face and got away with it. He kills with relish and enjoys torturing people emotionally and physically when he gets a chance. Did you witness the delight he took in abusing John Edwards in the debate? I truly believe John was surprised and taken aback by the face of evil he saw that night. cheney is sick and evil. That’s the way he operates. I hope he dies a slow and extremely painful death. I’ve been so pleased to see he’s looking sickly and pale lately. He’s thinking his ghastly secrets may be revealed – especially now that Stoolie Convict Libby may tell a few secrets if cheney doesn’t save him, even though libby got a very light sentence. cheney knew he was a snake….what does he expect from his handpicked minion? Maybe libby will die mysteriously. If not, then cheney may be held accountalbe for once in his vile life. His mother had consensual sex with satan, then excreted the egg under a lava rock and cheney crawled out after maggots opened the shell. He has a reptilian brain. He’s cold and beyond evil.

  10. kent shaw

    Sam, in regard to that Dick, Cheney, you haven’t even scratched the surface in your description of his evilness. Good start, though, good start.

  11. mary cali


    Shag11, I couldn’t agree with you more. Maybe it is our maturity that gives us a more realistic sense of the possible. Speaking of realistic, those who call for ousting all of those in congress are unwise and unrealistic. Even if it were doable, which it is not, a congress full of novices is not what is needed in these difficult times.

    Some present this unwise and unworkable idea as though getting rid of all of “them” would right the ship of state when it would only serve to sink it further. I am not saying that the current power of incumbency is a good thing, but we do need to retain some experience as we usher in new blood.

    I would further add to Shag11’s comments, those lefties in Florida who voted for Nader enabled Bush to become president. They voted for Nader because Nader convinced them, with the help of GOP dollars, that Gore was not pure enough. Keep that in mind as you rail against the current congress.

  12. Sandra Price

    The writer Gellman, was just a guest on MSNBC this morning talking about his 4-part commentaries writtem for the Washington Post. Joe Scarborough was on a holiday this morning so the conversation was a serious one without the usual asides that remove the emphasis of truth from Joe’s normal garbage. I miss Imus!

    Somebody explain to me why Impeachment is not being pushed against V.P. Cheney. I hope CHB carries the entire 4-part exposure of our illustrious V.P.

  13. Steve Horn

    “Somebody explain to me why Impeachment is not being pushed against V.P. Cheney”

    Ok Sandra – I’ll give it a whack!

    Neither Bush nor Cheney will be impeached because in the 2006 elections we replaced the rubber-stamp neocons like Santorum with classic do-nothing cocktail party liberals like Pelosi and her buddies in the House and Senate. Terrified of taking a stand, they do nothing in the hope that “nothing” can’t be held against them when they run for their next term in office.

    What “we the people” need to do – in order to establish a more perfect union – is to be more vigilant regarding the performance of those whom we select to represent us in this great Republic of ours – we need to hold them to task – we need to show them – through active participation in the electoral process that if they don’t do OUR bidding then WE will not put THEM back into office.

    This will take a few election cycles – but if we’re steadfast in our resolve eventually the message will sink into the hardest of Senators heads and change will come about.

    The real problem in this scenario is convincing the average American that it’s in his or her best interest to be involved and to maintain their interest in the government 24/7/365.



  14. vietnam vet

    vietnam vet

    If congress allow v.p. Cheney to get away with what he and Bush has done to this country, then we have no right to criticize Nazi Germany, nor to be called a law abiding country.

  15. nigeldh

    Cheney is the neocon wound that wasn’t lanced when Ford pardoned Nixon.

    Since Cheney is above the Law, then he should be treated that way – tarred with his own brush. The same thing for the other bully neocons who choose to only use the Law when it suits them for their extra legal activities. Too bad we can’t strip them of their citizenship and turn them over to an other country. The Hague is too good for them.

  16. bryan mcclellan

    The V.P. has a bigger bag of dirt than those that would oppose him my dear Sandra.Crap runs downhill as evidenced by the comment that the lower ranking were responsible for the decision to use torture,thus insulating the architects of evil in the W.H.You can bet that dick watches the tapes of these interogations every night to get his jollies and thats why the archives request for disclosure of his official business was denied. Novel distinctions,muscular theories ,BLAH,I think I’m going to spew…

  17. Steve Horn

    Perhaps Mr. Cheney would have a different perspective on torture were he to know anyone who’d been subjected to it. I have a friend who was special ops in Vietnam – he was captured and for a period of five or six months tortured. Part of his torture was being burried alive – then dug up – questioned – and re-burried. That’s the part of the torture that, all these years later, he is able to discuss without breaking down.

