The worst writer in America, Richard Cohen — that thoughtless, valueless, condescending, sociopathic sexist poster-boy for the vapidity of the Washington Post‘s opinion section — has written such inconsistent snot today that for once, we’re not the only blog making fun of him. He even opened with a smug little “Blogger alert” — “I have written a column in defense of Dick Cheney” — as a holier-than-thou excuse to do no research for his barking, again. The blogs did not pay attention. Others have already pointed out that in his column two weeks ago he declared that torture “unequivocally” works and that any debate about such would be “silly,” while today he writes that despite his disdain (oh?) for Cheney, “I have to wonder whether what he is saying now is the truth — i.e., torture works.” But we thought “wondering” was only something a gay Frenchman would do?

Deep breath:

In some sense, this is an arcane point since the United States insists it will not torture anymore — not that, the Bush people quickly add, it ever did. Torture is a moral abomination, and President Obama is right to restate American opposition to it. But where I reserve a soupçon of doubt is over the question of whether “enhanced interrogation techniques” actually work. That they do not is a matter of absolute conviction among those on the political left, who seem to think that the CIA tortured suspected terrorists just for the hell of it.


Still, every dog has his day, and Cheney is barking up a storm on the efficacy of what can colloquially be called torture. He says he knows of two CIA memos that support his contention that the harsh interrogation methods worked and that many lives were saved. “That’s what’s in those memos,” he told Schieffer. They talk “specifically about different attack planning that was underway and how it was stopped.”

Cheney says he once had the memos in his files and has since asked that they be released. He’s got a point. After all, this is not merely some political catfight conducted by bloggers, although it is a bit of that, too. Inescapably, it is about life and death — not ideology, but people hurling themselves from the burning World Trade Center. If Cheney is right, then let the debate begin: What to do about enhanced interrogation methods? Should they be banned across the board, always and forever? Can we talk about what is and not just what ought to be?

God, you’re like 98 years old, maybe it’s time to grow up?

Only minor agreement: if any libtard wants full prosecutions because of “revenge,” then yeah, just stop talking forever. But Richard Cohen thinks that this is ALL BLOGGERS — anyone who uses the publishing medium of a web-log — and that there cannot be any other reason to want prosecutions, because he can only think in political terms, because he has no values, because he is a leprous swamp monster.

Release more documents! Definitely! Many, many documents. Torture maybe could have worked a couple of times — maybe! — but hey guess what, it’s illegal! And it’s super-illegal when you authorize it as a program, which maybe you do after you get one good confession.

Since Richard Cohen doesn’t have a problem defining these CIA techniques as “torture,” why doesn’t he think the U.S. should honor the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which Ronald Reagan ratified in 1988 and is enforceable as domestic law? It places “absolute prohibition” — “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever,” including “any threat of terrorism” — on acts of torture and requires that a State Party prosecute those complicit — because if it doesn’t, then some other State Party can. Has he read this, the torture law thing? NOT MUCH ROOM FOR YR SOUPÇONS IN THERE. And the leftist blogosphere didn’t even write it!

So if Dick Cheney is secretly right and torture worked on a couple of fellows and saved 100,000 lives, then Americans can decide how they feel about that (for five seconds, during an American Idol commercial break). They shouldn’t have to. It is illegal, and if Dick Cheney was acting so selflessly for his country, he would accept the legal consequences.


What If Cheney’s Right? [WP]

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  1. If you think Cheney’s right, you’ve been watching too much 24.

    See, that column didn’t have to be so long and insane, now did it, Richard?

  2. Be my boyfriend, Jim.

    Know what’s really fucking sad? Jim Newell making 5,000 times more sense than the entire editorial section of the Washington Post, in between jokes about Trucknutz.

    Newspapers: This is why your troubles are being met with a nearly universal shrug. GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR COLLECTIVE ASSES BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

    Oh, I see the Philly Inquirer has hired John Yoo as a columnist. Never mind then.


  3. Cheney hallucinates.
    Sleep deprived torture victims hallucinate.
    Therefore, their testimony gathered under torture is reliable. QED.

