...And the Cheney Stands Alone (sort of)
The Washingoton Post has what can only be best described as a chilling piece about how Vice President Dick Cheney has waged a major offensive to stop Congress from imposing more restrictive rules regarding the handling of terror suspects. He has done this despite signs that Congress and even some in the Bush Administration such as Secretary of State Condi Rice are supporting some kind of restrictions.
The article shows Cheney employing tactics and showing power that one wouldn't expect from a Vice President. Cheney has tried to stop the McCain Amendment-which asks that the military follow the rules of the Army Field Manual-by using acts that are nothing short of sabotage. He has on many occasions pigeon-holed Senators and his staff has done their own "dirty tricks":
Beside personal pressure from the vice president, Cheney's staff is also engaged in resisting a policy change. Tactics included "trying to have meetings canceled ... to at least slow things down or gum up the works" or trying to conduct meetings on the subject without other key Cabinet members, one administration official said. The official said some internal memos and e-mail from the National Security Council staff to the national security adviser were automatically forwarded to the vice president's office -- in some cases without the knowledge of the authors.
For that reason, [Secretary of State] Rice "wanted to be in all meetings," said a senior State Department official.
This is pretty shameful stuff. It's bad enough that we have an Administration that preaches freedom and democracy and yet turns a blind eye to torture, but then to have the administration strong arm Congress to not pass a bill restricting torture? Well, it just went from bad to worse. This not only looks bad, but it is bad. Does this administration care about how it is being percieved in the known world?
Former President Bill Clinton was in the Twin Cities over the weekend and he said something that pertains to this topic. When the Asian tsunami struck last year, the US sent aid to Indonesia, once the nations affected. As many know, Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation with 200 million adherents. Clinton said the view of the US became more favorable when we were helping the victims. Osama binLaden's view went down since he was percieved as doing nothing to help the victims. The overall picture is that when the US is seen as helping the Muslim world, we benefit because they Muslim street sees us as good guys and not the devils that binLaden and his ilk make us out to be. Senator McCain understands this. When we allow abuse of suspects we are basically giving Al Queda the "proof" that we are infadels that must be destroyed.
If we as Americans want to fight terror, then we must support the McCain amendment and denounce Cheney's tactics. What the Vice President is doing plays right into the hands of Al Queda. What he is doing is nothing more than aiding and abeting the terrorists, and he should be denounced.