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between Church and State." Who coined the Phrase? Give up? Answer:
Thomas Jefferson - one of the founding fathers of this geat Nation and a creator of
the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment to that same Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, in 1802, wrote a Letter to the Dansbury Baptist
Convention, referring to the First Amendment to the US Constitution. In it he said:
"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his
God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative
powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign
reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature
should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free
exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
Richard Bruce Cheney (born January 30, 1941) is a former United States Congressman, Secretary of Defense, the 46th Vice President of the United States. He also served as White House Chief of Staff, and in the private sector was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton Energy Services. Every decision he has ever made has been wrong.
Early life and family
Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Richard Herbert Cheney and Marjorie Dickey (sic). His family later moved to Wyoming. In 1959, he matriculated to Yale University, where it was thought to be impossible to flunk out. After flunking out, Cheney returned to Wyoming in 1960. He ended up graduating from the University of Wyoming at the age of twenty-four, the perfect age for a young black man to serve his country in the army.
In 1964, Cheney married Lynne Vincent, his high school sweetheart. Mrs. Cheney would go on to become an accomplished dick in her own right, serving as the Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a writer of filthy pulp novels about lesbian sex and rape. The Cheneys have two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary, also dicks. Mary Cheney is an attractive though somewhat tomboy-ish femme lesbian. Her partner, Heather Poe, looks a bit like Dad. Mary Cheney and Heather Poe have one child.
Cheney and the draft
Cheney is sub-species of dick known as the
"Chicken Hawk,” which is a person who publicly supports a war but is too much of a pussy to fight in it himself. There is a scene in the movie "Office Space" when one of the characters, Michael Bolton, is sitting in his fancy car listening to hardcore gangsta rap, and then the black guy pulls up next to him, and he rolls the window up. A chickenhawk is this sort of person.
In 1963, with the draft board ramping up, Cheney enrolled in Casper Community College (one of the finest institutions of higher-learning in Southwest Casper), and received his first student deferment. Later that year, he got his second student deferment. In August of 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, escalating American military involvement. Twenty-two days later, Dick married his wife, and a few months later received his third deferment. In July, 1965, President Johnson announced he would double the number of draftees. Cheney moved quickly, entered graduate school that year, and received his fourth student deferment. This was quite a sacrifice, as grad school is known to be extremely boring. Cheney received a “hardship exemption" in 1966 when he and his wife conceived their first child. By the next year, he was no longer eligible for the draft. It had been a long process, but Cheney learned a valuable lesson: if you get in a jam, you can usually get out of it by
having sex with somebody.
Cheney’s career is notable for having taken place almost entirely within a "bubble." He began his career as in intern for Richard Nixon and was campaign manager in 1976 for Gerald Ford -- a campaign that managed to lose a governor of Georgia. Dick was then elected to the House, where he served until 1989. Part of this service included voting against making the birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. a holiday, voting against calling on South Africa to release Nelson Mandela, and voting against the creation of the Department of Education -- the kind of congressman that would be produced if George Wallace and Barry Goldwater had a child who inherited the worst of each and then grew up to be a congressman and also lost his hair.
In 1989 Cheney became Secretary of Defense for President George H.W. Bush. In defending the decision not to take Baghdad and topple Saddam Hussein at the time, he said:
“I don't think you could have done all of that without significant additional U.S. casualties...And the question in my mind is, how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is, not that damned many.”
In 1995, Cheney decided he’d given enough to his country and thought it was about time to do something for himself. For the next five years, he served as CEO of Halliburton, one of the top companies in the world for anyone looking for military equipment and willing to pay three to five times above retail.
In the spring of 2000, Cheney was put in charge of George W. Bush’s Vice Presidential search committee. Like all great romantic comedies, the dick Bush was looking for to fill out the ticket turned out to be right under his nose all along. If Bush was going to be the worst President in United States history, he would need a partner ready to step in and carry on that tradition if something should happen to him.
Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, Cheney was kept out of the public eye in an undisclosed location, partly for security reasons and partly because it was thought that America had been through enough already. Some (Lynn Cheney) have been quoted as saying that Cheney has a charming side. This was on display in June of 2004 when, while walking by Senator Patrick Leahy in the Capital, he said “go fuck yourself.”
Cheney is also known as the world’s biggest supporter of the Iraq War. And it is certainly true that the consistency of his acumen and judgment about the war have been unequaled. Most famously, on May 31, 2005, he claimed that the insurgency in Iraq was “in it’s last throes.” Roughly 2000 U.S. troops have been killed since then.
