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Dick Cheney as America’s Wiretap of the Unconscionable

| June 26, 2013

As enduring as Fidel Castro.

As enduring as Fidel Castro.

He is the bacteria that refuses to succumb to antibiotics. He is the ingrown toenail that resists treatment. He is the hemorrhoid that defies Preparation H. Every time I look up, I see someone sticking a microphone or a reporter’s notebook under Dick Cheney’s nose. I have only one question: Why in the name of Dan Quayle does anyone give a damn about what Dick Cheney has to say about anything?

This Cheney-mania reached a nadir of sorts when, discussing the NSA spying revelations, Barack Obama told interviewer Charlie Rose that he is not, in fact, Dick Cheney. This stunning revelation came only days after Cheney had called Obama’s credibility “nonexistent.” Folks, Dick Cheney questioning anyone’s credibility is like OJ Simpson calling someone “shifty”; it’s Charles Manson calling someone “creepy”; it’s Ozzy Osbourne calling someone “weird.”

Dick Cheney’s credibility is so low that branding him a liar would represent a promotion.

Let’s review some recent history. Back in 2000, George W. Bush asked Cheney to conduct the vetting process of prospective vice presidential candidates. Perceiving that his assignment came from a man with no knowledge of the world beyond West Texas, and no inclination to educate himself, Cheney realized he had a golden opportunity to play puppet master with the feckless Bush. So he decided that he himself was the best man for the job.

Bush readily agreed, in spite of the fact that, according to Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, Cheney never bothered to fill out the 83-item questionnaire he required of the other candidates. Oops.

Now, many Obama-haters say they are tired of Bush and Cheney being blamed for the various ills that beset our nation: I mean, can’t we just get over those trillions of dollars spent on an unfunded war waged under false pretenses? Like, let’s move on, ok?

Tell that to the families of the thousands of U.S. servicemen and women killed while invading and occupying a country that represented no threat to us. Tell that to the thousands of wounded who, because of extraordinary battlefield medical treatment, are left to live with horrific disabilities. Tell that to the families of the hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed Iraqis.

To Cheney, the fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq—the ostensible reason we went to war—is simply an inconvenient footnote in his lifetime of service to his country. Service, by the way, that did not include military duty during the Vietnam years. Cheney, it turned out, was simply too busy with other things to put himself in harm’s way.

Along his chosen path, Cheney helped to destroy a good man, Colin Powell, who, always the loyal soldier, publicly asserted his support for the Iraq war, while trying behind the scenes to hammer some sense into Bush, Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Powell’s 2002 performance at the United Nations, in which he made the U.S.’s case for war with bogus intelligence, effectively derailed his career—a career that might have ended with him in the White House. But these are trivial matters to the reprehensible Dick Cheney.

To his credit, Bush has for the most part kept his mouth shut—less out of a sense of decency, probably, than for the simple fact that he has nothing to say. Cheney, on the other hand, can’t help himself, asserting to anyone who will listen that if he had it to do over again, he wouldn’t change a thing. That includes advocating interrogation techniques that place the United States among the tainted nations that practice torture.

Why, you ask, is it necessary to once again flush out the bilge that is Dick Cheney’s legacy to the country he purported to serve? Because, unless we acknowledge the wrongheadedness and hubris and fundamental dishonesty of our past leaders, we will follow leaders of the future down the same path.

With Iraq barely in our rear-view mirror, there are those in Washington who are itching for us to get involved in the Syrian civil war—another conflict in which it’s tough to tell the good guys from the bad.

And our nation is embroiled in a debate over how intrusive our intelligence services should be. The NSA spying program began during the Bush administration, with the support of most of the Congress, and Obama has continued it and, it may turn out, expanded it. We need to decide how much freedom we are willing to yield to our government to protect ourselves in a world in which we have some very dangerous enemies.

In order to make that decision, we have to learn the facts, a process that is taking place during testimony on Capitol Hill. Indeed, the Obama administration may have been forced by leaks to air this laundry in public, but the debate is out in the open—a phenomenon that would never have taken place if Dick Cheney had his way.

On second thought, perhaps we can benefit from Cheney’s bluster. He is not just the ghost of administrations past. He is a living, breathing reminder of just how reckless our leaders can be.

Steve Robinson moved to Flagler County after a 30-year career in New York and Atlanta in print, TV and the Web. Reach him by email here.

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11 Responses for “Dick Cheney as America’s Wiretap of the Unconscionable”

  1. confidential says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    He was sure as hell better than what we have now. Barrack Obama and Joe Biden are the worst in 237 years.

  3. Richard Calderwood says:

    Dick Cheney is a patriot and a smart politician and thats what galls you. You villify someone like him and yet think Obama walks on water. Smarten up. I’d rather see Cheney, Bush, even old Dick Nixon than this socialist coward in the Oval Office. He is a disgrace. And you, Sir, are irrelevant.

  4. Brian Curbow says:

    I could not agree more! Too bad that he was never brought up on charges for war crimes!

  5. Robert says:

    Does everyone forget that it was his assistant who outed the CIA spy.
    Libby may have done it at the behest of Dick Cheney.

    Those acts are the poster child of a traitor.

  6. Pogo says:

    Bacteria, ingrown toenails, and hemorrhoids are owed an apology. Cheney isn’t worthy of comparison with his betters.

  7. MSFB says:

    Great article and spot on! That whole group who caused the murder of our troops and and millions of civilians on nothing more than lies should have been tried as traitors and hung.

  8. A.S.F. says:

    Dick Cheney had a big hand in the “outing” of a CIA agent, in the aiding and abetting of the lies that led to our incursion into Iraq, sanctioned the use of torture as a means of obtaing information which turned out to be questionable at best and downright false at worst–and he’s outraged by the actions of Barack Obama’s administration? Really?? Considering the shambles our country was left in after the tenure of Bush and Cheney, he has a lot of nerve making any criticisms at all in any public forum. Talk about the blind leading the blind…He’s the blind leading the blind and fooling no one (except those who were fools to begin with and are stubbornly content to remain so.)

  9. Kaye Everett says:

    I would gladly trade Mr. Obama for Mr. Cheney any day ot the week…Our president is not only a liar, but anit-American as well….and a big thanks to the liberals in the media who help him out every single day. I am thankful that he cannot have another term in office…I mean imagine how much futher down the slide the American people and our country would be.

    • A.S.F. says:

      …Barack Obama is a liar…really??? And you are saying this in defense of a man whose administration outright lied about WMDs that didn’t exist, causing us to spend millions of dollars and cost thousands of lives (not to count those who came back with terrible mental, physical and emotional wounds.) No big deal, right? At least Cheney’s buddies at Haliburton made out pretty well. What a patriot! And you and your Tea Party buddies have supplied NO proof (or anything approaching it) that Barack Obama is anti-America (except to scream about birth certificates and socialist conspiracies that boggle even the most fertile imagination.) Face it–What you really have against this man is that he is (a) Black and (b) successful. His administration is responsible for puliing our country back from the brink of the financial near-ruin that the previous administration help put us in. If the bank you keep your money is is still functioning and paying you any interest at all, you should be on your knees thanking Barack Obama–not blaming him for crimes that don’t exist except to make you feel better in your own mind.

  10. Ron says:

    Excellent commentary, Mr. Robinson.

    Why Cheney doesn’t just crawl back under that rock from whence he came is beyond me.

    Oh wait… I guess his enormous ego won’t fit.

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