By Democracy Now! in 2011
As former Vice President Dick Cheney publishes his long-awaited memoir, we speak to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. “This is a book written out of fear, fear that one day someone will ‘Pinochet’ Dick Cheney,” says Wilkerson, alluding to the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was arrested for war crimes.
Wilkerson also calls for George W. Bush and Cheney to be held accountable for their crimes in office. “I’d be willing to testify, and I’d be willing to take any punishment I’m due,” Wilkerson said. We also speak to Salon.com political and legal blogger Glenn Greenwald about his recent article on Cheney, “The Fruits of Elite Immunity.”
“Dick Cheney goes around the country profiting off of this sleazy, sensationalistic, self-serving book, basically profiting from his crimes, and at the same time normalizing the idea that these kind of policies…are perfectly legitimate choices to make. And I think that’s the really damaging legacy from all of this,” says Greenwald. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: Today marks the official launch of one of most anticipated memoirs of any top Bush administration official. I’m talking about former Vice President Dick Cheney’s 576-page memoir, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir.
Cheney has begun a publicity blitz to promote his new book, with a string of TV appearances scheduled on Fox News Channel, as well as C-SPAN and the major networks. He appeared on The Today Show this morning. This is an excerpt of his pre-taped interview with Jamie Gangel that aired last night on NBC News Dateline.
JAMIE GANGEL: In your view, we should still be using enhanced interrogation?
DICK CHENEY: Yes.
JAMIE GANGEL: Should we still be waterboarding terror suspects?
DICK CHENEY: I would strongly support using it again if we had a high-value detainee and that was the only way we can get him to talk.
JAMIE GANGEL: People call it torture. You think it should still be a tool?
DICK CHENEY: Yes.
JAMIE GANGEL: Secret prisons?
DICK CHENEY: Yes.
JAMIE GANGEL: Wiretapping?
DICK CHENEY: Well, with the right approval.
JAMIE GANGEL: You say it is one of the things you are proudest of, and you would do it again in a heartbeat.
DICK CHENEY: It was controversial at the time. It was the right thing to do.
JAMIE GANGEL: No apologies?
DICK CHENEY: No apologies.
AMY GOODMAN: That was Dick Cheney speaking to Jamie Gangel on NBC Dateline. Cheney says his memoir is loaded with revelations. He told Gangel, quote, “There are going to be heads exploding all over Washington.”
In addition to unequivocally defending what he calls “tough interrogations” on captured terrorism suspects, Cheney writes he argued against softening the president’s speeches on Iraq. He says he sees no need for the administration to apologize for erroneously claiming Iraq hunted for uranium in Niger. Cheney also reveals he tried to have former Secretary of State Colin Powell removed from the cabinet for expressing doubts about the Iraq war.
And Cheney notes he unsuccessfully urged President George W. Bush to bomb Syria in June 2007. *
One of those to come under the most scrutiny in the book is Bush’s former Secretary of State, Colin Powell. This is an excerpt of Cheney’s interview with Jamie Gangel, again from Dateline.
JAMIE GANGEL: The portrait you paint of Colin Powell makes it sound as if he was disloyal and undermining the administration.
DICK CHENEY: Well, those are your words. I don’t think I say it as harshly as you have presented it. I did feel that the State Department did not serve the president well. I would hear discussions, for example, that General Powell had objected to or opposed our operations in Iraq. But that never happened sitting around the table in the National Security Council. It was the kind of thing that seemed to be said outside to others.
AMY GOODMAN: To discuss former Vice President Dick Cheney’s version of history as outlined in his book In My Time, we’re joined from Washington, D.C., by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Lieutenant Wilkerson. Can you respond to what Cheney just said on NBC, Colonel Wilkerson?
* Jan Oberg comments
This report from 2011 in its entirety is extraordinary. It documents – for those who may have a hard time believing it – the extent to which the U.S. government has used the lie, the invention and falsified intelligence to enable it to do what it wanted to do in the interest in what I call the MIMAC – the Military-Industrial-Media-Academic Complex – which, in the US and elsewhere, is simply the most dangerous, anti-democratic and tendentially fascist structure in our world.
It’s mind-boggling that so many people have – knowing full well that they were lied to concerning Iraq – have believed in the media-marketing narrative about the war in, but predominantly on, Syria since 2011. In this perspective, please note the sentence above:
“And Cheney notes he unsuccessfully urged President George W. Bush to bomb Syria in June 2007.”
This story is now quite old and based on WikiLeaks material. It was reported in 2011 by the New York Times here. And Washington Post published, in April 2011, a long analysis of how the US channeled millions of dollars to Syria opposition groups which worked in different ways to destabilise the government of Bashar al-Assad. Way before 2011.
In spite of this, the narrative proclaimed from all the West’s media housetops was that “it” all started when al-Assad’s police and military began to shoot and kill unarmed demonstrators in 2011.