The Washington Post has this fascinating piece about what has happened to Harry Whittington, the man then Vice Dick Cheney shot in the face in a hunting accident in 2006 — leaving Whittington with scars, a somewhat changed voice, and a huge relief that he no longer has to listen to late night comedians using Cheney shooting him as a punch line.
What’s most glaring about the Post piece are the facts that (1) despite what we were told at the time, Whittington was not a Cheney best bud who had known the Veep for years (2) Whittington’s injuries were far worse than originally disclosed and, most importantly (3) it appears Cheney never apologized to the man he shot in the face.
So let’s repeat that line again: it appears Cheney never apologized to the man he shot in the face.
The shooting didn’t bring Cheney and Whittington any closer. Although Whittington says they’ve exchanged birthday greetings, they haven’t seen each other for two years. The last time they met was when they attended the funeral of Anne Armstrong, the ranch owner whose invitation drew the two men together.
Despite his scars, Whittington bears no ill will toward Cheney. He calls him “a very capable and honorable man” and adds, “He’s said some very kind things to me.”
But did Cheney ever say in private what he didn’t say in public? Did he ever apologize?
Whittington, who has been talking about his life and career for hours, suddenly draws silent.
“I’m not going to go into that,” he says sharply after a short pause.
Harry Whittington is too gracious to say it out loud, but he doesn’t dispute the notion, either.
Nearly five years on, he’s still waiting for Dick Cheney to say he’s sorry.
But is this a total surprise? Barack Obama had hardly placed his fanny on the Oval Office chair before Cheney was blasting him on terrorism and other matters. Cheney has never expressed any regrets about some of the policies he helped sculpt that turned out to be disastrous for America, or didn’t work out as planned, or may have gone over the line in terms of what other administrations did. Expressing regret — even to someone who he shot in the face — may not be in the Cheney vocabulary.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.