So... Dick Cheney's got a book coming out, apparently. Once we accept that, it becomes unsurprising that much of said book is dedicated to justifying his actions within the Bush administration. Dahlia Lithwick, here (and, off-topic, I must note that "Dahlia" is both a lovely and an under-utilized name), suggests some of the dangers that those justifications pose.
It's currently fashionable to believe that political and ideological battles are "real," and it is the law that is empty symbolism. But Cheney stands as an illustration of the real-life, practical value of the law. Torture really did become legal after 9/11, and even after it was repudiated—again and again—it will always be legal with regard to Dick Cheney and the others who perpetrated it without consequence. The law wasn't a hollow symbol after 9/11. It was the only fixed system we had. We can go on pretending that torture is no longer permissible in this country or under international law, but until there are legal consequences for those who order or engage in torture, we will only be pretending. Cheney is the beneficiary of that artifice.
That paragraph is kind of the heart of the article, but the entire thing (it's a quick read, not more than a couple of minutes) is worth a readthrough.