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Dick Cheney:

Host Chuck Todd asked Cheney to respond to the Senate Intelligence Committee report's account that one detainee was "chained to the wall of a cell, doused with water, froze to death in CIA custody."

"And it turned out it was a case of mistaken identity," Todd said.

"Right," Cheney responded. "But the problem I have was with all of the folks that we did release that end up back on the battlefield."

"I'm more concerned with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that in fact were innocent," he continued.

Todd pressed Cheney, asking if he was okay with the fact that about 25 percent of the detainees interrogated were actually innocent.

"I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective. And our objective is to get the guys who did 9/11 and it is to avoid another attack against the United States," Cheney responded.

Antonin Scalia:

We have laws against torture. The Constitution itself says nothing about torture. The Constitution speaks of punishment. If you condemn someone who has committed a crime to torture, that would be unconstitutional. [fnord's emphasis]

That is the most weasel-lawyer reasoning i have ever seen. To use it in defense of torture is disgusting, and it also shows the hypocrisy of Scalia's supposed originalist philosophy, as if early Americans were ok with British soldiers torturing them as long as it wasn't because they were being punished for something.

Our final monsters for this post are the authors of the CIA's response in the Wall Street Journal to the release of the Senate's torture report, including George Tenant and Michael Haydeen. Senator Wyden has rebutted their rebuttal with annotated detail, showing that their WSJ response was basically a bunch of lies.

I can't believe we're even "debating" torture, and it's disheartening that there can be no consequence of this "debate" (i.e., there's no way anyone will be prosecuted). But at the same time it's remarkable how easy it is to be against torture. In addition to it being morally wrong, which should be enough, it's been proven that the torture we engaged in was completely ineffective, and harmful to the country in other ways. So there's not even an idealism vs. pragmatism argument to be made.

And if the torturers had any dignity or courage of their convictions, they wouldn't have been hiding and lying about it and taking a scattershot defense of "it isn't torture but if it was torture we needed to do it to save American lives plus we were scared don't you remember 9/11?". They would have done what they felt had to do and then come to the American people and said look, we did what we had to do even though it was illegal and now we're willing to go to jail for it. I could have at least respected that.

By fnord12 | December 15, 2014, 2:26 PM | Liberal Outrage