Feature

Is Dick Cheney right?

How the debate changes if waterboarding terrorists saved lives

Dick Cheney says torture works, said Richard Cohen in The Washington Post. What if he's right? The credibility-challenged former vice president said, most recently on Face the Nation, that harsh interrogations got terrorists to cough up information that saved lives. If he's right, we should have an open debate about whether that justifies using these methods, or whether they're still so abhorrent that they should be banned forever. (watch Cheney on Face the Nation)

Let's start by being honest about what these methods are, said John Hinderaker in Power Line. We're not stooping to the practices of the other side. They chop off prisoners' heads—we waterboarded, we put a caterpillar in a prisoner's cell, we grabbed prisoners by the lapels. And what Bush administration critics won't acknowledge is that we did it precisely because we wanted "humane but effective alternatives to much more brutal tactics."

Cheney's "revisionist case for torture" is a bunch of "self-serving nonsense," said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. He says it was okay to commit crimes because it was in the name of preventing another attack like 9/11. "The fallacy lies in the fact that it is impossible for Cheney to prove that anti-terrorism methods within the bounds of U.S. law and tradition would have failed to prevent new attacks."

Cheney's right about one thing, said the Newark, N.J. Star-Ledger in an editorial. The Obama administration should release the memos and other records that could help determine "what role torture played, if any, in furthering our knowledge of al Qaida and terrorism in general."

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