In 2006, Cheney shot his 78-year-old friend in the face while quail hunting -- a practice some call "an accident" and others call "good clean fun." The firearm used was a “Perazzi” shotgun, an expensive model from Italy considered “gay” by many in the shotgun community. Cheney's friend, Harry Whittington suffered a minor heart-attack, though he survived. Cheney announced that he “accepted full responsibility,” which meant announcing that he “accepted full responsibility.”
On October 28, 2005, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Dick’s Chief of Staff, was indicted for obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame investigation. After being sentenced to 30 months in prison, in July of 2007, President Bush commuted Lewis “Scooter” Libby's sentence. It is commonly assumed Cheney was behind this decision. The move outraged many, including, no doubt, several inmates who were probably looking forward to getting know a nice, fit, well-kept new inmate who hadn’t let his body go.
With the really fun part of war in Iraq winding down, in May 2007 Cheney gave a speech warning Iran about its nuclear program. Many took this to be setting the stage for a war with Iran, this one even possibly involving nuclear weapons. This alarmed many people, even those in the dick community. One theory about why Cheney would care so little about nuclear war and the casualties it would cause is because, in fact, Cheney actually died several years ago, and is just too big of a
ass to leave, instead simply willing his body to carry on through sheer
While generally former Presidents and Vice-Presidents have nobly decided to step back from the public eye, particularly when it comes to being critical of the next administration, Dick Cheney has little history of being even moderately scrupulous, much less noble.
As of summer 2009, Cheney has become Matthew McConaughey's character from Dazed and Confused who still hangs around his high school because none of his actual peers want to hang out with him. That is, minus the good looks, hair, and general mobility.
Regularly, Cheney spoke out in press conferences refuting President Obama's policies on torture and national security, going so far as to criticize the Iraqi troop withdrawal that occurred at the precise time his own previous administration had planned.
In many countries, when an elderly person has completely lost parts of their memory, constantly needs attention to survive, and accidentally shoots someone, they are committed to some kind of assisted living facility. In the United States, they are given more cable news airtime.
As of March 2009, Cheney's approval ratings were at 30% approval and 63% disapproval. Currently, Cheney is no longer employed by the Government or engaged in any policymaking, meaning that over 60% of Americans actually disapprove of his job of doing nothing.
On MSNBC, Rep. Alan Grayson
(D-Florida) posited that Cheney's criticisms are just a
scheme to boost book sales for his upcoming book release and
"You know, honestly I think he's
just trying to prime his book tour, his upcoming book tour,"
said Grayson. "He got $2 million to write about his
memories, and he's trying to stay in the public eye in order
to push sales for his book. That's what I think."
"I'm wondering, though, who's
doing the introduction to his book? Is it Mephistopheles? I
don't know -- maybe it's Satan." Grayson has previously
wondered if the former vice president was a
Later in the evening, on "Larry
King Live," Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) offered a more reserved,
but still damning critique.
"He's in your party," King
asked, "what about Dick Cheney's complaints?"
Paul smiled uncomfortably.
"Well, I think he had his eight years and he caused a lot of
trouble for our country, and he perpetuated a war in Iraq
that was unnecessary and wrong headed. So I would say it
would be best he not be so critical right now."
WATCH Arianna on Coundown:
"Dick Cheney is absolutely shameless"
Excerpts from a interview of
Jane Mayer by Keith Olbermann from Crooks and Liars By dday Tuesday Aug 25, 2009 6:00pm
Keith Olbermann talks with Jane Mayer in this clip about
the release of the CIA IG report and the preliminary investigation into some of the worst
practices of the torture regime. She talks about how the IG report reads like "a
crime scene," foregrounding the idea that the architects of the policy at CIA were
warned in this 2004 report and repeatedly thereafter that their agency would be in deep
legal trouble for continuing these actions, and yet they kept justifying them and/or
actually engaging in them for years afterward. Nobody took the warnings seriously, knowing
both the makeup of the Justice Department and the Presidency at that time, and perhaps
banking on how Washington would view these efforts, as part of the past and best kept
their, given the Establishment culpability for torture.
