Last October Dick Cheney was interviewed on North Dakota’s WDAY radio station. Iraq was being destroyed in the increase of roadside bombs, and the Republican Party was about the voted out of the House. So what did the interviewer ask him?

“Mr. Vice-President, I know you’re fond of pheasant hunting in South Dakota, but there’s some great bird hunting in North Dakota. Is this going to be the year you come up and do a little bird hunting in North Dakota?”

Cheney: “Well, I don’t know….”

Decisive information. The interviewer did, however, eventually turn the discussion to terrorism and torture in secret prisons, and where to draw the brightline on interrogation practices.

“Would you agree that a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?”

Cheney: “It’s a no-brainer for me.”

The person who for months rejected the title of “vice-president of torture” found himself agreeing on air that the use of waterboarding — the Medieval technique of holding a prisoner underwater to the point of drowning, to try to break his will — was a “no-brainer.”