According to Hardball guest host Ron Reagan, former Vice President Dick Cheney is a "war criminal" for endorsing waterboarding. On Thursday, the son of the former President attacked, "But the fact of the matter is...[Cheney's] a war criminal. Torture is a crime and this is a guy who can't travel to Europe anymore for fear of being- ending up in the Hague."
Reagan was commenting on a new interview Cheney has given to NBC in which he reiterates support for waterboarding. The liberal anchor discussed the subject with Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune. Reagan reiterated, "...Any neutral reading of, say, the U.N. Convention Against Torture makes it pretty clear that if you support waterboarding and you enact that sort of a policy, you're guilty of a war crime."
[See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Page seemed to agree: "I think in real life [Cheney] probably is avoiding trips to Europe, I imagine, like Henry Kissinger and others on the lam from that branch of international justice, if you will." Page added that the ex-VP "probably" hasn't got much to fear, in terms of criminal prosecution.
Reagan also called Cheney a war criminal on CNN in January of 2011.
Reagan has guest-hosted for the very liberal Chris Matthews three times this week. On Wednesday, he derided presidential candidate Rick Santorum as a "lonely, homophobic voice shrieking in the wilderness."
[Thanks to MRC intern Alex Fitzsimmons for the video.]
A transcript of the August 25 exchange can be found below:
JAMIE GANGEL: Should we still be waterboarding terror suspects?
DICK CHENEY: I would strongly support using it again if circumstances arose where we had a high-value detainee and that was the only way we could get him to talk.
GANGEL: Even though so many people condemned it. People call it torture. You think it should still be a tool?
RON REAGAN: You see, Clarence, he never backs off of that sort of thing. I guess, we don't expect him to. But the fact of the matter is, and people know my feelings about this pretty surely, he's a war criminal. Torture is a crime and this is a guy who can't travel to Europe anymore for fear of being- ending up in the Hague. Does he deal with that, do you suppose, in the book?
PAGE: Well, I can't say how he deals with it in the book in detail, just from reports that have come out. I think in real life he probably is avoiding trips to Europe, I imagine, like Henry Kissinger and others on the lam from that branch of international justice, if you will. But, as far as back here in the states, he probably hasn't got much to fear. The Obama administration made it clear they want to move on. They don't want to go back to the Justice Department and go after the Bush administration on legal areas like this. But with a campaign coming along, again, you've got a polarized the electorate. Nothing he set apparently would offend Republicans. It will offend a lot of Democrats. Will it fire them up to wanted to come out and support Obama more? That's the kind of question we're asking now.
REAGAN: Yeah. Not to hammer the point at all, but any neutral reading of say, the U.N. Convention Against Torture makes it pretty clear that if you support waterboarding and you enact that sort of a policy, you're guilty of a war crime.