Chris Wallace recently gave Dick Cheney a forum to lecture about how Obama's Justice Department is making a horrible mistake in looking into things that were done during his administration. (It's also often referred to as the Bush administration, but I think we all know who was the marionette and who was the puppeteer.) Wonder of wonders, Cheney doesn't like this new practice of "looking backward." I'm guessing he'd like it a lot more if he were absolutely positive he couldn't be indicted.
Anyway, when asked specifically about the controversial C.I.A interrogation practices, Cheney said, "It was good policy. It was properly carried out and it worked very, very well."
Then Wallace asked, "So, even in these cases where they [the C.I.A interrogators] went beyond the specific legal authorization, you're okay with it?"
Cheney answered emphatically, "I am."
Then Chris Wallace went on to a different topic.
Now, had I been Chris Wallace, I think I might have asked another couple of questions.
I would have followed up with, "So, in your view, it's perfectly okay to break a law as long as it's one you disagree with?"
Cheney, I'm guessing, would have emphatically answered, "I do."
Then I might have asked, "So, let me get this straight. Is it okay for anyone to break a law they disagree with, or just you?"
Then, Cheney, I'd guess, would have taken umbrage at my impudence, grimaced, then started in on how his administration kept us safe for eight years.
Then I would have tried to keep myself from mentioning the now infamous and ignored "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." memo and said, "Please, don't change the subject."
Because, you see, that's what Cheney always does. He says outrageous things about how he endorses the breaking of laws and reminds us to be afraid -- something none of us ever forget to be, especially when we hear his voice.
And, then, if anyone raises an eyebrow -- which too few people do -- he equates terrorists not attacking the United States with his administration breaking the law.
Did any of the Cheney administration's policies keep us safe? No way to absolutely prove that they did or didn't.
Have we not been attacked because the terrorists are very patient zealots? No way to know that for sure either.
And I'll even go out on a limb here, give the Cheney administration the benefit of the doubt, and say that they did what they did because they hoped they would be able to keep us safe.
But, I digress. The former vice president (really president) of the previous administration went on television and said that he was in favor of the C.I.A. going beyond specific legal authority. He endorsed breaking the law. And his interviewer chose not to point out that breaking the law makes one a criminal.
I'm not a Constitutional scholar, but I don't think it says anything about only upholding the laws you like.
We either have rules of law and ethical standards or we don't.
In Cheney's administration, I don't believe we did.
Now we're trying to get them back.
I, for one, hope we succeed.
But do you know what the worst fallout from Cheney's remarks will be? Now his daughter, Liz, will be out on the faux-pundit circuit defending them.
There ought to be a law.