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If Torture Stopped In 2004, How Is Obama Endangering Americans By Banning It?

When we spoke to Wilkerson yesterday, he confirmed this point, and went further. He said he was now being told that the beginning of the end for the torture program may even have occurred far earlier. Wilkerson said he believes that a "chain reaction" was set off when Alberto Mora, the Navy general counsel who was investigating detainee abuse, first told William Haynes, the Pentagon's general counsel, that the DOD had, in Mora's view, illegally authorized torture. That occurred in December 2002 -- though of course we know that torture continued into at least 2003 and was practiced on detainees captured during the invasion of Iraq, both at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.

What's the significance of all this? If, as Wilkerson says -- and we know of no evidence that refutes him -- the Bush administration didn't torture during its second term, Dick Cheney's alarmist claim that President Obama is putting Americans in danger by refusing to torture becomes even more nonsensical. After all, the Bush administration, it appears, didn't torture for essentially its latter half. Was it, too, putting Americans in danger during that time -- even though there were no successful attacks on the American mainland in that period?

Not that we necessarily needed further proof of Dick Cheney's dishonesty and moral bankruptcy. But this seems like a point that's worth keeping in mind when the former veep gives his next well-publicized interview.