Do our political and military leaders understand the concept of reciprocity? A little of “whats good for the goose is good for the gander”? “Put yourself in their shoes”? “Chickens coming home to roost?” Hello? Any thoughts about moral equivalency?
For insight into this question, please see Matt Lauer’s interview with Dick Cheney on August 30, 2011. A peak into the mind of a psychopath. Except as I recall from grad school abnormal psych classes, psychopaths are frequently charismatic. Cheney is not charismatic, he is reptilian.
The questioning about Enhanced Interrogation Techniques starts at about 2:27. From his new book In My Time, he writes “the program was safe, legal, and effective. It provided intelligence that enabled us to prevent attacks and save America lives.”
Matt Lauer: If an American citizen were to be taken into captivity in Iran, for example, and the government of Iran were to look at that person and say “we think you are a spy for the US or you are here to carry out a covert operation”, would it be OK for the Iranian government to waterboard that American citizen?
Dick Cheney: Well, we ah we would probably object to it.
Matt Lauer: On the grounds that it is torture?
Dick Cheney: On the ground that we have obligations towards our citizens. and uh that we do everything we can do to protect our citizens and put them through a process that we think is appropriate.
Matt Lauer: So why was it OK for us to use what most people would say was torture against terror suspects?
Dick Cheney: Well you have to remember first of all these were not American citizens. We were not dealing with American citizens in the enhanced interrogation program. Second, it was people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, there were a handful, two or three, for example that actually got waterboarded. third, we had good reason to believe they had information that we could only get from them and that they knew more than anyone else.
Matt Lauer: But if the government of Iran were to capture someone and say we have reason to believe you are a spy or you’re carrying out an operation that could be damaging to our country would you object or would you say they did what they had to do to get the information they needed at the time?
Dick Cheney: Well, I think we would object because we wouldn’t expect an American citizen to be operating that way. We wouldn’t deal with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for example. A man who was the self-admitted mastermind of 9/11, who killed 3,000 Americans and at a time when we had very little knowledge or understanding about Al Qaeda or what they were doing, and after we had gone through a lot of other procedures and interrogation efforts, then ah, at the end of that process he was subjected to the program. but it was very carefully supervised. None of the techniques used were things that we hadn’t already used on our own people.
Matt Lauer: You know, though, that is you were to conduct a poll in this country right now and asked people “is waterboarding torture”, the vast majority of people would say it is.
Dick Cheney: and I would argue, Matt, that its important for us not to get caught up in the notion that you can only have popular methods of interrogation if you want to run an effective counter terrorism program.