As Robert Sheer observes in this article of his,
Whatever one thinks of George W. Bush--do you see a smile or a smirk?--it is now patently obvious that the most powerful vice president in US history is in charge of the White House. Cheney's ultra-secretive, anti-democratic and crony-capitalist instincts have defined this Administration.I think this assessment is not entirely groundless. After all, Bush openly admits to listening to his advisers for words of wisdom,- as he admits to mostly forgoing reading the news himself. The incurious President is likely to a large extent dependent upon the opinions of his second-in-command.
Perhaps we should have expected all this from a man who, as head of the Bush vice presidential search team, selected himself. It was a forewarning of the Machiavellian arrogance that has made him the leading individual in an Administration that has consistently believed that self-serving ends--such as helping Enron at the expense of California's energy needs or boosting Halliburton's profits at the expense of American troops--justify lying, secrecy and pre-emptive war.
In the hours after the 9/11 massacres, some Americans may have been reassured to have the older Cheney around at a time when the "real" President was confusedly sitting in a classroom listening to a story about a pet goat. However, in hindsight, this was clearly misguided faith in a man who presents himself as a stern father figure but is just an irresponsible ideologue whose disrespect and disregard for the US Constitution are manifest in all his actions.
It was the Vice President who served as the power behind a tiny group of fringe right-wing lawyers that secretly created a system of unaccountable White House-controlled military tribunals. Despite indelibly staining America's reputation as a leader in democratic principles and endangering the lives of American prisoners of war in current and future conflicts, these proceedings have proved totally useless in the war on terror, with zero terror convictions to date.
Never mind: After the tribunals decree was signed by Bush, Cheney was off leading a new misguided crusade, deploying a slew of manipulated and misrepresented intelligence factoids, clever innuendoes and outright lies to fool Congress and the public into supporting the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
There are, all in all, few things that bother me more than the notion of a nation going to war just because a small group of people happens to think that this is "the thing to do",- on top of that, knowing that they are going to personally benefit from that "thing". We are the nation "by the people" and "for the people",- and this sort of thing simply does not stand.
Vice President Cheney certainly believes that persistence is key to making his views believed.
As recently as June and contrary to the 9/11 commission's final report, to give but one of many examples, Cheney was still insisting that lead hijacker Mohamed Atta had a meeting in Prague with a high-ranking Iraqi intelligence agent before the 9/11 attacks. This is an unconscionable and obviously knowing use of the Big Lie technique, given that the CIA and FBI repudiated that baseless yet titillating claim in 2002.Well, I suppose Mr Cheney is entitled to his views. And if reality gets in his way, he has a right to disregard it. However, we the people are free to go to the polls and express our will, too.
Here is how Scheer concludes his article on Cheney:
Next Tuesday, voters should retire this malevolent force.What can I say? Let us try and make it happen!