    It clearly meets Cheney’s standards for truth.

    So, what’s your problem, you, ragey, resentful, kootied-up leftwing blogger?

    I guess you ‘want the truth’ How intolerant and self-righteous is that? Think about it. It is very self-righteous and intolerant. It discriminates the truth-challenged. Do you see how your self-contradictory lefty logic confounds itself (see, I read it the NRO and understand it too!).

    If it keeps our mediocre affluent white men bossmen from peeing themselves, it has to be right.

  4. Not to be a liberal weenie, but:

    Inescapably, it is about life and death — not ideology, but people hurling themselves from the burning World Trade Center.

    And also it is about maybe guilty, maybe guilty-of-something-but-not-in-on-the-latest-plots, maybe turned-in-to-bored-US-soldiers-at-Bagram-for-the-reward-money guys who have water poured up their nose, are kept awake for days and days, put into boxes full of bugs, etc. Also.

  5. OT, but it is my first trip back here in a while. Since Dick and his buddy Jr. did and equally good job running the economy as they did keeping us safe from our enemies and upholding the rule of law, I had to move fifteen fucking time zones away from home to get a decent job (still in America, just a teeny-tiny and very remote sliver of it). I actually like it here, but I hate moving to the other side of the earth from the little ones just to earn enough to buy shoes for them.

    So Dick, you wrecked the military, the justice system and the economy. Our enemies completed the most devistating attack in our history when you had the keys to the place (including, apparently, the liquor cabinet). I am certain that whatever circle of Hell you are assigned to in the next life will be the one with the biggest bag of dicks for you to choke on.

    It is good to be back.

  6. I used Lexis/Nexis to find a 1997 column of his entitled “What If I Used a White Glitter Pen to Color My Hair and Beard?”

    Fred Hiatt’s editorial page is largely an open sewer. At least Krauthammer has the conviction to (1) sign his editorials [unlike Hiatt] and (2) proudly proclaim that he’s a barbaric reactionary dickweed rather than pose hypothetical questions about it [unlike Cohen].

  7. Well, obv. as an effete Jewish 80-year old guy who’s never had sex in his life, he has a huge hardon for Dick Cheney. He wants to get waterboarded, straight up. He is the classic American outsider figure who gives his all to whom he perceives (mistakenly) as the insider. Worthy of a fuckin play, but not of my time to read the piece of shit. I mean really, how many times has he been offered a retirement package? I say he’d better take the next one or else after that he’s going to have a clause that forces him to change Limbaugh’s diaper.

  8. Even violence-porn Quentin Tarintino knows tortrure doesn’t work:

    EDDIE (OS)
    I take it this is the bastard you
    told me about.
    (referring to the
    Why the hell are you beating on

    MR. PINK
    So he’ll tell us who the fuck set
    us up.

    Would you stop it with that shit!
    You beat on this prick enough,
    he’ll tell ya he started the
    Chicago fire. That don’t
    necessarily make it so.

  9. “You can perform sexual intercourse by raping someone. It works! It’s not *right*, but if it gets results, well…” ??

    Richard, you cock – if a nation cannot adhere to your own fucking philosophy/law/rules of engagement, then do not promote the fucking philosophy/law/rules of engagement. If Cheney says ‘yeah we torture and fuck you if you have a problem with it’, that would be unpleasant, but fine. It’s much preferable to, ‘we did it for 9/11, and liberty, but we’re still the pillars of the Earth because of our ostensibly pious bullshit and oh suck my dick you’re just a liberal faggot’.

    It’s pathetic and fraudulent, so please shut the fuck up about this now, and forever, because you do not understand THE ACTUAL POINT of contention.

  10. [re=315045]shanemacgowan[/re]: Oh my God, don’t tell me… sounds like… Alaska? If so, must be tough living under the regime of the White Witch of Narnia. If it’s Hawaii, no sympathies (just kidding). A little known fact according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics: jobs created in the eight Clinton years: 21 million; jobs created in the eight Chimp years: 3 million.