Here's just a few of the facts of what CIA interrogators
did in our name, just the ones that come from this IG report, as masterfully summarized by
Threats of execution, using semi-automatic
handguns and power drills
Threats to kill detainee and his children
Threats to rape detainee's wife and children in
front of him
Restricting the detainee's carotid artery
Hitting detainee with the butt end of a rifle
Blowing smoke in detainee's face for five minutes
Hanging detainee by their arms until interrogators
thought their shoulders might be dislocated
stepping on detainee's ankle shackles to cause
severe bruising and pain
choking detainee until they pass out
dousing detainee with water on cold concrete
floors in cold temperatures to induce hypothermia
killing detainees through torture techniques,
whether accidental or not
putting detainee in a diaper for days at a time to
live in their own filth
On that last point, Digby notes that this could have been used in tandem with another
technique we know about, the use of forced enemas, a particularly degrading technique, part and
parcel of the humiliations heaped on prisoners that were psycho-sexual in nature. A lot of
these stem from misreadings of books like Raphael Patai's "The Arab Mind," which presumed a
host of dubious generalizations about Muslims and their predispositions, all of it
willingly lapped up by neoconservatives willing to believe that their opponents were
somehow subhuman. As if anyone would react favorably to being made to live in their own
shit. These stereotypical projections that manifested themselves in essentially an
allowance for torturing brown-skinned people have dangerous and deadly repercussions.
But whatever Patai's intentions, the kind of thinking he
engaged in does have real-world consequences, ones that reverberate far beyond the walls
of Abu Ghraib. In their recent book "Occidentalism" (Penguin), Ian Buruma and
Avishai Margalit argue that a reciprocal negative stereotype of the West has arisen in the
Arab world, one that holds that the West is licentious, amoral, overly sexualized,
aggressive, and engaged in a crusade against Islam. Buruma and Margalit trace this
stereotype back to thinkers of the Western counter-Enlightenment, but events like the
abuse at Abu Ghraib, in which soldiers reportedly not only raped prisoners but forced them
to eat pork and drink alcohol, suggest that an Occidentalist worldview has sources much
closer at hand, in the actual experience of domination.
In the wake of the Iraq war, mutually reinforcing
Occidentalist and Orientalist stereotypes have contributed immeasurably to the fear and
apprehension that divides Islam and the West. It should be observed that the human rights
violations that took place in Abu Ghraib would have been no less horrific had they taken
place in Madison, Wis. But the explosiveness of the situation makes them far more
dangerous as we enter an era where each side defines the other only by its worst excesses.
Rather than plumbing some mythical "Arab mind," we should affirm the shared
humanity that transcends our differences and binds us all together.
Because of the reliance on stereotypes, the lack of
factual information and the pressure from the top to come up with any information in the
early post-9/11 period, this all led to "unauthorized, improvised, inhumane and undocumented"
being used repeatedly and in violation of multiple federal laws and international
conventions. None of them made Americans safer, in fact many of them probably made the
country less safe, and all of them were decidedly illegal, debasing and severely damaging
to our moral capability. We have made a mockery of the presumption that in America, the law is king. Now a generation of
torture-loving conservatives believe that the ends justify any means, up to and including
They don't. And as soon as you begin to have an argument
over torture's effectiveness, the argument is immediately lost. But it's worth noting that
Dick Cheney, the Great Dissembler, claimed for months that documents would show the how
torture worked in saving lives, and yet, while those documents were released along with
the IG report, as Mayer says none of the information contained in them prove Cheney's
OLBERMANN: What about Mr.
Cheney's assessment that there would be documents that prove
that torture worked where traditional and legal interrogation did not or would not. Is
there anything in those documents that were released today that supports that contention?
MAYER: Well, the documents that I've seen, and maybe I'm
missing something, but so far, I am amazed at how little support there is for the things
that Vice President Cheney has been saying. There is nothing but a mass of claims that
they got information from this individual and that individual, many from KSM, who
apparently has been the greatest fount of information for them, but there's absolutely
nothing saying that they had to beat them to get this information. In fact, as anybody
knows who knows anything about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he was dying to tell the world,
when he was interviewed by Al Jazeera before he was in US custody, about everything he
knew and everything he did. He was proud of his role as the mastermind of 9/11. He loves
to talk about it. So there's no evidence that I see in this that these things were
necessary. I spoke to someone at the CIA who was an advisor to them who conceded to me
that "We could have gotten the same information from tea and crumpets."
OLBERMANN: Or buying a copy of the Al Jazeera interview.
The Cheney documents were deliberately created at the time to rebut both this CIA
Inspector General report recommending prosecutions, and the heat put on by Congress about
allegations of torture. They were actually conceived to deceive people into believing that
torture works, an irrelevant point at best. And yet these same memos do not support Cheney's claims. They say that certain
individuals gave up information, but only after questioned through traditional means, which was
happening contemporaneously to the torture. It is impossible to say definitively,
therefore, which information came as a result of what techniques.
