When White House spokesman Robert Gibbs ridiculed Cheney’s remarks, this was the echoed reaction of network news correspondents at the White House: “Can I ask you, when you referred to the former vice president, that was a really hard-hitting, kind of sarcastic response you had,” said Chip Reid of CBS. “This is a former Vice President of the United States. Is that the attitude–is that the sanctioned tone toward the former vice president off the United States from this White House now?”

But let’s give President Obama the last word on Cheney’s outrageous claim. This is what the president said about the torture/terror issue on 60 Minutes yesterday:

I fundamentally disagree with Dick Cheney. Not surprisingly. You know, I think that Vice President Cheney has been at the head of a movement whose notion is somehow that we can’t reconcile our core values, our Constitution, our belief that we don’t torture, with our national security interests. I think he’s drawing the wrong lesson from history.

The don’t facts bear him out. I think he is, that attitude, that philosophy has done incredible damage to our image and position in the world. I mean, the fact of the matter is after all these years how many convictions actually came out of Guantánamo? How many terrorists have actually been brought to justice under the philosophy that is being promoted by Vice President Cheney? It hasn’t made us safer. What it has been is a great advertisement for anti-American sentiment. Which means that there is constant effective recruitment of Arab fighters and Muslim fighters against U.S. interests all around the world.

 

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Charles Kaiser is the author of The Gay Metropolis and 1968 in America. He has been media editor for Newsweek, a member of the metro staff of The New York Times, and a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where he covered the press and book publishing. To learn more, visit charleskaiser.com.