    Above the law? Interesting concept isn’t it, that a “leader” can consider himself above the law. Let’s see – Pol Pot, Charles Tayler, Robert Mugabe, Adoph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pinochet – they all consider or considered themselves to be the law as well – quite some company to be included in – looks like we can now add George W. Bush and Dick Cheney to that list.

    Torture, death, theft, power mongering, secret police, secret courts, abductions, detention without charge – these are all the tools of these tyrants, past and present.

    What to do? We tried, I thought, in the 2006 election cycles, to replace the rubber stamp congress with those who portrayed themselves as those who would support, defend and uphold the constitution. Shame on us for swallowing the horse-swaggle the current, do nothing congress presented us with.

    Come ’08 we should replace the administration and the house – come 2012 we should once again replace the senate.



  18. Ken Hill

    Without even touching on the moral ramifications of torture, one negative aspect of it is that it just doesn’t work. From all accounts befriending a suspect and other friendly techniques provides much better results and accurate information. The old honey vs vinegar.

    Although I am sure the sour Mr. Cheney would never grasp this subtlety.

  19. kent shaw

    Steve, I agree totally with your sentiments. So we vote out all incumbents. That means we still have a presidency, a senate and a house full of republicans and democrats, and it will be the same old same old — puppets controlled by corporate money and AIPAC blackmail. I wish I had a solution to propose. I feel doomed.


  20. Steve Horn

    Kent – you pointed out the solution – well at least you pointed out the problem “a senate and a house full of republicans and democrats, and it will be the same old same old ” – so the solution is to NOT vote in the major party political hacks. Dismiss the candidates who appear to have “rock star” status – toss aside those who appear to have either very narrow or totally undefined points of view – look to the independent candidates OR relative newcommers to major parties – vote for true change.

    The one thing we cannot allow ourselves to do is what the neocons and cockatail party liberals would wish us to do – and that is toss our hands in the air in disgust and walk away from the process.

    So long as we stay involved, continue to track candidate statements versus elected official actions, continue to press for change, we can win this thing.



  21. Jenifer D.

    Yes we should! Vote ’em out; all the incompetent incumbents; they’re not competent enough to flip burgers, so what makes them think they can run a country, a state, or even a town? Cheney looks like a bloated toad in a three-piece-suit in the above photo. He’s not powerful, he’s just political bully who plays dirty pool to get his way by whatever means necessary.

    Last week I did a little online research and was disgusted at some of the topics I uncovered about our esteemed administration. Voting does no good when the tally is being manipulated by the goons that work for the administration; sounds like Boss Tweed’s M.O. back in the 1800’s, doesn’t it?

  22. nuQler Ostrich

    “I do solemnly swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help me GoD.”

    My guess is that Washington, D.C. will not a happy place on Judgement Day.

  23. Steve Horn

    Actually – Judgement Day has probably been banned by the DHS – as the origin of the Bible is the Middle East I’m sure the four horsemen are viewed by Cheney and Bush as mere terrorists …

  24. Elmo

    I think they recognize that there are not enough votes in the Senate to convict so there is nothing to be gained by starting the process in the House.

    But imagine what our elected officials could expect if by some quirk out of The Mouse That Roared should allow an occupying army to set up a puppet government and give Bush and Cheney the same show trials as the Iraqi officials were given.

  25. geyser

    We’re all feeling the frustration of no leadership. It is certainly not like in the movies when a Junior Statesmen takes the bull by the horns and puts the Bad Apple down for good, where’s Jimmy Stewart when you need him?
    Cheney has always been there, in the shadow’s, lurking behind Bush, keeping him in line. Whispering in Bush’s ear, what do say, what to do.
    It will be a very big injustice if Cheney leaves the office of V.P. in 2008, not being made accountable for all that he has done and ordered to be done.

    Taking One Day at a Time

  26. kent shaw

    I’m with you Steve, and I’ll do what I can but I’m not optimistic. Undoubtedly I will vote for a third party candidate in 2008 but I’ll feel like I’m “wasting” my vote. The only candidates I feel are worth anything right now are Mike Gravel on the D side and Ron Paul on the R side. And unfortunately Gravel comes across as somewhat loony and Paul is being marginalized by his own party, standing little chance of nomination. I could vote for either one of those two but neither will be nominated.