Readers may recall that in late April, former Vice President Cheney requested the declassification and release of CIA memos which showed how effective enhanced interrogations, including the waterboarding of only THREE terrorists, were in providing the information that Cheney asserts saved thousands of American lives.
Democrats insisted that the memos proved nothing and Obama insisted that the information could have been gotten by other means even if it was "harder" to get the information.
I speculated at the time that Obama would NOT release the memos, despite the claim that they were the best source to discredit the former Vice President.
On May 14, the CIA officially declined Cheney's request stating that the memos were the subject of a Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA) lawsuit and could not be released.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs attempted to spin the issue stating that "The CIA is the agency that has jurisdiction over this." Gibbs went on to blame the Bush Administration which modified an Executive Order limiting release of information in such circumstances.
However, what Gibbs failed to mention was that the documents Obama previously released that created such a firestorm about so-called "torture" were also the subject of a FOIA lawsuit but Obama declassified and released them anyway.
There is no legal restriction on Obama's power to declassify and release these documents. And yet, his Administration is taking every effort to block their release.
Former Vice President Cheney has filed an appeal of the CIA decision. But this process could be stopped today if Obama wished it to be. And for documents which Democrats claim prove Cheney is a liar, one would think they would be only too happy to expedite matters.
The fact that the Obama Administration is using every bureaucratic tool to block release of these documents should raise serious questions for people who desire to learn the truth about how well waterboarding THREE terrorists worked to save American lives.
Dick Cheney: A Good Spokesman for the GOP?
The major flaw of the Bush Administration was that it deemed it unworthy to get into the gutter with Democrats whose primary goal was the demonization of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and anyone else who got in their way. Rather than defend against the smears and attacks some in the Administration, including President Bush, thought they could rise above it all without incurring any damage. They were wrong.
The reputations of great men like Vice President Cheney were wrongfully damaged by the unrelenting campaign of hate and disinformation launched by Democrats over the previous eight years.
But none of that does anything to tarnish the ability of Dick Cheney to analyze and speak out on issues of great importance.
William Kristol writing at the Weekly Standard agrees:
Don't Wince. Fight!
Dick Cheney, Most Valuable Republican.
by William Kristol
When accused of being too aggressive on behalf of the United States at the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was fond of repeating a French proverb: "Cet animal est fort méchant, / Quand on l'attaque il se défend." Imagine--an animal so mean that, when attacked, it defends itself!
Dick Cheney is reminding Republicans that they need to defend themselves when attacked.
When President Obama released the Justice Department interrogation memos a month ago, Cheney denounced him for doing so. He explained why it was inappropriate and unwise to release such documents. But he did more. He didn't just defend himself and the administration in which he served. He fought back, and encouraged others to do so.
He challenged the president to release CIA memos evaluating the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques. He raised the question of whether congressional Democrats--Nancy Pelosi, for one--had known of, and at least tacitly approved of, the allegedly horrifying abuses of the allegedly lawless Bush administration.
So while some Hill Republicans were fretting about getting a positive message
out and others were launching substance-free listening tours, while GOP operatives were wringing their hands about whether Republicans could recover from the Bush years, and while most senior Bush alumni were in hiding, Dick Cheney--Darth Vader himself, Mr. Unpopularity, the last guy you'd supposedly want out there making the case--stepped onto the field. He's made himself the Most Valuable Republican of the first four months of the Obama administration (ably assisted by a few bold denizens of the Hill like the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, Pete Hoekstra).
Of course, this has resulted in some Republican political operatives' doing what they do best: complaining, on background, to the media. "As Cheney Seizes Spotlight, Many Republicans Wince," was the front-page headline in Thursday's Washington Post. Two Republican "strategists" spoke "on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid." Profiles in courage! One of them opined that Cheney is "entirely unhelpful." The other elaborated, "Even if he's right, he's absolutely the wrong messenger. . . . We want Bush to be a distant memory in the next election."
To have such a juvenile understanding of political dynamics, you'd have to be a prominent "Republican strategist." You might actually have both the Dole and McCain campaigns under your belt. Or perhaps you were one of those who encouraged the Bush White House to assume a fetal position on most issues in its second term and not fight back against slanders or defend their people, because to do so would spotlight the "wrong" issues or people.
Hugh Hewitt likes Cheney to Winston Churchill, of whom it was said that his career was over for mistakes in his early career and the bad impression that left with many of the British people:
Don't expect silence from people who know the truth
By: Hugh Hewitt
...Thus did the critics of Winston Churchill deride the banished former Chancellor of the Exchequer (the second highest office in the British cabinet) after his nearly five years in the job, and thus did they mock Churchill's advice about the threat posed by Hitler throughout the '30s, despite the fact that Churchill had served as First Lord of the Admiralty as well as Secretary of State for Munitions, for War and for Air, as well as many other senior posts.
It did not matter that Churchill had immense experience in the most important affairs of the planet --he was an inconvenient figure, and a noisy one. The fiasco at Gallipoli was used as a rod to beat him whenever it was necessary to do so, even though the failure of the campaign to force the Dardanelles was not solely or even primarily his.
Most of the important powers in England's press in the 1930s joined with the country's most senior politicos to marginalize and isolate the man who would not shut up.
Scorn did not deter Churchill from using his immense visibility to sound the alarm about Hitler from 1932 forward, and his vast array of contacts within the government continually provided him with the updates he needed to push first Stanley Baldwin and then Neville Chamberlin to do more to attend to the U.K.'s defenses.
I thought of Churchill when Democrats and their partners in the mainstream media denounced former Vice President Dick Cheney all last week. I remarked to Newsweek's Howard Fineman on air that the Left greets every Cheney appearance as Grendel-escaped-again-from-its-den, but their defensiveness about the former vice president is extremely revealing.
Cheney isn't appearing in order to advance his own career, or even to serve his party (as many unnamed Republicans are eager to tell their pals in the Beltway media.) Cheney is talking directly to the American people about national security and the fecklessness with which the new president is taking decisions on matters of utmost importance.
This is a crucial role, and Cheney has the national security credentials to make the criticisms stick, even if the hysterical left wants to shout "water-boarding" and "WMD" in an endless round of self-absorbed echoes.
Every American serious about the war should welcome Cheney's continuing contributions to the debate about national security. There are very, very few people with similar backgrounds, and only a handful with the same sort of exposure to the current nature of our enemies' capabilities and intentions.
Cheney scares the appeasers of the new millennium, even as Churchill scared the appeasers of the '30s, and for the same reason. Cheney knows the enemy, and he knows the new government isn't taking that enemy seriously.
Cheney is pushing for seriousness in the war that is still underway, whether the issue is closing Gitmo, the conduct of interrogation, or the maintenance and disposition of our forces. Every time he speaks, millions will listen closely even as the hundreds within the Beltway scowl. Long may he comment.