And yet, not only has traditional media largely
ignored the fact that the documents do not support Cheney's claims (which were given
tons of media attention previously), but an extremely carefully worded statement by Cheney, stating that
"The documents released Monday clearly demonstrate that the individuals subjected to
Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al
Qaeda" - which says nothing of WHAT techniques caused this intelligence to be gleaned
- has been taken completely at face value by reporters, in particular CNN, which ran Cheney's comments as facts:
Cheney says documents show interrogations prevented
Former Vice President Dick Cheney says documents released
Monday support his view that harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects
prevented attacks and yielded crucial information about al Qaeda.
A simple read of the documents shows this to be completely untrue. Jane Mayer, as expert a journalist on this
subject as anyone, calls them unsupportable. But too many reporters just write down these
things and run with them, the facts be damned. It's part of a disturbing pattern, as Digby
If you have followed the torture revelations over the
years, you can't help but be just a tad disillusioned by the fact that the mainstream
media acts over and over again as if they were born yesterday and each time these stories
are validated it's as if it's the first time they've heard it.
We already know they tortured. We know that DOJ
bureaucrats illegally approved the torture on Dick Cheney's request and we know that a
bunch of unprofessional, untrained interrogators complied and then went beyond even what
was approved. We know that innocent people were tortured and we know that prisoners were
killed. We've known all this for a long time. The question is not what happened, it's
whether anyone will be held accountable for it.
On that point, here's Jane Mayer talking about the Durham
investigation, actually hopeful about what it may find:
MAYER: Well, my guess is that if they actually open some
kind of serious investigation, and Durham is said to be a very serious prosecutor, that
even if they start at the very bottom, it's going to keep leading up and up through the
chain of command. Because, if nothing else, if they actually bring charges against anybody
at the CIA who was at the bottom of the food chain, the first thing that person's going to
do is say "I was authorized, let me tell you what my orders were." So they've
begun a process that could lead to the top.
OLBERMANN: Well, if it works along the Archibald Cox
lines, as I analogized last week, where they've supposedly circumscribed it, but people
want to get out from the scapegoat for the whole operation, then I think your assessment
We know that none of the torture here happened by
happenstance, but through a directed policy emanating from the top. Instead of prosecuting
"bad apples" who were young MPs on the night shift in Baghdad, we're talking
about mid-level career CIA. They aren't dupes, and they know how to shift the attention up
the chain of command. I don't think these interrogators will live with being the
scapegoats. It may take some time, but we really could see some legitimate accountability
here. And I hope so - because otherwise this will remain a black mark that can never wash
Excerpted from an article by Gareth Porter at
huffingtonpost.com on November 9, 2007
Dick Cheney has been trying to pressure intelligence analysts who
have not drunk the neocon kool-aid on Iran to go along with his line on the issues at
stake in a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that the White House has been holding up
for more than a year. Think
Progress immediately noted the parallel between the Cheney's effort to get an Iran NIE
that is more to his liking and the way he pushed intelligence analysts to accept the
fabrications the neocons were pushing in on Iraq in 2002.
The similarities between Cheney's efforts to cook the intelligence on Iraq and on Iran are
worth noting, but so are the differences. Cheney may have had a bigger impact in shaping
the intelligence estimate on Iran to fit the policy he is pursuing than was the case on
Iraq in 2002.
The Washington Post reported in June 2003 that
Cheney and his chief of staff Scooter Libby had visited
CIA analysts several times in 2002 to get them to reexamine their skeptical analysis
on the WMD issue. But equally important, the Post quoted a "senior agency
official" as saying that speeches by Cheney in August 2002 charging Saddam with
having a nuclear weapons program "sent signals, intended or otherwise, that a certain
output was desired from here."
The effect was achieved despite the fact that the October
2002 NIE on Iraqi WMD was done very quickly, because it had been forced on the White House
in September by the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Bob
Graham. The White House had only just begun to roll out its propaganda campaign on the
fictive Iraqi nuclear weapons program at that point.
Now flash forward to autumn 2006. Cheney had a draft NIE
on Iraq that he didn't like. The intelligence community had already issued an NIE on Iran
in spring 2005 that had concluded Iran's nuclear program would not progress to the point
of having the capability to produce a nuclear weapon until sometime between 2010 and 2015.
