When it comes to Bush and Cheney, activists in the media can't produce anything but distorted caricatures. Here's CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on Cheney's speech: "He chose to speak in a chilling code, in which methods of torture such as waterboarding became 'enhanced interrogation,' in the way that death might be called 'enhanced sleep.'" In their fevered imaginations, waterboarding is a piece of rhetorical Saran Wrap removed from execution.
Dick Cheney knows this is all wildly exaggerated. That's why he spoke out against "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." He added "that people who consistently distort the truth in this way are in no position to lecture anyone about values."
Anderson Cooper and Jeffrey Toobin: He's talking about you.
Some of those distorters of truth call themselves the "news" media, but their "values" are often at odds with the national interest. Getting the story first and getting the Pulitzer Prize seems like less of a social responsibility than keeping the country safe.
The former vice president didn't pull punches on media irresponsibility. One passage that caused a stir was his attack on the New York Times for blowing the secrecy of the Terrorist Surveillance Program. "After 9/11, the Times had spent months publishing the pictures and the stories of everyone killed by al-Qaeda on 9/11. Now here was that same newspaper publishing secrets in a way that could only help al-Qaeda. It impressed the Pulitzer committee, but it damn sure didn't serve the interests of our country, or the safety of our people."
The New York Times didn't find that passage "fit to print." They hailed Obama's "nuanced" approach, while denouncing Cheney's speech as implying "absolutism in the defense of liberty is no vice."
Dick Cheney was right to support an aggressive war on terror then, and he's right to get out on the public stage and support an aggressive war on terror now, as the Obama administration makes crucial decisions on whether we stay aggressive, or lay our defenses down. Liberal outrage at this volume tells you he's doing something very right.
Where was he from 2001 to 2008?
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