In a recent Washington Times editorial, former Clinton Special Council Lanny Davis has decided that former vp Dick Cheney should be brought up on charges even though he has formerly spoken against such prosecutions. Why the sudden flip flop? Apparently his only reason is that Cheney has had the audacity to appear on a few TV talk shows to defend himself.
It is somewhat ironic that Davis, with Clinton a man that appeared all over TV during the Lewinski scandal to defend themselves, is upset that Cheney is appearing all over TV to defend himself. But the sad thing is that Davis has had to twist himself into a pretzel to excuse his revenge against Cheney. Davis’ legal logic leaves quite a bit to be desired with this about face.
Here is what Davis claimed changed his mind from opposing these destructive truth commissions to now accepting them:
[Cheney’s] insistence on putting himself on multiple TV programs and conservative radio talk shows, not only defending torture but offering the defense that it worked, has changed my mind.
This is a prime example of the singular illogic that the left keeps purposefully foisting on the American public in order to justify a desire for witch hunt trials and truth commissions. It is a misconstruction of what the underlying reasoning was for using waterboarding during Bush’s years in office. The disconnect with the truth here is that Cheney is not “defending torture.” In fact the position of Cheney and the Bush administration is that the enhanced interrogation techniques approved by White House lawyers specifically held that it wasn’t “torture.” Whether you now agree that waterboarding is torture or not, the whole point here is that the advisers then said it wasn’t. So, on that basis Cheney and advocates of the methods went forward under the aegis that no torture was being committed in the first place. So, in truth, Cheney is not “defending torture” because they contended that it was no such thing.
This is a key point that the left is purposefully ignoring because it is the only way they can excuse their own actions. It is pure spin that ignores the legal understanding of the whole incident. For a lawyer like Lanny Davis, that isn’t very lawyerly of him.
Davis next goes on to clam that Cheney is merely looking for an “I told you so” moment with all this. In case we are attacked, Davis postulates, Cheney can say that Obama’s reckless abandonment of the methods that kept us safe for the last seven years will the the cause of that attack. I find it a bit hard to believe that Cheney would interrupt his retirement, would put himself out there on a tree limb like he has, would sacrifice the silence that might have more easily kept him out of this whole mess, would do so merely to be able to say “I told you so.”
Davis’ attempt to personalize Cheney’s TV appearances as a direct attack on Obama is rather silly and smacks of him, not Cheney, playing politics with America’s safety.
That aside, though, Davis still insists that no others should appear on the docket alongside former vp Cheney. Except for a truth commission only for Cheney, Davis still opposes such attacks on other former administration officials.
… I oppose any criminal prosecution of prior-administration officials on torture or other issues relating to the Iraq War and the war on terrorism, especially those CIA interrogators who relied in good faith on the instructions of policymakers and the legal opinions issued by Justice Department senior officials.
Davis correctly cites the fact that the White House Office of Legal Council approved the use of the enhanced interrogations. He points out that Jay S. Bybee and John Yoo declared that the techniques were not in violation of the 1994 federal law against using torture. Davis also points out that other voices disagreed. Still Davis does not seem to be in favor of going after Bybee or Yoo, only Cheney.
This does not pass the smell test for logic and seems to argue that Davis is not interested in law but in vindictiveness alone against Cheney. If Davis is so sure that Yoo and Bybee had indulged in insincere “legal gymnastics” to justify breaking federal law, then Davis should be looking to see Bybee and Yoo’s heads on a pike right alongside Cheney’s. But Davis still seems to insist that no other official should be brought up on charges. This simply makes no logical sense.
So, how does Davis square his refusal to countenance prosecutions of everyone but Cheney? Here is the crux of his argument.
… Mr. Cheney knew waterboarding was being used against detainees, that he expressly approved its use, or that he actually directed interrogators to use it. If any of these are true, then Mr. Cheney could be guilty under U.S. laws of being a co-conspirator or an accessory to a crime.
Davis justifies attacking Cheney alone because the vp was at the top of the chain and made the order directing the use of “torture.” I’ve already discussed the singular fact that council had informed the vp that no torture was being committed and that Cheney went forward on that basis, but there is another problem with Davis’ justification: Cheney wasn’t at the top. Bush was.
If we are talking only going after the top man, then we should be talking going after Bush, not Cheney (or, perhaps, not just Cheney, in any case). Bush was the president, not Cheney. So, whatever the vice president did it was under the color of Bush’s authority.
In the end, even Davis’ weak reasoning for attacking only Cheney can’t stand to reason.
This whole push for truth commissions on behalf of the extreme left is the worst thing for the nation. Should such witch hunts as those Lanny Davis now suddenly approves commence, it will diminish the office of the president and the vice president both and will certainly have repercussions for the honest council offered the executive branch for decades to come.
Davis ends his ill-conceived editorial with one more example of the left’s essentially un-American focus by citing a foreign source to buck up his call for truth commissions. This penchant of the left to cite foreign opinions, laws, and ideas and to apply them to U.S. law is yet one more way to tear at the sovereignty of our own nation. For his part, Davis cites approvingly an opinion by the Israeli Supreme Court as if that has any bearing at all on what we here are doing or should do here in the United States.
Whether the Israeli Court’s sentiment is a good one or not, their legal opinions simply have no bearing on ours. Unfortunately, lefty legalists in the U.S. are determined to force foreign precedent on the U.S. and this is just another woeful example of that.
Sadly, Lanny Davis failed to convince that his vindictive desire to hang Dick Cheney from the nearest yardarm is based on any logical legal reasoning. Mark Lanny as just another wild-eyed DailyKos type looking to execute former officials in an updated, American version of the French Revolution. For Davis and his compatriots it’s to hell with the Ancien Régime and off with their heads.
So much for the law.