The new draft Iran estimate was still reportedly offering a similar analysis. Cheney
wanted it to endorse the neocons' alarmist view that Iran could acquire the knowledge with
which to make nuclear weapons much sooner than that.
Furthermore, Cheney needed an NIE that would support the
policy of attacking Iran over its alleged role in Iraq and seizing supposed Iranian
"Quds force" personnel there. He wanted it to endorse the charge that Iran is
supplying armor-piercing weapons to Shiites in Iraq who were killing American troops. But
the draft NIE didn't do that, according to former CIA analyst Philip Giraldi.
So part of Cheney's strategy was to keep sending the
draft back for further work while he was creating a new political atmosphere on Iran's
role in Iraq. He began in early 2007 to use the U.S. military command in Iraq to wage an
intensive propaganda campaign on how the Iranians were supplying EFPs to anti-U.S. Shiite
guerrillas through the Quds force. Ignoring intelligence available
to the military that EFPs were being manufactured in machine shops in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus
and his subordinates formulated a new narrative that would dominate media coverage and
political discourse on the issue of Iran and Iraq.
That Iranian EFP narrative has now been repeated without
any alternative view being reflected in the media for ten months. The complete dominance
of that narrative in the society for so long has certainly had its effect on the NIE
process. As a former CIA intelligence officer told me, "Look, most of the
intelligence analysts are young guys with less than ten years of experience. A lot of them
are willing to give the administration line on Iran the benefit of the doubt."
My sources suggest that the analysts ready to go along
with the new narrative are now the majority. Nevertheless, some intelligence analysts on
Iran are reportedly still refusing to say that there is concrete evidence to support the
official line that the Iranian regime is exporting EFPs to Iraq. They are insisting on
including their dissenting views on the issue in the NIE.
That is why the new Director of National Intelligence,
Mike McConnell, under orders from Cheney, has refused to circulate the NIE until all
dissenting views on the issue have been removed.
There has been no comparable administration propaganda
campaign over Iran's nuclear program, so Cheney's tactics were more direct. Last April the
chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Thomas Fingar, who presides over the NIEs,
was made to go on
National Public Radio and declare that the intelligence community was reevaluating
whether its judgment on how soon Iran might produce a nuclear weapon needed to be revised.
Fingar said the estimate "might change" and vowed that the analysts were
"serious about reexamining old evidence". He even revealed the fact that the NIE
on Iran was being delayed because of the reexamination.
Although he didn't say so explicitly, Fingar's statement
left little doubt that the White House had forced the reexamination of the analysts'
judgment on the Iranian nuclear program by holding the NIE hostage. How successful that
hardball tactic has been in getting language more acceptable to Cheney is still not known,
but there were still differences of view on the issue in the draft NIE as of last month,
according to my sources.
These approaches to cooking the intelligence on Iran are
even more nefarious than Cheney's direct approach on Iraq in 2002. They will certainly
give Cheney language supporting his belligerent policy that he can leak to the press and
use to keep Congress in line. Hopefully responsible officials with access to whatever
dissenting views remain will leak those to anti-war Democrats, along with more details
about how Cheney has manipulated the process.
Vice President Dick Cheney is a staunch defender of the
U.S. invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, but a 1994 video has now surfaced showing
he opposed that very move after the liberation of Kuwait, saying it would land America in
In an April 15, 1994 interview apparently with the
American Enterprise Institute recently posted on YouTube [Editors Note: Watch YouTube
video here] Cheney said he did not think U.S. or U.N. forces should have moved
into Baghdad in 1991, explaining:
"Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been
all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S.
occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait
were willing to invade Iraq.
"Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down
Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place?
"That's a very volatile part of the world, and if
you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces
of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it -
eastern Iraq - the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years.
"In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds
spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity
"It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take
"The other thing was casualties. Everyone was
impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But
for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families - it wasn't a cheap war.
"And the question for the president, in terms of
whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get
Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? "Our judgment
was, not very many, and I think we got it right."
Cheney helped President George H.W. Bush direct the Gulf
War, and Bush later came under criticism for not seizing Baghdad and overthrowing Saddam
Now my question is: "Did he have a Brain Lapse or
did profit (say Haliburton) have a great deal to do with his decision to recommend going
(HE RECEIVES ONE MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR IN DEFERED
Dick Cheney is known as a neo-conservative and has always
supported a Conservative Christian position especially when it comes to Church and State
issues. It is apparent from the data collected, that the first amendment and other
constitutional articles are in danger from his past and future actions.
