The former Vice President has been on a damage control tour of talk shows to try and press his case for the use of torture against terrorist suspects. The Republicans and their talking heads have taken the tact of trying to accuse Nancy Pelosi of lying about knowing about the torture policy. Dick Cheney has even gone so far as to point the finger at former President Bush as having known about and approved of the torture policy. Dick Cheney's main point however is still that torture was an effective tool in preventing attacks on the United States.
The point as to whether torture was effective or not has become a main point of contention on both sides. I have stated in the past and will reiterate the point that the effectiveness of torture is not important. People being tortured will admit to almost anything. Dick Cheney and the Republicans have been successful in altering the national debate. Dick Cheney has admitted and we have documentation to prove that the Bush administration did in fact carry out a policy of torture. We have more than enough legal history to prove that the techniques approved and used by the Bush administration are indeed torture. If we accept that fact, then the conversation should not be about who knew what when, but who approved and initiated the program.
I have no doubt that Democrats like Jay Rockefeller and Nancy Pelosi might have indeed been briefed on the techniques that were used. That is wholly beside the point. Even if they knew about the torture, they were in no position to do anything about it. The CIA briefings were classified and anyone in those meetings was bound, by law, not to talk about them. The less than esteemed former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, said that since Democrats have been in charge since 2007 they should have made Waterboarding illegal if they thought that it was so bad. Of course he forgets the point that waterboarding was illegal and continues to be illegal. There is no need to make any new laws to make it so.
The question of torture is a matter of law. There is no grey area. Claiming that some Democrats may have known about the practices does not make the use of those practices any less illegal. We are supposed to be a nation of laws. If our leaders can decide to enforce only the laws that are convenient, then our system of government is not only corrupt, but invalid. Torture is illegal. The people who initiated a program of torture need to answer for their actions. That is it. Our nation's laws and international laws and treaties were violated in the name of the citizens of this country. It is the citizens themselves who should be demanding that the people who approved and initiated this illegal program of torture should be brought to justice. It is the people who have to adhere to the rule of law who should be outraged that their good name has been sullied by those in government. It is the people who have to rise up and shout that no one is above the law.