  11. umm, the CIA did torture people just for the hell of it.

    At least he got something right there.
    ‘soupcon’, gad, he is an old fuc*er.

  12. One thing about the column I like is the reasoning, the logic, a display of the overwhelming rigorous deduction of our leadership class.

    A stopped clock tells time correctly twice a day, and Cheney is the stopped clock, but it might be right this time.

    So we should torture, because a stopped clock says so.

    There is some goof-ass “soup’s son” (who the hell is that? Rummy?) of doubt about whether it works, therefore, it is a regrettable, but necessary recourse, when we need a really reliable method of getting the truth.

    Because thousands of people had to throw themselves from tall burning buildings, more because the fearless leaders who want to torture people now were incompetent jackasses then, than because we did not torture then (since we had all he info we needed without torture).

    I love these guys. They are LAF riots. Who are the gag writers? This is comedy gold. Who thinks this stuff up?

    Sorry, Wonkette, you are total loser. You are never this funny. This is why you attack these geniuses. You are jealous because they are funnier than you. For shame Wonkette.

  13. [re=315056]BlueStateLibtard[/re]: Thanks, BSL. I’m way way past of both the Lair of the White Witch and the Land of Hopey’s birth.

  14. Amazing how our little republic existed for a couple of centuries without having to resort to ‘enhanced interrogation.’ Torture was done by our enemies and when our wars were ended we prosecuted those we were able to locate. What does it mean to be an American? Does our ‘exceptionalism’ entitle us to treat any foe or dissident in any manner deemed necessary at the time? We already stride the planet like a drunken frat boy and have had our way with a lot of other countries, whether to save them from communism or terrorism or to simply give our large companies a better hand in extracting their resources.

    No, Richard. You, and David Broder, Peggy Noonan, Billy Kristol and all the rest are the clear and present danger here. You are the ticking bomb. Retire to Israel or Paraguay or Alaska but go. Or I’ll have K. Lo sit on you.

  15. Can I just point out that this is the best takedown of this argument I’ve seen? Torture’s illegal, that’s it. There’s nothing else to say about it, no work arounds, nothing. That’s just it. The writers and signatories of all those treaties already thought of all of these possible “life saving” scenarios, and decided that torture wasn’t worth it anyway! That’s why they put in all that “no justification” language. They knew douchebags like Cohen would come along eventually and try to be all, “but what if torture resulted in world peace?” or whatever nonsense they came up with. They scooped him!

  16. Is it me or can I just ignore the fucktards until the next time they control congress/the whitehouse (you know, in 2075)? Who gives a shit what these idiots say when they have no power? I didn’t listen to a word the dems said between 2001 and 2006 because IT DIDN’T FUCKING MATTER.

  17. One look at that little photo of the laziest columnist in the world is all you need to realize he’s insane. I’m not just making a snarky remark. I’m stating a fact. Look at that photo!

    So it’s time to cancel the Post again. I recommend it–very therapeutic. They’re so desperate to hold onto subscribers, they put someone on the phone who asks you a million questions about why you’re canceling and if there’s anything they can do to change your mind, like giving you a 90-percent discount.

    It’ll be fun to tell them that I’m canceling this time because I think it’s just feels weird to be wasting my time reading a newspaper that not only employs an insane person, but has NOBODY on their staff who seems to realize it that Cohen is insane.

  18. [re=315079]kdl[/re]: the CIA has always tortured people, or taught people how to torture, plan insurrections, etc.

    Bush/Cheney gave them too much power.

    Then you have to add in the private contractor for torture, and yes, that is unique in American history.
    The CIA may have paid others to torture but they were always ‘off the books’.
    When you get on the Pentagon payrole-you are on the books, right?

    Cheney hired people to torture (hi there Xe!)
    and make them so special that they answer to no nations laws.

  19. [re=315048]Red Zeppelin[/re]: “Well, obv. as an effete Jewish 80-year old guy who’s never had sex in his life, he has a huge hardon for Dick Cheney.”

