Dick Cheney has apparently been on a magical mystery media tour.
He has sought out and been interviewed by more TV journalists and talk show hosts during the past month than during the eight years he was vice president.
The topic is always the same. Torture was done during the Bush–Cheney Administration, and it was effective. Persons held at Guantanamo Bay are evil and should never be released. President Obama’s actions are a threat to national security. Cheney claims that because of the actions he and George W. Bush took after 9/11, there were no more attacks upon the United States.
Here’s what he doesn’t say.
Prior to 9/11 his administration rejected pleas by the FBI to increase funding and manpower for counter-terrorism. He doesn’t say that CIA intelligence reports told the President that al-Qaeda was planning a major attack, probably by air. He doesn’t tell us that following 9/11, the Administration carried out a systematic shredding of six Constitutional amendments in the mistaken belief that somehow snipping away at America’s fabric would protect us from further harm. He doesn’t tell us that although torture was used, contrary to every international law, it did not, according to senior officials at both the FBI and CIA, produce valuable intelligence. He doesn’t tell us that it was probably his paranoia and fears that pushed the nation’s military and intelligence communities to use torture.
He doesn’t tell us that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction or ties to al-Qaeda and 9/11. He doesn’t say that by diverting America’s military forces from Afghanistan to Iraq, his Administration probably allowed Osama bin Laden and a significant part of al-Qaeda to remain at large for almost eight years, while more than 4,000 Americans were killed and another 30,000 wounded, many with injuries that will never heal.
Here’s another thing that Dick Cheney doesn’t say. According to major independent research polls, only 20 to 22 percent of Americans now identify themselves as Republicans. Does anyone wonder why four-fifths of Americans don’t want to be tainted by the actions done by the Bush–Cheney Administration and the direction the Republican Party has taken the past couple of years to eliminate any Republican who is not in lock-step with its extreme right-wing agenda?
Dick Cheney can spin the truth all he wants. But the reality is that 9/11 occurred on his watch.
WALTER BRASCH is the author of Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush.