Only in America, or more specifically, the dark version of America we've been living in the last few years, can a former Vice President go on TV and confess to having ordered criminal acts with no possibility of consequences, as Dick Cheney admitted in an interview with Johnathan Karl Sunday:
KARL: ... waterboarding, clearly, what was your...
CHENEY: I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques that...
KARL: And you opposed the administration's actions of doing away with waterboarding?
Transcript: "This Week" Feb. 14, 2010 (pg. 3)
Both Andrew Sullivan and Scott Horton make a convincing case that Cheney confessed to a war crime on national TV. But, as Glenn Greenwald observes, it's highly unlikely Cheney will ever have to pay for his crimes:
In general, people who commit felonies avoid publicly confessing to having done so, and they especially avoid mocking the authorities who fail to act. One thing Dick Cheney is not is stupid, and yet he's doing exactly that. Indeed, he's gradually escalated his boasting about having done so throughout the year. Why? Because he knows there will never be any repercussions, that he will never be prosecuted no matter how blatantly he admits to these serious crimes. He's taunting the Obama administration and the DOJ: not only will I not hide or apologize, but I will proudly tout and defend my role in these crimes, because I know you will do absolutely nothing about it, even though the Attorney General and the President themselves said that the act to which I'm confessing is a felony. Does anyone doubt that Cheney's assessment is right? And isn't that, rather obviously, a monumental indictment of most everything?
Dick Cheney's Taunting
Of course, if they give time off for chutzpah, Cheney has nothing to worry about. Even I can figure out that President Van Pelt isn't going to prosecute Cheney if he can avoid it. That would be like looking backward or something. I suppose at this point the only thing stopping Cheney from confessing any further is how quickly he gets bored by the same conversation.
Despite the extraordinary event of having a former Vice President confessing to multiple felonies on national TV, the biggest crime news is the continuing obsessive coverage of Amy Bishop, the apparently deranged woman who shot six of the people who rejected her professorship at the University of Alabama. Cheney's interview didn't even rate a mention on Talking Points Memo, a site that generally prides itself in dredging up any GOP-related scandals. It's pretty clear our "news" organizations aren't too interested in reliving the past, either.
Just makes you proud, doesn't it?