For Dick Cheney 9/11 means never having to say you're sorry. His speech last week at the American Enterprise Institute is a masterpiece of self-justification
Over on the left wing of the president's party, there appears to be little curiosity in finding out what was learned from the terrorists. The kind of answers they're after would be heard before a so-called "Truth Commission." Some are even demanding that those who recommended and approved the interrogations be prosecuted, in effect treating political disagreements as a punishable offense, and political opponents as criminals. It's hard to imagine a worse precedent, filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse, than to have an incoming administration criminalize the policy decisions of its predecessors
Now let's just break that paragraph down one bit at time and I'll see if I can translate it for you:
"Over on the left wing (those who oppose me are all communists) of the president's party (no real Republican would object to what we did) there appears to be little curiosity in finding out what was learned from the terrorists (The ends justify the means and torture worked, it saved lives-- no really it did, nevermind all those people who argue otherwise--but our opponents don't care, they are just playing 'gotcha'). The kind of answers they're after (they don't care about the truth, they just want something that would make us look bad) would be heard before a so-called (it wouldn't be the truth) "Truth Commission." Some are even demanding that those who recommended and approved the interrogations be prosecuted (the reverse Nuremberg defense- I'm not responsible for what happened, I was only giving the orders), in effect treating political disagreements (ordering torture and other violations of the law and Constitution are merely partisan politics) as a punishable offense (they are being vicious and vindictive and want to hurt me, help!) , and political opponents (war criminals are merely people with whom the left disagree) as criminals. It's hard to imagine a worse precedent (oh noes! people will be held responsible for their actions), filled with more possibilities for trouble and abuse (if we start prosecuting people for torture and war crimes, who knows where this whole 'punishing people for breaking the law' thing could go? My buddies at Haliburton could be next) , than to have an incoming administration criminalize (ordering people to be tortured, some of them to death, was not a crime, it wasn't! its only a crime because the Democrats say it is, despite 200 years of law that says otherwise ) the policy decisions (actual crimes) of its predecessors.
The real reason that the former vice president has been all over the TV and newspapers lately is not so much about securing his place in history as it is securing his place outside of the dock in the Hague.
Look, I don't think anyone will argue that the 9/11 attacks were not a horrible thing. Nearly 3,000 people died and that is pretty goddamn awful. But, rightwing pantspisser pronouncements to the contrary, it didn't change anything. The law is still the law. The worst crimes perpetrated do not allow us to ignore the law when it comes to catching and punishing the perpetrators. The Manson Family murders did not give the police the right to shoot suspected Beatles fans on sight.
Just because you're scared shitless doesn't mean you can do anything you want. The notion that "the end does not justify the means" is not just some collegiate philosophy 101 bit of theory, it is pretty much the basis of western law, along with that whole "innocent until proven guilty" thing and "habeas corpus" -- but then again, I suppose those were ignored or suspended too during the Cheney regime.
Maybe if Bwana Dick Cheney had thought of the possibility of going to jail a few years ago, the world would be a better place right now, but I suppose given his history in the Nixon and Ford administrations, one can't really expect him to understand that just because the President does it, doesn't mean its not illegal.