Thursday, May 21, 2009
And the Winner is Cheney
That was amazing.
First the President speaks on national security, and then, within five minutes, comes the rebuttal, from the former Vice President. Already the spinmeisters on the left are in overdrive, feverishly working to discredit Mr. Cheney, all the usual suspects screeching that what he said was "outrageous." What's really outrageous and, if I'm not mistaken, unprecedented, is a sitting President sitting in moral judgment on his predecessor, making accusation after accusation against him that his values are out of whack. He did it again this morning, and it was refreshing to see a rebuttal come so quickly afterward.
It was the President himself, incidentally, that set things up this way; Mr. Cheney's speech at the American Enterprise Institute had been planned for weeks.
Such a rare and precious moment. If you haven't heard or read both speeches yet, you should take the time, one right after the other, to get the full effect (here, then here).
My favorite part of Mr. Cheney's speech was this:
"Even before the interrogation program began, and throughout its operation, it was closely reviewed to ensure that every method used was in full compliance with the Constitution, statutes, and treaty obligations. On numerous occasions, leading members of Congress, including the current speaker of the House, were briefed on the program and on the methods.
"Yet for all these exacting efforts to do a hard and necessary job and to do it right, we hear from some quarters nothing but feigned outrage based on a false narrative. In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.
"I might add that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about 'values'. Intelligence officers of the United States were not trying to rough up some terrorists simply to avenge the dead of 9/11. We know the difference in this country between justice and vengeance. Intelligence officers were not trying to get terrorists to confess to past killings; they were trying to prevent future killings. From the beginning of the program, there was only one focused and all-important purpose. We sought, and we in fact obtained, specific information on terrorist plans."
Wow. Does that ever need repeating.
And what is truly morally wrong is feigned indignation. I believe the theological term for it would be hypocrisy.
It is also reprehensible for people who have behaved bravely and admirably in the service of their country to be castigated for it. Mr. Cheney defended their honor well, honor that was in sore need of defense.