I sometimes entertain myself by listing things I don’t want written on my tombstone, such as, “There were other people who were worse,” or “Probably did more good than harm.”

Now I add to that the following: “He proved that torture works.” No way would I want something like that carved on my tombstone.

But former Vice President Dick Cheney seems to be actually angling to get that honor carved and embossed with huge gold letters, right on his own mausoleum.

On Fox Cable News’s Sean Hannity program, Cheney made the claim that the waterboarding and other forms of torture that were applied to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other prisoners at “Gitmo” were of extremely great value in protecting this country against terrorist attacks.

It is a characteristic of the bigoted, super-patriotic and blinkered arrogance of people like Cheney that it never occurs to them that people outside the United States are listening in on the things they say. Cheney was speaking on Fox Cable News, and maybe he thought that only American right-wingers hear what is said on the Hannity show. But his words went winging their way around the world in minutes. At the very least, he made new enemies for his country.

So now Cheney has laid down a challenge: He says that, given access to Bush administration records heretofore classified as secret, he can prove that torture works, that it is a useful and even necessary method of protecting states and peoples against external and (why not?) internal threats.

From below we hear muted cheering and applause from the tortured souls of Torquemada, Himmler, Pinochet and a host of other aficionados of waterboarding, eyeball gouging, thumbscrew tightening and the rest. For if waterboarding, “stress positions,” beatings and sleep deprivation, all of which the Bush administration perpetrated, produce results, maybe bloodier and more extreme methods will produce even better results!

From a lot of despots currently in power, we hear chuckling and sighs of relief. The former vice president of the United States of America, a country which under Bush and his predecessors promoted itself as the great judge and arbiter of the morality of other governments and leaders, has found that torture is OK, even necessary to protect the people from terroristic lunatics.

Who knows, they may even get to apply this lesson from Professor Cheney to U.S. citizens at some point!

Thank you, Uncle Dick.

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