Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Brian Ross Headshot

Dick Cheney: Through the Cracked Moral Compass, Darkly

Posted: Updated:
Print

Should it be surprising that Dick Cheney, the guy who is the chief architect of the morally and ethically bankrupt Bush Administration policies on everything from the Iraq War to torture to padding Halliburton's pockets to shipping jobs overseas to the gelding of the media now wants to use his Fox News mouthpiece to try and spin a positive light on his misdeeds in office? It is as if he is daring the Obama Administration to put him on trial. The question is, why?

Cheney went on the Propaganda Channel earlier this week with right-wing talking head Sean Hannity to state "They put out the legal memos, the memos they got from the Office of Legal Counsel [at the White House], but they didn't put out the memos that showed the success of the effort."

This sudden desire for openness should be raising far more red flags in the media than it has thus far.

It is easy to dismiss this as the ramblings of a bitter old man trying vainly to reshape the world in the dark image that he cast upon it for eight long years. It is easy for MSNBC and Jon Stewart to latch on to the "means don't justify the ends" argument that surely follows such a ludicrous claim.

Maybe you need to cover football to know when a quarterback is calling an end-run.

Dick Cheney is positioning the Obama Administration for a big fall that will undo Mr. Obama's pleasantries and non-partisan rhetoric. Cheney is throwing himself under the media bus to goad the new-and-improved Justice Department to start going after the people who made the policies that lead to torture and other potential war crimes, knowing full-well that once you start down that road, that it will lead to his doorstep.

On the way to putting a former Vice President of the United States into the unprecedented waters of a war crimes trial, you get a split in a Justice Department that, under former attorney General Gonzalez, aided and abetted such policies, and you stick a big fat rod into the gears of progress that Obama is trying to spin into motion after being dormant for a decade.

You also get a Republican Party, that, faced with their last presidential leaders being aided and abetted by Senators and Congressmen, would fall to ruin should either of these men be tried. They would do anything in their considerable power to make sure that the destruction of the party did not happen, even if they find themselves wholly against neocon thinking or policy. In effect, they would be manipulated into coming into the aid of the neoconservatives simply to save their own skins.

It would be a division so epic as to threaten the very fabric of our government. Yet this may be where we must head.

Dick Cheney may be many things, but stupid is not one of them. A showdown has been brewing since he appeared a couple of weeks ago on the Fox News Channel critiquing the president. There is an agenda at work, and this is just another act in that agenda playing itself out.

Sad to say that pretty much all of the mainstream media reporting this story fell down on the job when they neglected to mention that transparent Cheney was secretive Cheney just two weeks ago.

This is the same Dick, after all, who refused to release his records to the Bush Library about two weeks ago, on April 6, 2009.

This is the same Vice President who is being sued, since September 8, 2008 by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to make his records available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and to prevent him from destroying records.

Even if the records that Cheney called for the CIA to release showed, as they might, that the tortured subjects told us everything from the location of Bin Laden's house to why they ripped the heads off their sister's dolls as children, it still does not justify, nor put anyone involved who ordered such torture, in a better light.

Should we give Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein and all of the world's communist dictatorships, oligarchies, and juntas a pass for their misdeeds in the name of the greater good, as they saw it, as well?

The Nazis in particular were very quick to point out during the trials at Nuremburg, like Cheney did yesterday, that they were serving larger principles as well. They too, were misunderstood.

What is the problem with torturing a few "known" terrorists to get what we want? Maybe it does get results.

Fascism is fascism. From Rome to George W. Bush, when mankind starts jerrying the rules of republican or democratic governance to get to the ends of the leaders of that moment, you have the end of days for that society.

Bend one rule, bend ten. Why bother with Miranda rights and search and seizure? Just write an executive order allowing the state to pick up the people that they think might be guilty. Until you or I, who have nothing to do with it, get caught up in the NSA's wiretaps, or your kid disappears in the night because they attended a protest at their college.

The results obtained were not what we sought, either, in terms of preventing terrorism.

Torture of detainees actually served as a recruiting poster for Al Qaeda and alienated the United States from much of the world. Some people caught up were not terrorists, and that even further degraded our reputation for being a country of justice under law. Years of diplomacy that were built up from Nixon to Bill Clinton were swept away by neocon knee-jerk back-room manipulations.

Executive Orders and simple day-to-day discretionary governance were used, misused, and abused by Dick Cheney and his minions in the White House, with the hapless George W. Bush playing Louis XIII to Cheney's dark Cardinal Richelieu.

As much as Bill Kristol would like to spin our "success" in Iraq, we should never forget that we invaded a country where we had no business being to get the foothold that the Neocons had long sought in the oil core of the Middle East. The Bush Administration worked assiduously to establish a power for the Executive that could be recalled on precedent.

To that end, they were successful. Should the neocons be fortunate enough to either land another puppet like Sarah Palin in the Oval Office chair with one of their own in the number two seat, or get a neocon elected directly in response to a cataclysmic melt down in the government through terrorism or economic collapse, the tools are in place to continue to establish the kind of fascist contempt for Democracy that they so brazenly flaunted over the last eight years.

Do not believe for one minute that the power-obsessed neocons are not above collapsing the economy or inviting terrorism for the sake of creating an opportunity to retake the reins of government. Two wars and our current economic crisis should be enough evidence that they are not beyond such things.

The "why" of Cheney's actions would seem to be very dark, and very real. The Muslims are not the only ones to have martyrs. Cheney, it would seem, is willing to bring this country to its knees to achieve the larger aims of his neoconservative confederates.

Their sense of entitlement to a corporate America that dominates the world by divine right knows no bounds. They were not beyond aiding in the tanking of the economy for political gain. Look at the Labor Department holding seminars for companies exporting jobs; The "no-bid" contracts for Halliburton following the Iraq invasion, or the slow destruction of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to allow companies like Citi and Chase to take the mortgage bundling business to obscene and unfettered new heights.

This is President Obama's greatest challenge. He must not only end the excesses of the Bush era, and right a foundering economy and untenable wars left in its wake... Neocons think long-term. Even Obama will only last potentially eight years.

As much as I agreed with the President trying to steer away from the rocks of neocon punishment, part of the "moving into the future" and looking forward for the just and moral society that Mr. Obama would like us to be must entail showing the world that our standards of justice mean that anyone, including Mr. Cheney, and perhaps even President Bush, must be accountable for ordering their underlings to break the law when they could not get it changed.

9/11 was not designed to raise a few buildings in a futile homage to God by some primitive crazies who got lucky. It was a caculated and brilliant attempt to force the extremely right wing forces in control of our government not only to reveal themselves, but to reshape the United States into the kind of nemesis that a jihad-bent sect can take on head-to-head.

As we saw yesterday from the video by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the purported number two man of Al Qaeda, attempting to mock President Obama, and draw a line between him and President Bush, being reasonable and listening, not agreeing, but listening, to those who oppose you makes the terrorism biz that much harder to be in.

In the yin and yang of the world, the al-Zawahiris cannot exist without the Cheneys. The Obama administration needs to deal with both. The Justice Department should prosecute wherever the evidence leads, right up to George W. Bush's doorstep in Dallas, if need be. I wasn't there two weeks ago, but I am now. There is no choice.

We may not be able to find Bin Laden in Pakistan, but the neocons who used that tragic moment to corrupt and torque our government, and cause its agencies and agents to break our own laws, are easily found in the chair of one of their cheerleaders at Fox News.