Thursday, May 21, 2009

On Cheney

Remember him? The power behind the throne for the last eight years, the Darth Vader of American politics? The man many believe was behind all those policies which led to the current situation?

Yeah, that Dick Cheney. He has broken many patterns in his life: refusing to have anyone know what the Vice President's job might be, hiding out of sight for most of his time in that job, getting incredibly low approval percentages from the American people and so on. I always thought that he had a mental thing about Iraq, because even in the after-shock of 911 he refused to focus on anything but Iraq. IraqIraqIraq, get the bastards now! That's how I imagine his dreams went.

Anyway, he is breaking yet another pattern of Vice Presidents: He keeps on criticizing the new administration. Which of course means that he keeps on reminding us about the previous administration. This is not something the Republicans want to happen, of course, because the vast majority of Americans really hated the Bush administration by the end of those long eight years.

Cheney has given a tandem speech with Obama. By that I mean that he gave a speech on the same day as Obama, each directing at least some of the messages to the other speaker. But of course Obama is the president of the United States and Cheney is not. What he is I don't quite know, to be honest. Perhaps he really was the power behind the throne? Who knows.

In any case, now he is the PR officer of the Bush presidency (and of course his own vice-presidency):

In his speech, Cheney repeatedly invoked the horrors of Sept. 11 and made the case that "tough interrogations" and other policies of the Bush administration helped save American lives.

"They were legal, essential, justified, successful and the right thing to do," Cheney said of the interrogation techniques. "They prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people."

In an apparent reference to the Obama administration, Cheney also charged that "people who consistently distort the truth" about the interrogations "are in no position to lecture anyone about 'values.' "

He warned: "To completely rule out enhanced interrogation methods in the future is unwise in the extreme. It is recklessness cloaked in righteousness, and would make the American people less safe."

On the issue of bringing Guantanamo detainees to stand trial on U.S. soil, he said, "You don't want to call them enemy combatants? Fine. Call them what you want -- just don't bring them into the United States."

He asserted, "For all the partisan anger that still lingers, our administration will stand up well in history -- not despite our actions after 9/11, but because of them."

Because of them? I wish he had given some examples. How did they catch the anthrax poisoner(s)? How was Osama bin Laden finally caught? Why on earth did the administration decide to invade Iraq which had nothing to do with 911? Who was on duty when 911 happened? Was the torture really used to try to find an Iraq connection to Al Qaeida, to justify that hasty move from Afghanistan to Iraq?

Sigh. Then there were the costs of all that warfare, the blind eye of the FDA not focused on Chinese medications, pet food and food products, the jobs being globalized overseas, the increasing income inequality in this country, the total lack of bipartisanship, the fundamentalization of several departments of the government and the politicization of all of them. That's what Cheney proudly flaunts.