    I don’t follow your logic here. 1. Do you know that he’s Jewish? 2. Do all effete Jewish 80 year old men who’ve never had sex have hardons for Dick Cheney? Is that some kind of well known stereotype, or something that appears in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

  20. [re=315033]Tra[/re]: The Inquirer is now total shit; as a Philadelphian it really pisses me off. A few years ago, it was brought by Brian Tierney, who previously had been an official apologist for the Catholic Archdiosce for altar-boy-fucking. He has since turned the opinion page into a total right-wing rag, starting with hiring Santorum.

  21. [re=315076]chascates[/re]: Yeah, but Germany and the Soviet Union were inconsequential threats compared to a handful of disorganized cave-dwellers.

  22. What’s weird is that Cohen can’t have done a minute’s worth of research on whether torture is effective. It’s one thing to have that flicker of doubt (“Oh, maybe the world’s most blatant and opportunistic pathological liar is somehow correct in this one particular self-serving assertion.”) It’s another to write a whole goddamn column about it without even bugging your cute young intern to do some research about it. Here’s a hint, Mr. Cohen: There’s not one goddamn reasonable source anywhere that says the forms of torture approved after 9/11 are at all effective.

    In fact the JPRA, which runs the torture schools where we got the techniques we used, specifically told the Gitmo unit and the CIA that they had no evidence that their techniques produced reliable confessions. Professional interrogators from every generation of living Americans have spoken out against torture, saying it produces unreliable confessions.

    I’m sorry that losing faith in Dick Cheney turns out to be such a long and troubling prospect for you. I don’t know if it’s sweetly pathetic or merely pathetic that even at this late hour — with the plane heading straight for the mountainside, and the pilot’s opening parachute just a vanishing speck behind you — that you still trust his last words about how he’s just going to ask for directions and will come right back to steer the plane. But I have one demand:

    When Cheney is exposed — in court, and with finality — as the multifaceted megalomaniacal malignancy upon the face of the Constitution that he truly is — you will don sackloth and ashes and write at least four (4) consecutive columns about what a freaking rube you were. And then you should mention this episode regularly as a sign of your newfound humility. And then getting a tattoo on your forehead that says “I was so scared, I believed anything Dick Cheney said until its untruth was painfully evident to everyone but me.”


  23. I was really looking forward to a Richard Cohen column about how he didn’t find Wanda Sykes funny–and Richard Cohen knows funny!

  24. I’ll personally bust the cédille thingee off that frog “c” and anal crucify Cohen with it…you know…for teh lulz, not torture!

  25. Wonkette, I’m disappointed that a Google search for “worst writer in America” doesn’t return Mr. Cohen at the top, or even on the first page. Please rectify this oversight at your earliest convenience.

  26. [re=315108]JMP[/re]: but if the photo by Santorum’s byline was the concession speech photo with the sobbing kids, that would be awesome.
    Sorry about that. I had a temp appointment in Philly for 2 years and loved the city. Please consume Italian ice while looking at my avatar sometime.

  27. Richard Cohen shall take his rightful place at the top!

    Google “worst writer in America.”

    ‘Digg’ down the post about the SF Chronicle’s Mark Morford being the worst.

    Then, go to “ShareThis” above and ‘digg’ this article up.

    Morford is really bad in the creepily-transgressive-Burner-on-meth way, but he’s not even the worst writer at the Chronicle. That platitudinous honor goes to its token conservative child of hippie parents, “Cinnamon Stilwell.”

  28. Words fail me. The guy should be beaten with rubber hoses to within an inch of his life, somewhere in a dark hole in a nameless country while his family wonders whether they will ever see him alive again. That he is getting paid to do this, and paid to do this by freakin’ Fred Hiatt, is just beyond credulity.

  29. and the point isn’t that they MAY have gotten something useful from torture. the US America points are:

    1. you get better results with smart interrogation and no torture
    2. we don’t torture.


  30. I just love how he thinks all bloggers subscribe to a single editorial line. He probably envisages some kind of hippy political collective meeting in someone’s bedroom. Once all the columns have been edited and final copies come back from the campus typing service, they are photographed with a TV camera that has been cunningly wired into the phone flex, with solder and blu-tak. Voila! This week’s internet!

