When he talked to Hannity about this, I thought he meant he had general recollections that coercion had produced good intel and was going to ask the agency to review its records and declassify anything it found. Nope — he’s got two documents very specifically in mind, which means he must be awfully confident they’ll say what he thinks they say. The One’s strategy here pretty clearly was to give his base a satisfying Two Minutes Hate by releasing last week’s memos and then to declare that we don’t need any prosecutions or investigations because it’s time to move forward. Instead, the base and the media blew up and Cheney came out swinging to defend his legacy and now Obama’s got a royal clusterfark on his hands that’s only going to get more regal if/when the docs Cheney requested are released. No wonder the White House has suddenly lost its appetite for torture show trials. If 71 percent of the public is already willing to condone torture at least on rare occasions, what’ll the number be if those two memos prove Cheney right about waterboarding having prevented attacks?
At the Telegraph, Gerald Warner says good going, President Pantywaist:
That is why he opened Pandora’s Box by publishing the Justice Department’s legal opinions on waterboarding and other hardline interrogation techniques. He cynically subordinated the national interest to his partisan desire to embarrass the Republicans. Then he had to rush to Langley, Virginia to try to reassure a demoralised CIA that had just discovered the President of the United States was an even more formidable foe than al-Qaeda…
Obama promised his CIA audience that nobody would be prosecuted for past actions. That has already been contradicted by leftist groups with a revanchist ambition to put Republicans, headed if possible by Condoleezza Rice, in the dock. Talk about playing party politics with national security. Martin Scheinin, the United Nations special investigator for human rights, claims that senior figures, including former vice president Dick Cheney, could face prosecution overseas. Ponder that – once you have got over the difficulty of locating the United Nations and human rights within the same dimension.
President Pantywaist Obama should have thought twice before sitting down to play poker with Dick Cheney.
As Karl noted in the Greenroom, the only prominent Democrat left who wants to delve further into this subject is Pelosi, and after the beating she took yesterday for her “lame excuse,” expect her to have a change of heart too. Presumably the plan going forward is to let the matter drop and then, when Cheney gets his docs, to accuse him of trying to refight old battles from which the country’s moved on. Savor the irony.