In another example of Barack Obama’s Midas touch, it appears that an auspicious confluence of events may help him out of several jams at once. Although not yet official, a leaked report from The White House suggests a neat solution to the apparently disparate problems of torture, Dick Cheney and the financial crisis.
Saddled with these different problems by the Bush administration, Obama has found himself treading a fine line on these issues. Should he condemn torture outright and, if so, prosecute those who ordered and engaged in it? At the same time, what is he to do with those financial executives who brought down the economy with their selfish and irresponsible behavior? And finally, what the heck should he do with Dick Cheney?
The report proposes a simple answer to all these questions, namely redefine torture and don’t close the prison at Guantanamo Bay quite yet. A senior White House official agreed to comment off the record.
"As far as I understand it," said the anonymous source. "We’re going to restate our position that we in America don’t torture, at least when it comes to foreign combatants. We will, however, make limited exceptions for those who previously authorized torture and those who have screwed with our economy."
In furtherance of this goal, the Administration plans to keep the Guantanamo facility open just a little longer in order to accommodate two new classes of detainee, namely financial wrongdoers and Dick Cheney. As part of the ongoing attempts to right the economy, torture will be permitted insofar as it is necessary to determine how to unravel toxic assets and to get guys like Bernie Madoff to say ‘I’m sorry.’
As for Dick Cheney, no special regulations will be required as Mr. Cheney has consistently agreed that waterboarding and the like do not constitute torture. Thus, he should have no objection to various intensive interrogation techniques. These will not be employed for any information gathering purposes but simply for the enjoyment of the American public.
"We see this as a win-win-win situation," said the White House source. "We don’t have to mothball Guantanamo, we can finally understand how mortgage derivatives work and we get to hear Dick Cheney scream."
As a final cherry on the bureaucratic cake, the as-yet-unreleased report suggests another possible advantage to the nascent proposal. If the Administration can soon officially restore relations with Cuba, once Guantanamo has served its purpose, it can be returned to the Cuban government complete with its new prisoners.
No word yet on whether American auto executives and former U. S. presidents will be packing their bags soon for an unexpected Caribbean vacation.