Cheneys should be giving, not getting, an apology

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, appeared together on CNN yesterday to repeat some very familiar lines of attack. It was their request for an apology, though, that rankled.

The Cheneys, of course, were supportive of the strike on al Qaeda’s Anwar al-Awlaki late last week. But the former VP pivoted from this to a larger condemnation.

“The thing I’m waiting for is for the administration to go back and correct something they said two years ago when they criticized us for ‘overreacting’ to the events of 9/11. They, in effct, said that we had walked away from our ideals, or taken policy contrary to our ideals when we had enhanced interrogation techniques.

“Now they clearly had moved in the direction of taking robust action when they feel it is justified. I say in this case I think it was, but I think they need to go back and reconsider what the president said when he was in Cairo.”

Actually, maybe Cheney should go back and reconsider what the president said in Cairo. I re-read the speech this morning, and Obama never said the United States “overreacted” to 9/11. It simply never happened; Cheney appears to have just made that up. Here’s the speech; see for yourself.

Cheney added on CNN, “[President Obama] said in his Cairo speech for example that he had quote, ‘banned torture.’ Well, we were never torturing anybody in the first place, said we walked away from our basic fundamental ideals. Now that simply wasn’t the case.”

Of course it was the case. Obama said in Cairo, “I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States.” Under Bush/Cheney, we were torturing — Cheney’s twisted definitions notwithstanding — and when torture was a standard U.S. technique, this did in fact distance the nation from our basic fundamental ideals.

Cheney wants an apology? He should be offering one, not receiving one.

For her part, Liz Cheney, now a prominent right-wing activist, complained that Obama “slandered” the United States by distancing his administration from the Bush/Cheney era torture techniques. “Those are the policies that kept us safe,” she said.

That’s clearly ridiculous, and the fact that we’ve been kept safe for the last several years without torture techniques seems to suggest Liz Cheney’s radicalism is mistaken.

Perhaps most strikingly, Liz Cheney said that Obama, by even talking about the shift away from Bush/Cheney-era torture policies, has done “real damage to our standing in the world.”

Liz, you know what actually does real damage to our standing in the world? Torturing people.