Vice’s Secret Vices
In a closed-door session on Tuesday, Dick Cheney testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating the “enhanced” interrogation techniques of “high value” detainees.
This columnist gained exclusive “access” to the classified testimony of the “deeply missed” former vice president.
The chairwoman of the committee, Dianne Feinstein, began by telling Cheney that she was “shocked personally” by what she had learned about the brutality of the way prisoners were treated.
“Those insects weren’t even poisonous,” Cheney growled. “Facial slaps? Abdominal slaps? Throwing a naked man into a wall? Kid stuff. Those methods worked. They kept us safe for seven years. Safer than with that delicate Hawaiian orchid in the White House. America is coming across as weak and indecisive. Just when Rummy and I had stomped out that ‘Blame America First’ flower-child culture, Obama has dragged it back, apologizing profusely all over the world for the country he’s running, canoodling with greasy dictators, kissing up to those weasels in Europe, which is only free today because of our military. Friends and foes alike will be quick to take advantage if they think they’re dealing with a Creamsicle.”
Senator John McCain, looking disgusted, began yelling at Cheney, telling him that waterboarding someone 183 times in a month was against the law. “The Japanese who did that in World War II were tried and hanged,” he sneered.
“Shut your piehole,” Cheney replied flatly. “Everyone’s sick of you being an apologist for torture. Why don’t you go join that pantywaist Specter on the other side where you belong?”
Senator Russ Feingold got into the fray, asking Cheney sarcastically: “Can you tell us exactly which terrorist plots were foiled by torture?”
Cheney offered his mirthless smile. “Certainly,” he replied. “Shortly after 9/11, we disrupted a plot to assassinate a senator, penetrating two terrorist cells and uncovering a Serbian scheme. Our interrogator used a chokehold, threatened to withhold a detainee’s heart medicine, and broke a few laws, but it was well worth it.”
Feingold interrupted with thinly veiled contempt: “You’re telling us now that the Serbs are linked to Al Qaeda?”
Cheney nodded. “Of course. Then, the following year, we were able to get a lead on an international terrorist named Syed Ali and stop a nuclear bomb from being detonated in Los Angeles. Sure, an enemy combatant was shot in the chest. Yes, a hacksaw came into play. There was some wall slamming, throat grabbing and when Ali wouldn’t talk because he was doing ‘Allah’s work,’ our agent had to feign the shooting death of Ali’s first-born son. But in the end we averted World War III with three Middle East countries and kept America safe from a suitcase bomb.
“In 2004, we thwarted the spread of a deadly weaponized virus strain. The following year, after some unsuccessful attempts at sensory disorientation with detainees, we got a torture specialist who had a way with a taser and his trusty syringe. Strict measures, like breaking fingers one by one and using an electrical cord from a lamp to shock a suspect, were necessary. We were under attack by a terrorist named Habib Marwan who controlled a bunch of Middle East terrorist cells. They were planning to meltdown nuclear power plants across the country, shoot down Air Force One and set off a nuclear missile. On top of that, we were dealing with a mole in our counterterrorism unit.
“In 2006, after an incident with the man who made history by becoming the first black president …”
Senator Feinstein interrupted: “Excuse me, Mr. Cheney, are you talking about Barack Obama?”
“I said the first black president,” Cheney snapped, before continuing: “Our interrogator needed to do some things outside protocol. There was an exploding vest, a foot digging into a wound, an injection of pain-inducing hyoscine-pentothal, a threat to cut out the eyes of a suspect being interrogated unless he confessed where the Sentox nerve gas cannisters were. But the Geneva Conventions are a small thing to give up when you consider that we broke up a nefarious plot that reached to the highest levels — the Oval Office.”
Senator Olympia Snowe looked confused: “But you were in the Oval Office in 2006, Mr. Cheney.”
Something dawned on Evan Bayh and he smiled grimly. “Didn’t it turn out in the end, Dick,” he asked, “that some of these so-called terrorist plots were really domestic villains with black ops teams scheming to control the oil supply and get rich? Sort of like what you did with Iraq and Halliburton?”
Cheney glared at him, saying “We’re the patriots.” Bayh walked over and whispered something to the chairwoman.
“Mr. Cheney,” Feinstein said, sounding shocked, “your testimony is delusional, not to mention derivative.”
Cheney looked apoplectic, not to mention apocalyptic. “How dare you,” he cried, “demean our country’s finest counterterrorism agent, Jack Bauer?”