  31. I’ve got another great hypothetical for Cohen: What if Pol Pot was right? What if all those uppity Cambodian students, urban dwellers, university educated types, shopkeepers, bureaucrats, technicians and scientists WERE secretly oppressing the Khmer rural citizens and working poor? Well then the gore strewn Khmer Rouge torture chambers and killing fields WORKED! It ended the oppression of the Cambodian underclass by their evil overlords, thereby justifying their methodical dismemberment and wholesale slaughter! Hooray!! Ergo – the ends justified the means, torture & genocide are effective, legitimate tools in the restructuring of a society. The end.

    Ditto Rwanda, Sudan, Serbia etc. If any batshit-crazy sadistic psychopath is RIGHT, then all the batshit-crazy, sadistic psychopathic shit they do is justified! Also, super-bonus points to me for tiptoeing so carefully around Godwins Law…

  32. When he says “those on the political left seem to think that the CIA tortured suspected terrorists just for the hell of it,” I think he’s trying to be sarcastic.
    Doesn’t work.
    That is exactly what I think.

  33. There’s also his laughably short-term calculus. “What if enhanced interrogation stops one terror attack?” Well, yes, what if it does? But then, what if, in stopping that attack through “enhanced drowning simulation ultra DX 64”, our reputation for torturing prisoners becomes common knowledge? Might that inspire, dear Mr. Cohen, a greater number of attacks, thus offsetting the one averted and screwing up your math?

    To say nothing of trying to explain Cohen’s logic to the U.S. soldier who might find his testicles hooked up to a car battery.

  34. [re=315090]maven[/re]: 1. The last name is a dead giveaway. 2. Since I’ve never read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I am forced to conclude that it’s in there.

  35. Strange how Conservatives who kept shouting we were a nation of laws, not men, over lying about a blow job in a deposition in a case that was thrown out on other grounds (and therefor not perjury, as it was not relevant), have no problem ignoring actual laws whenever they want.

    And, even if it worked, that is not an excuse. It is no proof that legal measures would not work, and it still breaks the law. I don’t get to excuse bank robbery because I got money from the bank.

    Let it be a simple rule, only if you have undergone torture by hostile forces can you come out in favor of it.

  36. I think what’s ridiculous about the entire thing is that while we have tons of evidence that torture doesn’t work (hell, even Aristotle writes in the Art of Rhetoric that testimony gained from torture is not credible evidence in a courtroom), we have tons of TV shows and movies in which it TOTALLY DOES. It’s like that recent study that found young doctors in Canada can’t intubate patients correctly because they grew up watching people do it wrong on ER.

  37. [re=315029]assistant/atlas[/re]: It is my conviction that bush/cheney co. based most of their national security program around Faux’s “24”. I do believe they actually thought, (think?) the program is real.

  38. Richard Cohen simply does not care for not caring about Dick Cheney.

    And clownfarts? A mixture with a whiff of normal farts and pancake makeup.

  39. What you said! Why does the grotesquely shaped Cheney parade around talking about how torture works? So what if torture is just fabulously successful? Murdering prisoners’families one by one would probably work even better — why don’t we do that? If the end justifies the means, the sky’s the limit, right?

    Every dog has balls, too and Cheney should stay home and lick his and shut his fat ugly mouth.

  40. It’s no surprise the media has bought into the “is torture effective” meme. It’s a victory for the republicos: the new narrative allows them (and everyone) to ignore the “is torture wrong” question. Of course that question is settled.
    What’s surprising is a Jewish guy, even a jerk like Cohen, would buy into it. He knows the exact same argument has been used against Jews for centuries. Be careful what you wish for Richie; you won’t be thinking about “whether torture works” when the bad guys are dunking you in the water.

  41. that thoughtless, valueless, condescending, sociopathic sexist poster-boy for the vapidity of the Washington Post’s opinion section


    Boyfriend’s a big old homophobe and racist as well, you know.

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