Everytime I see Dick Cheney suit up in a cheerleader outfit and scream "give me a T! Give me an O! Give me me an R!", I roll my eyes and change the channel. Yesterday, Cheney said -- again -- that we need to be torturing people in order to get reliable intelligence. I'm starting to wonder if he really believes that torture can save lives, or if he's just really into sadomasochism.
There's absolutely no indication whatsoever that torture helped us kill Osama Bin Laden. The details are classified, and for good reasons too, so chances are we won't know what role torture played, if it played any role it all. But President Obama's administration has taken a firm stand against torture, hence Cheney's ranting and raving. From what we can tell, Intelligence sources learned where Bin Laden was hiding out in August of 2010. If President Obama's administration stopped using torture when he took office, and if the intel came after he took office, that leads me to reasonably conclude that torture played no role in establishing the whereabouts of public enemy number one.
Giving Bush and Cheney credit for the Bin Laden stuff is sort of like giving old 1980's IBM computers credit for inventing the Internet, and even that seems generous. By 2002, President Bush and his pals were quite loudly stating that they didn't care about Bin Laden anymore; that he was no longer the objective of the administration. In 2003, his administration shoved us into the war in Iraq without justification and without really weighing all of the intelligence before moving on it, which further hampered our fight against Al Qaeda by dwindling away resources and eating up our intelligence community's time and energy. And now, they not only want to take as much credit as they can for something they contributed little, if anything, towards, but they want to try and tell the current administration, which did get Osama Bin Laden, how to do their jobs? We call that silly where I come from.
We really shouldn't be surprised that Dick Cheney is a huge fan of torture. The picture shown to the left of this text was the only one I could find on the net that shows him somewhat smiling, and he looks like he's plotting to kill a British spy using a very large laser beam after luring him into a deadly trap through the allure of a female double-agent with a name that surpasses sexual innuendo. I mean, we're talking about a guy who shot someone in the face on a hunting trip, only to see his victim come out and apologize to his shooter for getting in the way of his bullets! If Mr. Cheney wishes to avoid labels like "Darth Cheney," he needs to be a little more proactive in coming across to the American people as a guy who isn't the most intimidating, terrifying individual in contemporary politics. And his constant barrage of support for reactivating and sustaining a draconian torture policy isn't exactly contradictory to the idea that Mr. Cheney come across as a very sinister former Vice President.
The amount of evidence that claims that torture works is so heavily outweighed by evidence to the contrary that's it's hardly worth mentioning it even exists at all. Torture is useful when you want someone to tell you exactly what you want to hear, but it does very little to extract any real truth. If I were to waterboard you and demand that you tell me what you did with my Legos back in kindergarten, you're going to wet yourself, confess to taking my Legos, wet yourself a bit more, cry, tell me Osama Bin Laden stole them from you, drain the last remnants of your bladder onto your Dockers, and somewhere in there, you'll probably also beg me to stop. That's what torture is, that's what torture does. And arguing in support of torture doesn't make it any less volatile or useless. So seriously, Mr. Cheney, stop with the torture cheerleading. It's getting quite old. Or in the very least, just admit that you enjoy harming and terrifying others. Because what you're doing most certainly isn't helping the country, Dick.