It becomes clearer with every new explosion from Dick Cheney in defense of the Bush torture regime that the former vice president is on a suicide mission. The grotesqueries, lies and obfuscations of the last eight years strapped to his waist, he is determined to visit as much destruction as possible on the Obama administration, as well as his own beleaguered political party, without regard to life or limb.
The former vice president may be crazy, but he is crazy like a fox.
He knows that he is a dead man walking in the eyes of most historians, more reviled than any politician of recent memory and worshiped only by right-wingers and the usual media hacks with no hope of vindicating his own vice presidential legacy. That legacy begins with him, as George Bush’s national security expert, ignoring warning signs of an impending attack on the homeland and goes downhill from there.
So why not shoot the moon by claiming that torture saved countless American lives and was never used as a political tool while knowing full well that aside from any future investigation, lawsuits brought by civil-liberties groups and lawyers for abused detainees that are working their way through the courts will prove him a liar at the very least, and possibly a war criminal. As well as lay bare the reality that he was indeed a self-appointed fourth branch of government who didn’t even let The Decider in on some of the abominations that he ordered.
The chest pains that he is causing the White House is classic Cheney: He understands that by ceaselessly peddling his own distorted view of the torture regime, including what is being touted as a major forthcoming speech, he not only detracts attention from Barack Obama’s ambitious policy agenda but undermines it while roiling the president’s own liberal-leftie base, which is up in arms over his efforts to block the Abu Ghraib photo release, his continuation of Bush-style military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay and refusal to endorse moving forward on holding Bush administration perpetrators accountable.
I wish Cheney no physical harm as he wished on a few genuinely bad people and a whole lot more innocents at Abu Ghraib, CIA black sites and Guantánamo. But I fear that his already weakened heart will explode before he can be hung out to dry by a commission or other investigative body, and like a suicide bomber’s his death will convey on him a sick sort of martyrdom.
The extent and depth of the thuggery and corruption of Bush’s inner circle continues to amaze.
Robert Draper, the former president’s semi-official biographer, writes in GQ magazine that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s determination to protect his Pentagon turf cost lives on the battlefield and the goodwill of the U.S.’s key allies in Iraq and Afghanistan — Britain and Australia.
Draper reports that the monomaniacal Rumsfeld supervised the preparation of a Worldwide Intelligence Update, a highly classified daily digest for the president and select few others that included relentlessly upbeat assessments of the war even as the U.S. mission was unraveling that were headlined by biblical quotations.
Shaun Mullen is a former The Moderate Voice columnist. Over a long career with newspapers, this award-winning editor and reporter covered the Vietnam War, O.J. Simpson trials, Clinton impeachment circus and coming of Osama bin Laden, among many other big stories. He blogs at Kiko’s House.