Upon calling his office in June 2002and asking about
which religions he considers "real," we find that the religion of Judaism,
Hinduism, Islam, Shintoism, and everything except Christianity "..aren't
"Real" religions." What is a real religion, Mr. Cheney? What
you have been practicing? Read the following and remember: "By their Works may
they be known."
(Remember it is best to investigate on your own when
looking at allegations about anyone. Don't believe us, think for yourself and
investigate for yourself! And remember, the First Amendment Coalition does not
represent any political party nor do we recommend any political candidate, nor are we
involving ourselves in the political process. )
A recent Time Magazine profile of Vice
President Dick Cheney opened with the following anecdote: When Richard Bruce Cheney
was a student at Natrona County High School in Casper, Wyo., he was a solid football
player, senior-class president and an above-average student. But he wasn't the star.
That distinction belonged to Lynne Vincent, Cheney's girlfriend and future wife. A
straight-A scholar, Lynne was elected Mustang Queen, the equivalent of most popular girl.
She was also a state-champion baton twirler, a big deal in 1950s Wyoming. To begin
her routine, Lynne would set both ends of a baton on fire and throw it in the air while
her boyfriend stood inconspicuously off to the side holding a coffee can filled with
When Lynne was finished with her pyrotechnic act, she
would pass her flaming baton to Cheney, who, while the audience applauded and Lynne
curtsied, would quietly douse the fires by sticking each end of the baton in the coffee
Kind of like his current role, except the baton is the
world, and the coffee can might be filled with fuel oil. Cheney was born in Casper
in January 1941, so his brain crystallized into its current form just before the 1960s
introduced the idea of fun into American life. Cheney's picture appears next to the
definition of "dour" in the dictionary. He dropped out of Yale in favor of
attending the prestigious University of Wyoming, where he majored in political science,
and he went on to earn his doctorate from the prestigious University of Wisconsin.
In your face, Yale!
His life in politics began during the Nixon
administration . When he arrived in Washington, D.C., then-Sen. Donald Rumsfeld took
Cheney under his wing. Rumsfeld was buddies with Gerald Ford , and when Ford
ascended to greatness, he took Rumsfeld along as chief of staff. Rumsfeld took
Cheney along, as deputy chief of staff.
When Rumsfeld took a stroll down the road for his first
stint as Secretary of Defense in 1975, Cheney rose to glory, serving as Ford's chief of
staff for more than a year, before the accidental president was obliterated by Jimmy
Carter in the 1976 election.
After washing out of the White House, Cheney adopted the
same tactic as when he washed out of Yale he fled back to Wyoming. In 1978, he ran
for Congress and won handily. In Congress, Cheney rose through the party ranks,
endearing himself to Ronald Reagan with his hawkish views on foreign policy and his
fevered support for the "Star Wars" missile defense system.
Cheney also distinguished himself as an arch-conservative
during these years, opposing everything from abortion to gun control to Head Start and the
Department of Education. If it wasn't a laser-equipped satellite or a lunatic
Nicaraguan commando, Cheney wasn't going to waste federal funds on it.
Cheney voted to protect citizens' constitutional right to
own armor-piercing bullets. He voted against the Clean Water Act. In fact, he
voted against any bill that even included the words "corporate" and
He voted to protect the sacred constitutional right of a
corporation to keep quiet about which local communities they flooded with toxins that
cause cancer and birth defects. Unlike his constituents' wives, Cheney's
baton-twirling spouse Lynne wasn't just sitting around barefoot and pregnant all this
time. Under Reagan, Lynne Cheney served as head of the National Endowment for the
Humanities, protecting innocent citizens against the depravations of public broadcasting
and from potentially confusing "propaganda" content, such as a documentary
suggesting Africans might have a few legit gripes about centuries of colonialism, forced
slavery and industrial exploitation.
After leaving the NEH, Lynne Cheney threw a few flaming
batons through the windows, demanding that the Endowment (and the Endowment for the Arts)
be completely dismantled rather than allowing them to promote the sinister aims of the
Clinton Administration and defending Clarence Thomas' right to discuss long dongs with
When George Bush Sr. took office after the 1988 election,
Bush settled on Cheney as Secretary of Defense, after his first choice, John Tower,
self-destructed in a haze of alcoholic booty calls. Cheney helped lead the Gulf War
, personally twisting the arm of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia until the monarch allowed a
massive contingent of U.S. troops to set up shop in the kingdom. The resulting Arab
outrage was personified by Osama bin Laden , who used the presence of U.S. troops on Saudi
soil as the pretext for a declaration of jihad against the West.
