[Note: Salon defines ‘waterboarding’ as ‘torture’ throughout this article. Please calibrate your semantic filters accordingly. – ML]
You might have thought getting torture back in the news would be a bad move for any Republican; after all, it was the Bush administration that authorized the torturing. But the last few days have shown Dick Cheney knew exactly what he was doing when he went on TV last week and started talking about “enhanced interrogation”: It was a masterstroke of bureaucratic warfare.
[snip multiple paragraphs that dance around the fact that Pelosi Knew All Along.]
Cheney, safely ensconced in his McLean, Va., mansion, must be chortling all the way to his cave every night. After three decades in the top levels of U.S. government, he knows better than most how to set his opponents against themselves.
You have to understand that this sort of thing is the product of a certain kind of mindset. Let’s say that you’re a person who has adopted a particular set of beliefs – for whatever reason – that you have come to depend on as being an integral part of why you consider yourself to be a good person. And let’s say that these beliefs have been reinforced and validated by certain outside individuals, through a series of deliberately provocative statements and actions. And let’s finally say that it becomes clear that those people have been lying to you with those statements and actions – and without them, the set of beliefs that you’re relying on now come into serious question. You have two options at this point. The first is to critically examine your beliefs, and be prepared to change them; the second is to find something else that would validate them.
Salon went with finding something else. They have, in fact, embraced anti-Cheneyism with a happy little zealot’s cry: for that particular form of self-delusion is marvelously unfalsifiable. Dick Cheney can do anything, you see! Start a war, end a war, manipulate the 2004 elections, raise and lower gas prices on a whim, squeeze oil from a stone, mire his opponents in scandals, possess personal death squads, topple governments, plot out exceptionally complex government conspiracies (and perfect cover-ups of same) in mere months; by this time next year he’ll be linked with the hemline cycle and why the Cubs didn’t win the World Series in 2009. Death itself will not stop a certain type from seeing his hand in everything*. Whatever flaws exist in the reasoning can now be neatly explained as Cheney Manipulated Things.
The idea that if Cheney is that demonically skilled as a manipulator, we wouldn’t have a scenario in the first place where a Democratic President was ducking questions about what the Democratic Speaker of the House knew and when she knew it, has not in fact been overlooked by folks like those at Salon. The idea was instead hit in the head with a shovel and locked in the basement while somebody went out back to dig a pit for the quicklime. You know. Deeper truth, and all that.
*Do you think that I’m joking? Go read American Hero, which managed to blame the First Gulf War on Lee Atwater, even though he was bloody well dead at the time. Back then ‘everybody knew’ that Saddam and the Bushes were secret partners. Hollywood turned that book into Wag the Dog, by the way. Two Oscar nominations; admittedly, by the time it came out it was satirizing the Clinton administration instead of the Bush administration, but that’s Hollywood for you.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.