The Cheney Story
Dick Cheney is so evil, the Post has started a blog about him. In a lengthy four-part series, the Post will lay bare the Dick Cheney story, and basically summarize and clarify everything we already know about him with but new, entertainingly terrifying anecdotes and interviews.
Like yesterday's story of Dan Quayle visiting the new Veep in 2001:
"I said, 'Dick, you know, you're going to be doing a lot of this international traveling, you're going to be doing all this political fundraising . . . you'll be going to the funerals,' " Quayle said in an interview earlier this year. "I mean, this is what vice presidents do. I said, 'We've all done it.' "
Cheney "got that little smile," Quayle said, and replied, "I have a different understanding with the president."
Cheney was not content to sit around and wait for Bush to die -- after all, Bush jogs, it could be years yet, and there's only a limited supply of orphan blood to keep Dick on his swollen, clotted feet. Instead, Dick invented a new job for the Vice President. He would not be content to bang gavels in the Senate and appear on Celebrity Jeopardy, as his predecessors had.
Cheney preferred, and Bush approved, a mandate that gave him access to "every table and every meeting," making his voice heard in "whatever area the vice president feels he wants to be active in," Bolten said.
He keeps all his papers in ridiculous cartoon safes, and stamps every document that he sees with "Top Secret" -- like even the lunch menu and those little certificates they hand out when the Little League World Series champions meet the president. He asserts that he is, himself, his own branch of government. Here, for a laugh, is how he responded to the collapse of the second tower on 9/11:
Cheney made no sound. "I remember turning my head and looking at the vice president, and his expression never changed," said the witness, reading from a notebook of observations written that day. Cheney closed his eyes against the image for one long, slow blink.
While everyone else cried or shit their pants, Cheney decided to hire some lawyers, reinterpret constitutional law, and figure out how to get away with throwing away most of a century's worth of war crimes precedent and policy.
As a couple other occasional stories have shown us, David Addington is the second-most evil man in the administration. Alberto Gonzales, as usual, comes off as a fucking moron willing to allow his name to be attached to any crazy document drafted by the OVP.
Dick Cheney also didn't care about black people. A particuarly fun subplot of the first Bush term is the way NSA adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell never had any clue what the hell Cheney was doing, as he took complete control over policies supposedly under the purviews of their agencies. All documents prepared for Rice were secretly funneled to Cheney, and she and Powell seemed to learn what their administration was up to primarily by watching CNN.
Today's installment is all about torture. If you happen to be interrogating someone who may not have anything to do with al-Qaeda, or the Taliban, or the Iraqi insurgency, or maybe just looks funny, it's very important reading. FYI, you can do almost anything you want to him.
That same day, Aug. 1, 2002, Yoo signed off on a second secret opinion, the contents of which have never been made public. According to a source with direct knowledge, that opinion approved as lawful a long list of specific interrogation techniques proposed by the CIA -- including waterboarding, a form of near-drowning that the U.S. government classified as a war crime in 1947. The opinion drew the line against one request: threatening to bury a prisoner alive.
We can't believe those left-wing loonies in Cheney's office would dare to restrict our boys from using every tool at their disposal during a time of war. If the CIA wants to cover suspected terrorists in honey and bury them up to their necks then goddammit they must have a pretty good reason to! Jack Bauer blah blah!
(Rice and Powell learned about that memo two years later, after reading about it in the Post -- they are totally the comic relief of this whole story.)
Thankfully, even as Cheney's power ebbs, ever so slightly, in these final years of the Bush presidency, as he finds himself often reduced to merely standing in bushes hundreds of court-mandated feet from journalists assembled at press conferences, even as reasonable-by-comparison officials join the administration, even as Bush himself has seemed to soften his "I can torture anyone I want for any reason" stance, we can all rest easy knowing that the damage he's down to our nation, and the entire world, will not soon heal in this lifetime.
A year after Bush announced at a news conference that "I'd like to close Guantanamo," plans to expand it are proceeding. Senior officials said Cheney, standing nearly alone, has turned back strong efforts -- by Rice, England, new Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and former Bush speechwriter Mike Gerson, among others -- to give the president what he said he wants.
Also he totally shot an old man in the face last year just for fun.