Tuesday, August 25, 2009


After the fall of Saddam and the failure to find WMDs in Iraq, George W. Bush told America in the 2004 State of the Union address that the Iraq War really had been necessary because of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction-related program activities." Those were sort of like actual weapons, right?

Well, now we have Dick Cheney's statement in response to the release of the torture report, and to me it's similarly weaselly:

The documents released Monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda.

That's not the same as saying those techniques were how we got that intelligence.

This intelligence saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks. These detainees also, according to the documents, played a role in nearly every capture of al Qaeda members and associates since 2002.

Note: "a role." Not, say, "a key role." And again, note that Cheney's not saying torture was how we got the information we needed from these people.

The activities of the CIA in carrying out the policies of the Bush Administration were directly responsible for defeating all efforts by al Qaeda to launch further mass casualty attacks against the United States....

That would presumably include the non-torture activities as well as the torture activities.

He's underselling it. Even in his effort to set the terms of the debate, he's not declaring that torture worked. All he's declaring is that torture was part of how we interrogated the people who gave us some of the information that was part of what we used to fight terrorism.

Please, people, report this as what it is: a concession on Cheney's part that the newly released documents don't back him up.


UPDATE: And, of course, CNN reports it exactly the wrong way.

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