Once the Gulf War was won, Cheney gutted the Defense
Department, firing about a quarter of the military, cutting billions in spending and even
scaling back his beloved "Star Wars" program.
When Bush Sr. was drubbed by Bill Clinton in 1992, Cheney
decided it was high time he became a titan of industry. With nothing but insider
Washington credentials on his resume, he became chairman and CEO of Halliburton Corp. in
1995. Cheney made millions leading the massive oil industry construction company,
while carefully "tweaking" its accounting practices. A 1998 accounting
change improved the company's revenues by $234 million over the course of four years.
Prior to the change, Halliburton had booked sales when a client agreed to pay for
cost overruns and contract disputes. After the change, the company took a guess at what
they'd collect and booked the sales as a done deal. Despite the fact that the
practice looks and sounds a bit sleazy, it's fairly commonplace in the industry. Of
course, before Enron , off-balance sheet financing was pretty commonplace too.
The practice was further complicated by the fact that
Halliburton was severely on the ropes at the time the change was made. In addition
to suddenly boosting the company's bottom line just when Halliburton was going to get
slaughtered on the stock market, Cheney and crew "neglected" to inform the SEC
about the change until more than a year later.
When Cheney quit Halliburton to take the vice
presidential nomination in 2000, the company offered him a $20 million going-away gift,
characterized as a "retirement package" for his many (five) years of service in
the private sector. In a concession to public outrage and concerns that Halliburton
was buying access to the White House, Cheney selflessly accepted only $13.6 million,
indisputably preserving the ethical integrity of the Executive Branch.
During the 2000 elections, Cheney's history of heart
troubles raised serious concerns among the electorate. Voters worried that if Cheney
died while in office, his running mate George W Bush might be left in charge of the
country. In a concession to these worries, Cheney had a super high-tech pacemaker
installed in 2001. Nevertheless, the heart issue would continue to haunt Cheney.
When al Qaeda attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade
Center on September 11, the official version had the vice president shuttled to an
emergency bunker in the basement of the White House. According to his own account, he was
grabbed by a couple Secret Service agents and carried to the basement, despite being fully
conscious and not at all having a heart attack.
While the President of the United States jumped in a
plane and began a daylong hiding spree, Cheney was running the country from the White
House basement, or so the story goes. In the aftermath of the attacks, however,
Cheney took a while to resurface. The party line was very reasonable, pointing out
that the vice president was being kept in a secret location so that he could take over the
country in the event of another terrorist attack. But it was awfully tempting to
speculate that he had in fact suffered yet another heart attack while watching the planes
hit the Trade Centers.
Regardless of what actually happened, Cheney gradually
resurfaced, starting with short, limited appearances and expanding back into a somewhat
normal role, as American life returned to somewhat normal.
Cheney was pissed, however. His old hawkish ways
rapidly reasserted themselves as the hunt for Osama bin Laden began. Almost
immediately after the attacks, Cheney and his old crony Donald Rumsfeld (now Secretary of
Defense) began beating the war drums for a new invasion of Iraq , despite a complete
absence of any evidence that Saddam Hussein had anything at all to do with September 11 or
al Qaeda in general.
Cheney got his way, eventually. After a staged
confrontation at the United Nations, where Secretary of State Colin Powell was roped into
making the improbable case for an invasion, the Bush administration discarded all hopes of
attracting allies (other than faithful lapdog Britain ), despite Cheney's last-minute
"can't we be friends" tour of Europe. The U.S. went ahead with the invasion in
Cheney's enthusiasm for the war wasn't solely driven by
philosophy. His old buddies at Halliburton were finally seeing a return on that
$13.6 million (and the $1 million a year in "deferred compensation" still being
paid to supplement Cheney's measly six-figure government salary). Halliburton's
first quarterly earnings report at the end of the short second Gulf War saw profits double
from the previous period (more than $20 million), a gain which news reports comically
characterized as coming "despite" the war.
Halliburton's construction and engineering subsidiary has
been paid nearly $1 billion through government contracts containing profit-guarantees, and
various other contracts initiated since the company's former CEO arrived in the White
House. Halliburton has built military bases in the former Soviet Union and Turkey, and it
made $33 million building jail cells for terrorists at Camp X-Ray . (In all fairness, even
these contracts don't make up for Cheney's major accomplishment as CEO, an acquisition
which is expected to cost Halliburton upwards of $4 billion in asbestos liabilities.)
