Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The absolutism of Cheney

“I think it was absolutely the right think to do,” the former vice president said yesterday on Face the Nation about waterboarding and such. “I’m convinced, absolutely convinced that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives.” That kind of certitude worries me, especially when he goes on to say, a moment later, “No ...

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585924_090511_absolutB2.jpg

"I think it was absolutely the right think to do," the former vice president said yesterday on Face the Nation about waterboarding and such. "I'm convinced, absolutely convinced that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives."



“I think it was absolutely the right think to do,” the former vice president said yesterday on Face the Nation about waterboarding and such. “I’m convinced, absolutely convinced that we saved thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of lives.”

That kind of certitude worries me, especially when he goes on to say, a moment later, “No one then would have bet anything that you’re going to go eight years and no have another attack.”

Actually, right off the top of my head, I remember that Vernon Loeb, who in October 2001 sat next to me at the Washington Post, and who now is a bigtime editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, said precisely that at the time: Al Qaeda isn’t going to be able to pull off another stunt like this for many years.

“No regrets,” says the former vice president. Even Frank Sinatra had a few. But then again, too few to mention.

(Btw, I think I was wrong last week about Cheney and disloyalty. I now suspect he does have a notion of loyalty, but just a somewhat feudal one — that is, not to his party, but only to those who served him.)

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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