Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Kristof on Cheney: four must-read articles in WaPo

Kristof directs us to a pair of WaPo articles on the Prince of Darkness:
Digging Into Cheney - Nicholas D. Kristof - Opinion - TimesSelect - New York Times Blog

...Barton Gellman, one of the best reporters around, has a superb and illuminating series in The Washington Post about Dick Cheney. While Cheney himself didn’t talk, lots of people around him did — underscoring Cheney’s central role in the Bush administration’s most demented policies. The series shows that Bush is still the boss — it’s not as if Cheney is secretly pulling the strings — but that Bush tends to operate at a level of general goals...
They key point here is that Bush is the boss. Cheney is doing what Bush wants while keeping Bush's hands "clean". Here's the introduction to the 1st article:
..."Angler," as the Secret Service code-named him, has approached the levers of power obliquely, skirting orderly lines of debate he once enforced as chief of staff to President Gerald R. Ford. He has battled a bureaucracy he saw as hostile, using intimate knowledge of its terrain. He has empowered aides to fight above their rank, taking on roles reserved in other times for a White House counsel or national security adviser. And he has found a ready patron in George W. Bush for edge-of-the-envelope views on executive supremacy that previous presidents did not assert.

Over the past six years, Cheney has shaped his times as no vice president has before. This article begins a four-part series that explores his methods and impact, drawing on interviews with more than 200 men and women who worked for, with or in opposition to Cheney's office. Many of those interviewed recounted events that have not been made public until now, sharing notes,e-mails, personal calendars and other records of their interaction with Cheney and his senior staff. The vice president declined to be interviewed...

From the second article, emphases mine ...
... the "torture memo," as it became widely known, was not Yoo's work alone. In an interview, Yoo said that Addington, as well as Gonzales and deputy White House counsel Timothy E. Flanigan, contributed to the analysis.

The vice president's lawyer advocated what was considered the memo's most radical claim: that the president may authorize any interrogation method, even if it crosses the line into torture. U.S. and treaty laws forbidding any person to "commit torture," that passage stated, "do not apply" to the commander in chief, because Congress "may no more regulate the President's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield."

That same day, Aug. 1, 2002, Yoo signed off on a second secret opinion, the contents of which have never been made public. According to a source with direct knowledge, that opinion approved as lawful a long list of interrogation techniques proposed by the CIA -- including waterboarding, a form of near-drowning that the U.S. government has prosecuted as a war crime since at least 1901. The opinion drew the line against one request: threatening to bury a prisoner alive...

Two more to go. Mandatory reading. Impeach Cheney.

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