Just before the Iraq war started, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded
Halliburton an "emergency" contract for oil fields reconstruction, which was
awarded without the usual government bidding process because of said "emergency"
(and despite the fact that the invasion wasn't on any particular timetable and the fact it
had been in the works for a year and a half).
The deal was authorized for up to $7 billion, but the
Army didn't trash the country with sufficient enthusiasm to make the whole amount, and the
actual size of the deal is now estimated at $600 million (assuming Halliburton survives
the lawsuits from competitors who inexplicably feel that something fishy is going on
A disappointment to be sure, but Cheney has at least two
more years to make it up to them. And then there's always Syria... And Iran... And North
Korea ... And... And...
As though this were normal! I mean
the repeated visits Vice President Dick Cheney made to the CIA before the war in Iraq. The
visits were, in fact, unprecedented. During my 27-year career at the Central Intelligence
Agency, no vice president ever came to us for a working visit.
During the '80s, it was my privilege to brief Vice
President George H.W. Bush and other very senior policy-makers every other morning. I went
either to the vice president's office or (on weekends) to his home. I am sure it never
occurred to him to come to CIA headquarters.
The morning briefings gave us an excellent window on what
was uppermost in the minds of those senior officials and helped us refine our tasks of
collection and analysis. Thus, there was never any need for policy-makers to visit us. And
the very thought of a vice president dropping by to help us with our analysis is
extraordinary. We preferred to do that work without the pressure that inevitably comes
from policy-makers at the table.
Cheney got into the operational side of intelligence as
well. Reports in late 2001 that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from Niger stirred such
intense interest that his office let it be known he wanted them checked out. So, with the
CIA as facilitator, a retired U.S. ambassador was dispatched to Niger in February 2002 to
investigate. He found nothing to substantiate the report and lots to call it into
question. There the matter rested--until last summer, after the Bush administration made
the decision for war in Iraq.
Cheney, in a speech on Aug. 26, 2002, claimed that Saddam
Hussein had "resumed his effort to acquire nuclear weapons."
At the time, CIA analysts were involved in a knock-down,
drag-out argument with the Pentagon on this very point. Most of the nuclear engineers at
the CIA, and virtually all scientists at U.S. government laboratories and the
International Atomic Energy Agency, found no reliable evidence that Iraq had restarted its
nuclear weapons program.
But the vice president had spoken. Sad to say, those in
charge of the draft National Intelligence Estimate took their cue and stated, falsely,
that "most analysts assess Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program."
Smoke was blown about aluminum tubes sought by Iraq that,
it turns out, were for conventional weapons programs. The rest amounted to things like
Hussein's frequent meetings with nuclear scientists and Iraq's foot-dragging in providing
information to U.N. inspectors.
Not much heed was paid to the fact that Hussein's
son-in-law, who supervised Iraq's nuclear program before he defected in 1995, had told
interrogators that Iraq's nuclear capability--save the blueprints--had been destroyed in
1991 at his order. (Documents given to the United States this week confirm that. The Iraqi
scientists who provided them added that, even though the blueprints would have given Iraq
a head start, no order was given to restart the program; and even had such an order been
given, Iraq would still have been years away from producing a nuclear weapon.)
In sum, the evidence presented in last September's
intelligence estimate fell far short of what was required to support Cheney's claim that
Iraq was on the road to a nuclear weapon. Something scarier had to be produced, and
quickly, if Congress was to be persuaded to authorize war. And so the decision was made to
dust off the uranium-from-Niger canard.
The White House calculated--correctly--that before anyone
would make an issue of the fact that this key piece of "intelligence" was based
on a forgery, Congress would vote yes. The war could then be waged and won. In recent
weeks, administration officials have begun spreading the word that Cheney was never told
the Iraq-Niger story was based on a forgery. I asked a senior official who recently served
at the National Security Council if he thought that was possible. He pointed out that
rigorous NSC procedures call for a very specific response to all vice presidential
questions and added that "the fact that Cheney's office had originally asked that the
Iraq-Niger report be checked out makes it inconceivable that his office would not have
been informed of the results."
Did the president himself know that the information used
to secure congressional approval for war was based on a forgery? We don't know. But which
would be worse--that he knew or that he didn't?
Ray McGovern, a CIA analyst from 1964 to 1990, regularly
reported to the vice president and senior policy-makers on the President's Daily Brief
from 1981 to 1985. He now is co-director of the Servant Leadership School, an inner-city
outreach ministry in Washington. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
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