Former Vice President Dick “There is No Doubt that Saddam Hussein Now Has Weapons of Mass Destruction” Cheney has just released a book entitled In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir. The reviews thus far have not been kind. Many, including Colin Powell’s former chief of staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, feel as though it’s nothing more than a blatant attempt to obfuscate the truth, in hopes of making a future war crimes trial less likely. Following, by way of background, is a clip from a new piece on Cheney by author William Rivers Pitt, followed by an excerpt from an MSNBC article on Col. Wilkinson’s view of the memoir.
First, we have this from William Rivers Pitt.
…Alas, the generations to come will be forced to reckon with one of the great and lasting failures of the Obama administration: the simple, unbelievable fact of Dick Cheney’s continued freedom. He and his ilk committed enough brazen crimes to keep a brace of federal prosecutors busy for the next twenty-five years, and yet Mr. Cheney remains unmolested by the system of law he so vigorously disdained. According to Wikileaks, not only has the Obama administration failed to seek a reckoning with Cheney, they worked vigorously behind the scenes to ensure that no such reckoning will ever come to pass.
And so we have Dick, and his book, and yet another hard lesson on the absence of justice. He’ll make a few bucks off the thing, which he can bank next to the obscene millions he gained through his nefarious Halliburton war profiteering. He was still getting paid by Halliburton while in office. Remember that? They called it a “deferred retirement benefit,” an annual check with six zeroes to the left of the decimal, and all the while Cheney was steering your tax dollars into Halliburton’s coffers with a blizzard of bald-faced lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
There is so much to remember about Dick Cheney’s time in office. There was the Office of Special Plans, which he created to formulate the most effective lies possible about Iraq, WMD, and connections to September 11. There was the torture in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, which he referred to as “the dark side” and which he championed with great vigor. There was his dismissal of lawfully-issued congressional subpoenas, and his dedication to the idea of a “Unitary Executive” which is beholden to nothing and no one. There was his broad plan to spy on millions of Americans without a warrant, which he wanted to continue even after the whole thing was declared to be illegal. There was (and remains) the program of indefinite detention without due process of law, which was his baby, and there was the coddling of known criminal and double-agent Ahmed Chalabi, who was his pal.
There was all this, and so much more besides, but one incident stands out in my mind above all else. It was only an accent in the symphony of wrongdoing Cheney directed from his office, and was barely noticed at the time, but I will never forget it.
It was a simple thing, really: the National Archives, by dint of two different federal laws, annually collects the official papers of the Executive Branch for the edification of future historians, researchers and government officials. It is a by-rote requirement, one small cog in the wheelworks of government, but not this time.
Dick Cheney said no. No, you cannot have any papers from the office of the Vice President, and for one reason: the office of the Vice President, because I say so, is not part of the Executive Branch…
But who needs his official papers when we have a memoir explaining what really happened, right?
And now here’s that clip from the MSNBC piece on the perspective of Col. Lawrence Wilkerson.
…Dick Cheney was “president for all practical purposes” during George W. Bush’s first term in office and “fears being tried as a war criminal,” according to Colin Powell’s chief of staff during his time as secretary of state.
Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who has known Cheney for decades, told ABC News that Cheney was a “very vindictive person”…
“I think he’s just trying to, one, assert himself so he’s not in some subsequent time period tried for war crimes and, second, so that he somehow vindicates himself because he feels like he needs vindication. That in itself tells you something about him,” he added…
Wilkerson claimed that Powell was misled by Cheney and the CIA’s director of central intelligence, George Tenet, before giving his key address on Iraq to the United Nations, during the run-up to the war.
“[Cheney] had been out there [to the CIA] a dozen times to put his personal imprint on George Tenet, John McLaughlin and others so that they would know positively what he wanted, and what he wanted was war with Iraq,” Wilkerson said….
“He wanted desperately to be president of the United States… he knew the Texas governor was not steeped in anything but baseball, so he knew he was going to be president and I think he got his dream. He was president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration”…
I’d like to agree with Wilkerson as to Cheney’s motive for releasing the memoir, but I think that Cheney knows full well that he’s not in any danger of prosecution. I think that this, more likely, is just him thumbing his nose at those of us who feel that he should be put away. But, maybe, in spite of the bad heart, he intends to live beyond the Obama administration and into that of Elizabeth Warren (by feasting on the healthy hearts of innocent children, no doubt). If that’s the case, maybe he is doing this in order to further obfuscate the facts, and make a war crimes trial less likely. Personally, I think that, when Obama was first elected, Cheney thought that his number was up. I think that’s why he showed up to the inauguration in a wheel chair, looking old and frail. I think he really believed that he was going to be called before a Congressional commission, and he wanted to start perpetrating the ruse that he was, in fact, a tired and sick old man, like former Egyptian president Hosni Mobarak, and so many unseated dictators before him have done… And now, he’s just having fun, scurrying around in the sunshine, knowing that we won’t do a goddamned thing to stop him.