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Karl Rove Loses It Over Torture Investigation

Reported by Ellen - April 22, 2009 -

Judging from Karl Rove's unhinged reactions on Hannity last night (4/21/09), I can only conclude that he is very, very worried about the possibility of an investigation into torture under the Bush administration. Sure, he couched it in terms of national security. But this is the guy whose fingerprints are all over the outing of an undercover CIA agent. You need more than a shaker of salt to swallow Rove's argument that his meltdown last night was due to concern for the country, not his own derriere or at the least the derrieres of some close friends. In addition to signalling that his Justice Department may investigate Bush administration officials responsible for its torture policy, Obama has tacitly endorsed a bipartisan Congressional commission. On top of that, a lengthy article in the New York Times came out last night detailing the ineptitude of the Bush administration that led to the approval of the tactics in the first place. And how is Sean Hannity handling all that? By doubling down on his Republican rehab efforts. He was so busy with that, he had hardly any time to attack Obama. With video.

Much of the show was taken up with interviews with Dick Cheney and then Rove. You could hardly find two people with more self-interest in a) defending Bush administration tactics and b) discrediting Obama's release of the torture memos but that was never noted in the interviews nor were any of Cheney's or Rove's questionable, self-justifying statements challenged in any way.

Hannity and Cheney went through the motions of trying to make the discussion about Obama but somehow Cheney always kept veering off into a justification of the Bush administration's policies.

For example, in Part 2 of the interview, Hannity took his usual tack of painting Obama as endangering the United States, this time for changing the terminology for the “war on terror.” “How dangerous is that?” Hannity asked. “He just doesn't have the courage to say it's a war on terror?”

Cheney said Hannity had “hit on a key point.” But instead of attacking Obama, he began a long monologue justifying Bush administration actions post 9/11, including an indirect defense of the war in Iraq, military action against “not only terrorists but those who sponsor terror and provide sanctuary and safe harbor for them.” Funny how he didn't mention WMD's. He also bragged about the “terror surveillance program” and the “robust interrogation program on detainees.”

Cheney later took another swipe by saying that Obama had sent a signal to the world that “Our most important obligation/responsibility is to read their rights to the people we capture.” Obama has said nothing of the sort but predictably, Hannity didn't challenge the assertion.

But then Cheney again drifted back into defending his policies. “I spent so many mornings... going over the briefings, looking at Al Qaeda, looking at what their plans were, knowing that they were seeking nuclear weapons, knowing that the next deadly attack could well be Al Qaeda in the middle of one of our own cities, not with airline tickets and box cutters but with a nuclear weapon or a biological agent. The threat is there. It's very real and it's continuing. And what the Obama people are doing in effect is saying well we don't need those tough policies that we had. That says either they didn't work, which we know is not the case... or that now somehow the threat's gone away... we don't have to be as tough and aggressive as the Bush administration was... I think that's a misreading of the circumstances we find ourselves in.”

Rove, on the other hand, was more combative.

“Torture doesn't conflict with my Christian values" Hannity began pontificating that along with the memos, the Obama administration should also release documents on the “effectiveness” of the techiques.

Rove claimed that the torture techniques averted an attack on Los Angeles. Then, he moved in for the kill – cloaked in unselfish concern for the country. “What the Obama administration has done in the last several days is very dangerous,” Rove said. But then he got so caught up in attacking Obama and his policies, that Rove lost sight of how Obama's endangering the country. “What they've essentially said is if we have policy disagreements with our predecessors... we're going to turn ourselves into the moral equivalent of a Latin American country run by colonels in mirrored sunglasses and what we're gonna do is prosecute systematically the previous administration, or threaten prosecutions against the previous administration, based on policy differences. Is that what we've come to in this country?”

Of course, any prosecutions by the Obama administration will be based on violation of laws, not policy differences, a fact that Hannity conveniently ignored.

Rove went on a bit comparing Obama to a Latin America dictator, then added, “It may be the way that they do things in Chicago, but that's not the way we do things here in America.” Right, Karl. Here in America, we out undercover agents whose husbands endanger our desire to go to war and we smear our political opponents with whispering campaigns. God forbid we should investigate and possibly prosecute officials who may have broken laws.

Rove was so charged up, Hannity had no opportunity to say “socialist” or “appeaser.” Instead, he rued that so many Bush administration officials would have to “lawyer themselves up.” He didn't mention that Rove might well be one of them.

“Do you agree this helps our enemies?” Hannity asked.

Certainly, Rove did. And he was off on another tear. “The enemy can now go to a jihadist and say, 'You don't need to worry about the Americans. ...If you ever get caught, don't worry, you'll get nice pastries and good, clean coffee and a nice place to stay until they spring you.'”

But before Hannity could say “radical associations,” Rove was back to lamenting being threatened with investigations and indictments “all over a policy disagreement.”

In the most laughable moment, Rove put himself forth as a CIA-worker's champion. “You don't think these people at the CIA and other intelligence agencies are nervous and worried about how they might be at risk over the last couple of years? ...People are going to be pulling in and not doing the most that they can do to keep America safe.” He didn't offer any grounds for coming to such a conclusion. Nobody mentioned that Obama has explicitly said that the only people who might be prosecuted were “those who formulated those legal decisions,” not those who merely carried them out.

Finally, Hannity had a chance to play the “Obama hates America” card with Rove. “Let's just look at the last couple of weeks here, starting with The Apology Tour. Starting with 'America is arrogant,' not extolling America's virtues...” Offering up his own affection for America, Hannity went on and on with his anti-Obama harangue.

Rove took the bait. “You call it 'an Apology Tour.' I like to call it The International Confession tour.” He claimed that Obama is going abroad to confess our sins. “We're weaker!” Rove said. His “proof?” A contention that if one of our allies gets into a confrontation with Russia, Obama will say, “maybe I need to hug the Russians closer.”

The music had started, signalling the end of the discussion, but Rove continued for another full minute, this time babbling something incomprehensible about Latin America and Chavez. “If you don't think those images of Chavez and Obama are being played around the region and being spun in a way that's advantageous to Chavez, we are kidding ourselves. And why are we doing this? It's because this president believes that his personal popularity is somehow going to change the world... He is underestimating our enemies and overestimating his personal popularity and his charm.”

“In 90 short days, he's changed this country and he's put us on a weaker footing,” Hannity said, finally ending the segment.

He never did get to say “socialist” or “appeaser.”