1 September 2011
Behold this unctuous knave, a disgrace to his nation as few before him, yet boasting unvarnished virtue.
The deceit of Dick Cheney is indeed of
Shakespearean proportions, as evidenced in his new memoir. For the
former vice president, lying comes so easily that one must assume he takes
the pursuit of truth to be nothing more than a reckless indulgence.
Pakistan joined with only two other nations,
...in granting diplomatic recognition to the Talibani government that provided a safe haven for al-Qaeda as bin Laden orchestrated the 9/11 attack.
But instead of focusing on the source of the
problem, Cheney led the effort to overthrow
Saddam Hussein, who had
ruthlessly hounded any al-Qaeda operatives who dared function in Iraq.
He recalls his college years in the 1960s, when
he was a draft-deferred young Republican during America's murderous
adventure in Vietnam - in which more than 3 million Indochinese and 59,000
Americans were killed - as a time of career advancement through strategic
...is regretted in Cheney's memoir only for the reactive violence that he attributes to anti-war student protesters.
We are told, in a reminiscence of his days as a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, that,
That same May, young Cheney's Republican contacts in Washington would pay off, when he secured an appointment in the Nixon administration working for none other than Donald Rumsfeld.
Cheney recalls that he didn't know he was,
Those 40 years, interrupted by a lucrative stint at defense contractor Halliburton, saw Cheney rise to become secretary of defense and later vice president, presiding over wars that put him in considerable conflict with Colin Powell.
It is Powell - who was experiencing the reality
of war in Vietnam at the time Cheney was winning bureaucratic battles in
Washington - who is scorned in Cheney's memoir as the hopeless dove.
But despite Powell's woefully misplaced sense of loyalty to President George W. Bush, Cheney is merciless in condemning the general for allegedly undermining the administration.
Powell has fired back at what he termed Cheney's "cheap shots" and reminds us that,
It's not clear that Cheney is a true believer in military mayhem as much as he is an uncontrollable careerist who finds war talk a convenient tool for advancement.
He seems to have no real sense of the cost of the Iraq War beyond what it might have done to hurt his own legacy.
If his memoir has any enduring value, it is not
as another offering of hollow excuses for an unjustifiable war but rather as
a study in what the famed historian of European fascism, Hannah Arendt,
termed the "banality of evil."